Thursday 3 January 2019

How We Hire Product Developers at Appear Here

I recently wrote this post on Appear Here's Product Engineering blog so potential developer candidates, that I wanted to hire, would better understand our hiring process. I've reposted it here.

The three steps for hiring developers which takes approximately one week start to finish

At Appear Here, our mission is to create a world where anyone with an idea can find space to make it happen. Our Product team is using the latest technologies, along with applying machine learning in an innovative way, to solve challenging problems that affect retail today.

When hiring developers for our Product team at Appear Here, we aim to find the right balance between (1) giving you the necessary information about us and what we do so that you can make an informed decision about your next career move, (2) evaluating your technical skills and cultural fit and (3) appreciating that you’re most likely interviewing at a handful of companies which can take up a substantial amount of time during and outside of your current day job.

We like to move quickly so we’ve created this three step process that typically takes one week start to finish (i.e. from your CV submission to sending you an offer).

Step One: Initial 30 Minute Phone Call

The purpose of this call is to accomplish the following:

  1. Give you a high-level overview of what we do as a company (i.e. why we exist, our mission and the burning problem are we solving in the world)
  2. Describe how we currently achieve our mission as a company and specifically a Product team of developers, designers, data scientists and product managers (i.e. our structure and size, our current development processes and technologies, and our plans for the upcoming year)
  3. Gauge your interest in what we’re achieving as a company along with assessing your communication skills
  4. Answer any questions you might have

To prepare for the call I’d recommend reading this Guardian article which referred to us as the ”Airbnb for Retail”, watching this 5 minute Sky News broadcast with Appear Here’s CEO talking about Saving Retail and, if you’re curious about the underlying business models in this space, read this article titled “The Future of Offline Retail” by Addie Lerner of General Catalyst. Please also prepare a few insightful questions that would help you determine whether Appear Here is right for the next step in your career.

The phone call is typically with myself, Andrew Thompson (I’m currently CTO of Appear Here) and I try to schedule it at a time that’s convenient for you during the work day.

Step Two: One Hour Live Coding Challenge via Video Conference

Next, we schedule a one hour video conference where you will be given a coding challenge by one of our developers depending on the specific skills you have across the stack (e.g. Javascript, React, Ruby on Rails, AWS, etc).

The purpose of this coding challenge is not to assess your entire development experience and skill set in one hour but instead to get a basic understanding of your coding proficiency in an area of the development stack that you are most comfortable coding in. We’re specifically looking for you to demonstrate the following to us:

  • Complete the task in a reasonable amount of time
  • Keep your solution simple and avoid unnecessary over-engineering
  • Understand new code relatively quickly
  • Read and follow instructions
  • Use sensible Javascript/React/Ruby functions or methods

Our coding challenges are publicly available on Github:

Step Three: Half-Day Interview

After passing the coding challenge, we will schedule you for a half day of interviews where you will meet several members of the existing Product team (developers, designers, data scientists and product managers) along with a couple of members of our culture board who are from other departments at the company.

You will be asked a variety of questions in each interview about your skills, experience and motivation for wanting to work at Appear Here. We’ll also spend time getting to know you a little bit throughout this process (e.g. what do you do on the weekend for fun, what excites you outside of work, etc).

Although some developers care more about the underlying technologies, we’re specifically looking for developers who care first and foremost about solving the challenges our customers face. As a company we have a strong bias toward a “product first, technology second” approach. We first try to understand what product features our customers would benefit from and why, before thinking about what technologies we might use to implement them. It’s also important for us to find out whether you truly care about the mission we have as a company to make ideas happen.

Once all feedback from the interviews has been received, we will review it and make a quick decision to send you an offer.

Company Values

Our engineers take ownership to tackle challenging problems, and we are looking for developers to join us that are bright, humble and passionate about transforming retail and commercial real estate. Appear Here has a strong sense of purpose and has, from the very beginning of the company’s existence, had a set of values that all employees strive to embody, as outlined below:

Open Roles

We currently have many roles open in our Product team including:

You can find more about other open roles and our company culture on the Careers section of our website. Submit your CV and I’ll be in touch shortly to set up a chat.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

Appear Here's Case Study with Hired

I recently worked with Hired, the marketplace for tech talent, on a case study. I've been using their platform to grow the product engineering team at Appear Here and in the last year have hired numerous engineers through it. Here is the case study as a two page PDF: