SingleStore's frontend-focused development team works on all sorts of interesting challenges to simplify the User Experience of our product. In this blog post, we talk about how we hire engineers for this team.
SingleStore’s Hiring Process for Frontend-Focused Engineers
We're actively hiring frontend-focused software engineers, and I thought it'd be a good idea to write about our interview process. Not only will this be helpful for potential candidates, but I also think it'll be useful for me to get some feedback on the process from folks externally.
Disclaimer: some parts of this process are standardized at SingleStore, whereas other parts are specific to my team. In this article, I talk about both so you'll see me use both the "I" prefix and the "we" prefix. Finally, all of this is subject to change any moment since we iterate frequently on our hiring processes.
I'll start with a bit of context about our technology stack, what we work on and how we work together.
In terms of team process, we're very distributed and work from many different time zones. This means that we prefer to hire people with strong written communication skills. This is something that our interview process does not test for at the moment, but we'd like to introduce some day.
Just as importantly, I also don't personally care about location as long as employees reside in one of the countries where we can hire employees (Portugal, US, UK). However, we may sometimes try to balance the seniority of team members across time zones.
Next, I'll give an overview of the entire interview process following an application to one of our open positions through our careers page.
The first step of the interview process is the application review by the hiring manager. I manually review every single resume that is submitted to our recruiting platform. Moreover, I make sure that anyone who is not a fit or does not meet requirements gets a rejection email from me. This is really important since I consider "ghosting" to be a very poor practice from most tech companies. Moreover, as the hiring manager, I think it's really important to be looking at all the applications for the team.
In this stage, I'm looking for:
We conduct 2 interviews with all candidates that pass through the application review. Each interview is a one-hour technical exercise. We use Google Meet to conduct all of our interviews.
On both calls, we pair candidates with one or two engineers, and we don't just evaluate their technical skills but also their communication skills. Certain things we look for are the ability to ask good questions and discuss trade offs. We try to schedule both interviews at once to minimize back and forths.
If these two phone interviews are successful, we'll advance them to the final round.
The final round of interviews is made up of four interviews. We try to schedule them in a single day or across two days depending on the candidate's preference.
Roundtable and Culture Alignment
After all of the steps above, everyone who was involved in the interview process will meet for 30 minutes for a roundtable discussion. This discussion is obviously very sensitive and it is where we decide whether to move forward with the candidate or not.
In our internal applicant tracking system, interviewers will give candidates a "Pass" or a "Rejection". However, the discussion at the roundtable is much more nuanced than that (i.e., a candidate doesn't have to get a "Pass" from all the interviewers). Everyone is expected to talk openly and respectfully about the candidate's performance, and questions about the candidate's performance in a specific interview are welcome from anyone who wasn't a part of that interview.
One of the most important topics discussed in this meeting is cultural alignment. Everyone involved in the interview process is responsible for looking for any information that tells us whether the candidate would be someone we can work with on a daily basis or not. This is something that we think about throughout all the interviews and the hiring manager interview touches a bit more on this.
We want candidates to have the best experience possible and that means that our process needs to be somewhat fast. This can be difficult to achieve as we need to avoid hiring people who are not a good fit for us. So, this means that our interviews need to give us a lot of information about the candidates. We're constantly iterating on our interviews, and we occasionally meet internally to review how valuable they are and make small adjustments to them when necessary.
We also have some larger plans to rethink our interview loop and hope to implement those before the end of 2021. Our goal with these plans is to unify our interviews under a common theme and modernize some of them in the process.
We're also always looking for feedback on our interview process and if you have any, we'd like to hear it. In fact, we ask all of our candidates for feedback and use this feedback to improve our process.
Finally, if you're interested in applying to this or any other position, please check out our Jobs page.