Software engineer interview process

Here’s a brief run-through of what to expect from our hiring process. If you’d like more information or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out using our chat widget.

Step 1 – Telescreen

The first step in your path is a brief remote interview via Google Meet. We’ll have a quick chat about what you’re up to at the moment, but the main focus will be us doing a bit of coding together in an online coding room.

We’ll look at the type of problem you might come across on sites like Leetcode and Codewars. This may be code reading or code writing, and the problems will be at the simpler end of the spectrum. There are no trick questions here, so if something looks really straightforward it’s probably because it is. We’re not looking to plumb the depths of your knowledge at this point, we just want to see you quickly and confidently tackling basic problems with ease, whilst communicating your approach.

We’re more interested in your general approach and the thought process you go through, so forgetting the name of a library function or a pesky semicolon isn’t a big deal. If you’re writing code, you’ll be able to pick a language you’re familiar with. We also chat through the code you’ve written and ask a couple of questions about it.

Step 2 – Technical interview

This can be either on-site or remote, whichever you’d prefer. It’ll usually last between an hour and two hours depending on what we talk about, and involves a larger-scale coding problem. If it’s on-site, we’ll do our best to set you up with an environment you’re comfortable with.

The main things we’re assessing in this interview are how you digest and break down a more complex task, how you prioritise, the approach you take to implementing your solution, and how you think about code design. We generally care about code correctness, readability, and then performance (in that order).

The idea is that this interview reflects real working and real pair programming as much as possible. You can work how you normally work. Do you have a permanent Google tab open when coding? So do we! Your interviewers will be a couple of software engineers, and we encourage you to bounce ideas off them and talk things through – we absolutely don’t want you to sit and code silently for two hours. The intention is to get as close as we can to real life – considering it’s an interview.

For a bit of further guidance, this is some information on our engineering values, which is essentially how we think about engineering and gives you an idea of how we would hope to see people approach programming.

Step 3 – Values-based interview

This step is very much non-technical. We get to find out how you like to work, what you’re looking for, and what sort of team you work best in. We want to see if Gearset would fit well with what you’re after. The way we run this interview can broadly be called a “Competency-Based Interview” or “Behavioural Interview”, and whilst there’s nothing specific to prep, it’s usually a good idea to think about some examples that you feel really show what you’re about as a person. Brushing up on the STAR technique (a quick Google will tell you more) can also help you answer this type of question most effectively.

You also get to quiz us! Does Gearset sound like somewhere you’d like to work? Are you going to thrive there? Are the snacks and coffee up to your standards? This is your chance to find out. For a bit of a heads-up on how we work and how we treat each other, check out our company values here.

Like the technical interview, this could last up to two hours and can be done remotely or in-person.

And that’s it, you’re done!

One last thing…

You’ll have time to ask questions at every stage of the process, so no need to save up questions right to the end.