How we hire engineers

By Mark Wilson, 31 Oct 2017, in people, engineering

What I do

I joined the engineering team at Paddle 4 months ago and work predominantly on our checkout.

The checkout is the most visible part of our platform and requires us to balance between 3 main goals that can pull us in different directions:

  • Keeping it simple for buyers
  • Making it customisable for sellers
  • Processing it both securely and quickly, without performance degradation

The interview process

The whole process was fairly quick: it took 10 days between my initial application and the job offer.

  • An initial phone call with another engineer
  • A face to face interview with the CTO
  • A culture chat with other employees (both engineers and non-engineers)

First stage: phone screening

My first stage interview was a short 15min phone call with Andrew, another engineer.

He gave me an overview of what Paddle does, and asked some basic engineering questions: explaining what inheritance meant, describing some data structures… I probably should have done a bit more research into Paddle to ask better questions.

Second stage: face to face interview

I then came into Paddle’s office for about 2 hours, starting with an interview with Andy, the CTO.

I had done a lot more preparation than for the initial phone screen: I knew a lot more about what Paddle did, and had done plenty of online research on the company.

Some of the questions were very tough. I had spent time revising a lot of development theory, but not many engineering practical scenarios. Andy kept asking practical questions that seemed basic at first - but once we drilled into the details I had to think quickly to come up with solutions!

Second stage: culture chat

After my interview with Andy, I had the chance to meet with Rob (another engineer) and Paul (from the Customer Success team). They came in so I could ask them some questions about the culture and learn a bit more about what other employees think of Paddle.

I really liked that part: I’ve often only met other engineers in interviews so having Paul in there for some balance was a good way to get a clearer picture of the company, from all angles.

My overall opinion

I thought the overall process was good; it built from a basic level to more difficult and detailed scenarios, most of which I’ve never experienced in other companies.

There’s always room for improvement: I think it could’ve been a bit more defined up-front, as I wasn’t sure what was going to happen at each stage.

The office and staff had me sold on Paddle; the process was interesting and it is different to other companies, but I think the enthusiasm showed throughout.

My advice

Interested in joining us? Research what Paddle does and learn as much as you can about us before: this really helped me during the interviews, as I knew which experiences to highlight.

I also recommend you do some practical system design planning, as it is something that will come up and it is important to be able to give it a go.

It’s not about designing a perfect solution, it’s about being able to think about a solution and react to changes or consider complexities.

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