Interviewing Eligio Merino

/, Interviews/Interviewing Eligio Merino

We have for you all a pleasant surprise: our interview with the talented Eligio Merino, from Mexico City, who gave us a bit of his time so that we could talk about how he has been since he embarked on a new project as a remote Linux Systems Administrator for a company based in the United States. Eligio differentiated himself strongly in the candidate selection process due to his attitude, experience and energy.

Eligio tells us that one of the challenging things about being passionate about tech during the times when IT was just beginning to flourish as an industry:
“When I was in high school, back in ’84”, he recalls, “the first few Commodore computers had to be plugged into TVs and [the subject] always grabbed my attention but I wasn’t able to acquire one until I was in university”.
“I took two vocational exams in which I was told that I had aptitude in medicine and electronics but the results didn’t really show anything concrete because back then engineering as a degree did not exist”. This did not deter him; Eligio has been a videogame aficionado since the days of the Atari and as a young boy he enjoyed pulling radios apart and other devices he thought were innovative, to see how they worked.
In the early nineties, when he studied in UNAM (the National Autonomous University of Mexico), the internet was something out of his reach; a privilege only the academic elite could access. “I didn’t finish my degree there”, he explains, because he was not getting out of it what the degree had promised him. Without turning back, he decided that “it’s not the idea at all — I’m learning obsolete things, from the seventies — they are not up to date and I think it’s best I work instead”. With this he decided to take an unusual leap while many others were treating their degrees like their life insurance. He was aware of the risks he was taking by following his passion to learn with his hands all the new things, and his drive helped him land a tech support job soon after where he installed and sold hardware and software. Since then, Eligio’s has expanded his experience vastly and has also worked since 2007 with American companies including ACS, purchased by XEROX, and Ingram Micro.

Remote work, he explains, “requires discipline, organization and being able to discern what is important and what is urgent. It requires infrastructure.” Eligio tells us that he has built himself arsenal of tools on the web, software and hardware so that he can perform efficiently. At his remote Linux Systems Admin. job, he gets to feed his passion to figure out how and why things work the way they do, which has made him able to work both open source and proprietary software. “I’m building a platform [using open source technologies], which is a challenge, as open source has two faces.”
“On one hand, being free”, he says, “it will take effort and time in figuring out how to run, configure, troubleshoot”, but on the other hand, “it has to look good, be well documented and solidly built — and if anything goes wrong, you must have the understanding of the components and of how they work.”

It was great hearing that Eligio qualifies his experience with LCX as impressive. “You see so many things in the world and you arrive at a stage at which it is tough to see something that surprises you, that makes you say wow.” LatAm Connex, he says, has a well-organized recruiting process that meticulously enters all written information, and the interview process used stood out to him . “That reminded me a lot of Robert De Niro’s The Intern, because De Niro records himself, and [in LCX] my wow was firstly the kind of questions asked, and secondly the length limits imposed on each answer”. Eligio is a professional coach and he sees a lot in common here with that side of his. He makes an acute observation:
“As I train my clients so that they can obtain a good job, I found the 60-second duration limit for the answers fantastic; that is also part of what I do when I train them. If you can’t explain yourself in 60 seconds or less, that’s a potential flag in an interview, ¿right? If one can’t explain themselves and can’t sell, how will they sell what they can do to benefit a business during the interview?”

On the topic of advice, Eligio offers a mixture of instructive knowledge and motivation. The followup, he says, is the best time to stand out and be more memorable when it counts the most. If Eligio were to share a bit of his motivation and what he would tell himself as a boy, it would be to “learn to fail, or fail to learn”. This phrase, credited to Aristotle teaches us the importance of that first transcendental decision we take in the present moment. This is one of the keys to success . “I practice what I preach” . If it weren’t so, he says his clients would criticize him: “if you haven’t done it, how can you tell us to do it?” He compares this lesson a lot to the idea of the disruption and innovation. According to Eligio, success is often framed in an A -> B -> C mentality, while those who disrupt often try the opposite. “No, if you want to fail, do A, B, and C.” This is about choosing the comfort of habit, our distancing of our passions, fear of success and taking a leap for the things in which we believe.

Eligio notes that when it comes to recruiting, “it’s already five people in the office to whom I’ve recommended LatAm Connex. When I saw their job portal the first time, I noticed the wide variety of offers.” He had a caveat, “be careful though, working from home is not for everybody. It requires discipline, the ability to distinguish priorities, good infrastructure, and at least two computers”.

If you feel that you are a professional who is interested in taking the next step in your carreer, you can see our open positions here.

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