It’s so important for the success of our teams to hire the right people.That's why we spend a lot of time thinking about the best ways to interview engineering and software development candidates. How can we assess a candidate's skills, but also their potential? And at the same time, how can we create a great candidate experience? Those are some of the questions we think about when iterating on our recruitment and interview processes at HubSpot, because we know that as much energy as we're putting in, you, the candidate, are likely spending a lot of time thinking about your upcoming interview, too.
The first thing you should know is this: When you have an interview, either in person or via video, everyone on the other end wants you to succeed. As interviewers, we want to give you the tools you need to show us how great you are. That’s why we want to demystify the technical interview process at HubSpot a little bit. In this article, we’ll leave you with some tips for interviewing so that you’re set up for success with the recruiters and engineers you’d interview with.
Who is the Interviewer?
During technical interviews, you meet with members of teams you would potentially join. I’ve been working at HubSpot for three years and currently am a Tech Lead for the Business Enablements’ (BET) Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) team and a technical interviewer for prospective BET Software Engineers in our Dublin and Cambridge, MA offices.
Business Enablement at HubSpot currently includes eight engineering teams focused on providing the tools and support systems that empower our internal teams to serve HubSpot’s customers. We are the engine that keeps HubSpot running smoothly by supporting a broad range of internal processes including sales lead enrichment and assignment, quoting, customer checkout and billing, renewal management, and customer success management.
The CLM team backs our Support and Services teams. We help track and deliver the service packages to our customers and provide tools to identify customers needing guidance to utilize the HubSpot products. Our most recent project was creating a platform that facilitates the onboarding of customers who are new to the HubSpot product. We streamlined methods of communicating with the customer, and ways to manage internal handoffs and discussion between teams. We’re increasing information visibility across the Services organization while minimizing the time and effort required to ensure our customers get off on the right foot with the HubSpot platform.
A Breakdown of the Technical Interview
At HubSpot, the interview process is composed of three separate interviews: two technical interviews with members of the Cambridge and Dublin engineering teams, and one non-technical interview with the hiring manager. Each technical interviewer has been trained to assess a particular area or skillset. Before your interview, the team syncs up with your recruiter to make sure everyone is on the same page. After the interview, our interviewers come together as a team to discuss the final results. Our goal is to create a more interesting experience for you and a more cohesive picture for the interview team.
The Technical Interviews: Every technical interview is a little different. We decide which interviews are the best fit for you based on your conversation with the recruiting team.
- System Design: This conversation will focus on your ability to understand a problem and discuss possible solutions. This question is primarily discussion-based, so we’re not concerned with perfect code syntax. In fact, you may not be asked to write code at all.
- Relational Databases: Given sample application requirements, we'll ask you to suggest and implement a possible data model to support it.
- HTML/CSS: You'll be given a small sample of code which you'll modify in order to create the look and feel of a simple UI mock-up that we'll provide. Since you'll be writing a little code, it's great if you can bring your own laptop with your usual development environment. Don't worry if you can't bring it; we provide laptops!
Tips for the Technical Interviews:
- Make sure you understand the question before jumping into coding. Ask some clarifying questions, get sample inputs and outputs. Take small steps and get a working solution rather than trying to get the perfect solution right away. Done is better than perfect.
- Over-communicate what you're thinking as you're working on it. It'll help the interviewer to see your logic and understand your approach, and they'll be able to help you along.
- If the interviewer makes a suggestion, it's generally them trying to give you a hint. Watch out for clues!
- There will be some situational questions mixed into each session. Try to use real examples from your previous experience rather than giving general answers.
General Tips for the Interviews:
- Be prepared to talk about your project experience: Before your interview, think about your most recent projects and how you contributed to the success of the project. We want to hear about the cool things your team has been doing, but we are most interested in your role.
- Be prepared to ask questions: This interview will be the best opportunity for you to talk to your potential team members and ask them questions about the work they are doing. Joining a new team and company is a big decision, so use the interview as a time to answer all your questions and we’re happy to keep talking after the interview!
- Be comfortable: We know that interviews can be awkward, and we want you to be as comfortable as possible. Please don’t dress up or wear a suit for the interview – wear something you’d wear everyday!
- Be yourself: Culture fit is almost as important to us as technical ability during the interview process. HubSpot is dedicated to creating a culture we love, and that extends to every individual team in all our departments. It’s okay to be nervous, but approachability and humility are qualities we look for during the interviews. Be open to receiving help from the interviewers throughout the technical problems -- they could be the people you’ll be collaborating with everyday if you ace the interview.
Do you have more questions about the Business Enablement Team’s interview process? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you.