At Computronix, we often do things differently than other companies. Not for the sake of innovation or being unique or anything else, but simply because we believe that sometimes the traditional methods aren’t the best ones. One example of this is the Ambassador Group, which serves as a recruitment group – and so much more!
The ambassadors are all Computronix employees – mostly developers – who have volunteered to be part of spreading the word about Computronix to prospective employees through various career fairs and partnerships with schools. Chris Johnstone, the co-chair of the group, describes their goals as “making sure Computronix is part of events, and is known as a local business that cares about people and wants to provide value to schools.” It’s essential to the group that everything they do is a win-win – that it doesn’t only help Computronix, but also whichever school or organization they’re working with.
When they do that well, Chris says, “students find out about us in a very positive light. We don’t need to tell them what we’re about, they just see it.” Their mission has been extremely successful to date. One ambassador, Matthew Pimlott, explains how, at NAIT, Computronix used to be essentially unknown, and now “I’ve heard stories of people who tell friends they work here, and the response is ‘No way! You work for Computronix?!’”
Victoria Hessdorfer, a co-op student who joined the ambassador team during her time at Computronix, describes how she enjoys being part of the team because she is “able to provide something to students that I didn’t get as a student, and that I wished I would have gotten.”
That statement is exactly what makes Computronix’s approach to recruiting so different. Because the recruiters aren’t HR people or professional headhunters, they know exactly what potential employees are interested in and want to know. And because they’re directly involved in the day-to-day workings of Computronix, they can explain exactly what it’s like to work here, and just what it is that makes Computronix so special, because they experience it firsthand every day.
For our Computronix employee interviews, we sit down with people from all levels of our company and ask them about their jobs, and what it’s like working for Computronix.
The stereotypical computer programmer is quiet, probably introverted, and perhaps even kind of awkward. Chris Johnstone does not fit the stereotype. “I have kind of an outgoing skillset, it’s not the most common thing around programmers,” he admits early in our interview. He injects passion and expression into the stories he tells as we discuss his time working for Computronix, a place that he obviously loves.
After graduating from post-secondary education, Chris had his pick of jobs, being courted by several tech companies, including major international ones. It wasn’t easy for him to choose a local software company with less than 200 employees, but it’s not a decision he regrets. “I decided that I wanted to be happy at work,” he explains. “Actually, I was kinda scared the first little while, like ‘Is the trapdoor going to open?’ But after about 6 months, I stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
He has worked here for two years now, and in addition to his primary role as a developer, he’s done Quality Assurance testing, and trained new employees. He also leads the ambassador team, a team that represents Computronix at various university career fairs and professional association events in the Edmonton and Denver areas. “Roles here don’t have boxes,” Chris says, “express an interest in something, and suddenly you’re doing it!” His favorite part of the job isn’t any of those though, it’s the people and the environment. “I’ve never been so excited to go to work every day!”
However, his time as a Computronix employee hasn’t all been happy and fun. In fact, he went through one of the most significant personal challenges in his life during his first year, as his mother grew sick and passed away over a period of several weeks. But even through that, he expresses how much he was supported by his boss and by his project team, as they covered for him during his bereavement time, and even when he returned to work. “It’s challenging to come back to work after something like that. You have this expectation that you’re supposed to be normal, that you need to go back to being your old self. But here, no one expects that. Even when I called my boss to explain what was going on, the first words out of his mouth were, ‘What can I do for you? Don’t worry about work, what do you need me to do?’”
In his opinion, that’s one of the things that makes Computronix so unique: “The amount that you are actively supported.” Virtually all of the managers, even up to the executive team, have open door policies, and employees are encouraged to make their opinions known. Chris proudly shares a story of when he did just that, while he was still in an entry-level, bottom-of-the-totem-pole position. He was working on a major project, and they were fast approaching the deadline to send it to the client for acceptance. However, despite fears of not wanting to rock the boat and disrupt a major project, Chris told his supervisor that he felt the project wasn’t yet at the acceptable quality. They had a meeting to discuss it, the project delivery was delayed, and in the end it was sent out as a much better quality solution. “I feel like I saved the day,” Chris explains, smiling broadly.