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Recruiting at smapiot

Published on 2019-09-16.
In this post we outline how we do recruiting and what you need to do to be fully prepared for interviews at smapiot.

Recruiting at smapiot

For recruiting we've picked an approach that is both - industry "standard" (or "common") and smapiot specific. In this post we outline our process and how to prepare best for the interviews at smapiot.

Ultimately, we established this approach, since we believe in it. We think that it fits to our company culture the most and will give us the best results. A good hiring result is a minimum rate of rejection for high-potentials, while also having a minimum pass rate for people that do not fit.

Our process starts at StackOverflow, which is our tool and medium of choice. We came to the conclusion that StackOverflow is not only the place where most developers are, but also where many of those developers are actually actively looking for new jobs.

Once you've sent us your application, we will review it thoughtfully. Usually, we sent you a response within a week - quite often much earlier. If you do not get a positive response, it may be due to one of the following reasons:

  • You miss some of the requirements (either from a technical perspective or regarding general aspects, e.g., right now we only hire people with working experience in Europe)
  • You might be too junior for the positions we currently offer
  • You might be too senior for the positions we currently offer (yes, that may also happen)

First Interview

First Interview

Hopefully, you made it through our preselection - congratulations! The first interview is a 30 minutes Skype call where we just want to get to know each other. Usually, two members of smapiot will be in the call. All calls will be audio only (but feel free to turn on your camera, if you want to).

The agenda of the call is as follows:

  1. A quick overview of the interview process
  2. Brief introduction to smapiot and to the participants in the call
  3. Please guide us through your CV
  4. Standard interview questions, mostly non-technical
  5. A small coding challenge
  6. Final questions from your side
  7. Next steps

That's a lot to cover in 30 minutes - so sometimes we are a minute or two over time.

The Coding Challenge

Coding Challenge

For the second stage we'll ask you to bring in some time - not only the 30 minutes for the second call, but also a few hours beforehand to work on a small coding challenge that we'll give you.

Right now we offer two cases:

  • building a backend service
  • building a frontend web app

You'll only need to select one. Solving the case study will take you between 2 and 4 hours (or more - if you want to put in more time). To give you some flexibility we will send you the instructions at least a day beforehand, usually even a bit more.

You can always ask us questions, however, make sure that you've read the instructions carefully for the coding case that you picked. For instance, if we tell you to send specific headers you should make sure that you'll send these headers before you claim that the API is not working.

We do not constrain the possible programming languages or frameworks for the coding challenge. We do, however, think that you should pick the technology you're most familiar with.

Besides the actual code we would like to see some document that gives us instructions for compiling / starting your application. It could be as simple as npm start after running npm install, but if its written in a small README, its one thing less we need to figure out.

As far as the coding is concerned try to show us how you value code. Is your solution clean? Have you thought about the edge cases? How would you test this code?

Most importantly, deliver a runnable solution. If we cannot run it or not even the happy case is working, the solution is useless (independent of code quality). Make sure to fulfill all requirements.

Face-To-Face Meeting

F2F Meeting

So you made a great impression in the first interview and presented your amazing coding skills in the second round. Wonderful! It's time to meet in person.

Our offices are located in Munich Riem near the exhibition center, which is easy to reach via public transport (using the U2 metro to "Messestadt West") or the autobahn.

This stage will take a bit of time. Usually we allocate at least 2 hours. In most cases the actual time allocation for this meeting is between 3 and 4 hours. Don't worry the time will fly.

A rough agenda for this final round could be:

  1. Company presentation
  2. Case study
  3. Technical questions
  4. General questions
  5. Next steps

You will not need a laptop for this round. The case study does not involve any coding (but, of course, has something to do with software engineering).

Our goal for this round is to get a feeling for both of us how working together could look like. Do you like how we approach problems? Do you think our engaging way of (technical) discussions is energizing? Again, for us its not only important that we think you are a great candidate, but also that you see smapiot as the right next step in your career.

Depending on the time of the face-to-face meeting there could be a joint lunch or dinner afterwards. Due to conflicting schedules this may sometimes not be possible.

The Offer

Offer

If you pass all three stages, we will make you an offer. As with all offers you can take it or leave it. We will try to make you a fair offer, but there is also room for negotiation.

Once we are in agreement, we will send you a draft version of the contract via email for you to pre-evaluate. Our contracts are simple and fair, but if you think something is missing or should be changed, just let us know.

Finally, if everything looks fine we will send you a signed version of the final contract via postal mail. Welcome to smapiot!

Conclusion

The smapiot interview process has been designed to truly make sure there is a fit on both sides. We want to ensure that you feel great about the opportunity to work together with us on exciting projects. We hope that this guide helps you to prepare well for the interviews.

Birgit Kindermann
Birgit KindermannQA and Administration