The Engineering Interview Process

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Plastiq, like many other companies, has gone through many iterations in its Engineering interview process. This is our current iteration, that we feel very bullish on. We value transparency, which is why we are sharing our onsite interview process with the world. We want our future Engineering team members to have a strong understanding of what they can expect in the interview process, what we are assessing for and how best to prepare. We are making our interview process transparent as we want to eliminate any information imbalance across candidates and create a level playing field. We also strive for our interview process to evaluate candidates on the skills and qualifications that are actually relevant for the job.

 

 

We are excited you are coming to interview with us at Plastiq! We want your interview to be a great experience, and for you to feel you had the opportunity to present yourself as best as possible. To support this goal, we prepared this guide on what to expect during your interview and how to prepare.

Firstly – our philosophy is that our interview process should simulate the actual work you would do day-to-day at Plastiq. We won’t ask you to map out how many basketballs it would take end-to-end to circle the globe (that’s a real interview exercise from another company) or to map out a binary search solution to an algorithm problem on a whiteboard (turns out very few Engineers do that every day). Our interview process consists of 3 segments:

  • 1. Pair Programming Interview
  • 2. Group Interview
  • 3. Non-Technical Interview

 

1. Pair Programming Interview

In this interview you will pair with one of our engineers to consider a technical problem and write working software to solve it. The exact nature of the technical problem will vary based on the specific role you are interviewing for (i.e. the technical problem for a Software Engineer will be different than the technical problem for a DevOps Engineer). Consider your interviewer a collaborator on the problem. Share what you’re thinking with them and ask them for help when needed. We will work on your machine, your environment, so you can showcase how you work in your preferred environment.

How to prepare

  • – In general, you should be prepared to write and run code in your language of choice.
  • – Be prepared to have your environment ready to run a standalone program, print output, include common libraries, and use built-in data structures.
  • – It can be useful to set up common project boilerplate before the interview, if appropriate for your language.

How you are evaluated

  • – Problem solving: How effective are you at fully understanding the problem and designing an appropriate solution?
  • – Design: How do you lay out your code? Is it well organized with easy to understand interfaces that someone else can easily maintain later?
  • – Testing: Do you use unit-tests to validate the functionality you have built? Do you consider edge cases and failure scenario?
  • – Debugging: Do you spot the bugs in your code? (it’s OK, all code has bugs) When you find one, can you fix it?
  • – Communication: Do you clearly explain your thoughts? How well do you respond to feedback or suggestions from your interviewer? Do you seek help or guidance when stuck?

 

2. Group Interview

In this interview you will work in a team with 2-3 Plastiq engineers to whiteboard out solutions. The exact nature of this exercise will vary based on the role being hired for (e.g. the group exercise for an Engineering Manager will vary from an Infrastructure Engineer), however our evaluation is generally the same. There is no real environment preparation required as this is a whiteboard exercise.

How to prepare

  • – Connect with Plastiq’s recruiting team who will share details on the whiteboard session for the role.
  • – Practice designing out software solutions on paper

How you are evaluated

  • – Problem Solving: How effective are you at solutioning an architecture/design for a complex problem?
  • – Engineering Practices: How does your architecture/design consider practical matters of Engineering such as build process, deployment, automated testing?
  • – Non-functional requirements: How do you consider non-functional requirements like performance and scalability in your software designs?
  • – Communication: Do you clearly explain your thoughts? Do you answer questions from the other team members comprehensively? How well do you respond to feedback or suggestions from the interviewers? Do you seek help or guidance when stuck?

 

3. Non-Technical Interview

These interviews give us a chance to learn more about you, your goals, and your interests. It’s also a chance for you to learn about Plastiq and hear answers to your questions.

How to prepare

  • – Come with questions! Consider what’s important to you in a job, what you’d like to see in a work environment and colleagues, and what things you’d like to avoid. Feel free to ask about e.g. company goals, team organization, our values, etc.
  • – Feel free to check out Plastiq’s website and blog to see if anything is particularly interesting to you. You won’t be quizzed on anything here, but it could be a good basis for discussion

 

 

At Plastiq we hold a regular “Plastiq Engineering Open House” event, where we welcome Engineers from all backgrounds to come and visit our offices, meet some of the team and talk tech over some beer/wine/pizza. If you’d like to come along, just reach out to our recruiting team and they will add you to the invite list for our next open house.

Author

Head of Technology at Plastiq

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