Hiring at Scale: Interviewing
Hiring at Scale: Interviewing
The engineering team at Salesforce.org is growing rapidly this year and I’ve never been more excited to be a part of an expanding team. Earlier this year I was hired as the Director, Product Delivery Engineering. During the first few weeks in my new role, I received confirmation of the hiring plan for the current year. Then, a few weeks later, the final projected hiring numbers came through - they were double what I expected.
Getting a huge amount of open headcount dropped on your desk is both an exciting and intimidating feeling. On one hand, it shows that the business wants to invest in your team. On the other hand, the business is expecting you to hire and deliver on said numbers. For a hiring manager that can be stressful. It can also add uncertainty to your current team. How will the roles of your team members change with growth? How do you ensure that you hire the right “cultural fits,” and at the same time, meet your extremely aggressive hiring goals?
My first goal was to review and develop structure around our interviewing process. In the past our interviews were done fairly organically with a small team. However, given the surge of interviewing we’ve needed to do this year, it was clear that we needed to invest in a more structured interview process that would scale as the team grows. A failure to do this would cause confusion, churn, and frustration in our interviewing process from our engineers, recruiters, management, and (most importantly) our candidates.
The fact that the SFDO Development team is fully distributed has made our interviewing process even more challenging. While a handful of our staff work out of Salesforce.com offices, the majority of our team works remotely from home. We do not have the benefit of “bringing a candidate in” for an onsite interview. How then do we give candidates a taste of our culture? How do we make sure we find the right candidates? Ones that can we can trust to work in a distributed fashion?
At a high level, our current hiring process is as follows:
- Screening call with our amazing Salesforce.org recruitment team. This is to determine fit for Salesforce.org, discuss differences between Salesforce.org & Salesforce.com, and answer any preliminary questions the candidate may have.
- Screening call with hiring manager (me!). We go over fit for the team, alignment with our values and the candidate’s career goals, and high level technical fit for the team
- Remote Programming Test (RPT) - Candidate spends approx. 4 hours working on a hands-on development problem in their own time, usually over a weekend
- Panel interview with members of the Product Delivery team (remotely via Google Meet). This is the candidate’s chance to meet more of the team.
- Final call with our VP who oversees hiring across the department.
There’s nothing out of the ordinary here, but the more delineated structure has allowed us to have some predictability in our interviewing process. That level of predictability has benefited our recruiting team, hiring staff, and helps candidates have a more consistent interviewing experience.
Is your engineering team growing? Here are a few tips that I can share based on our experience so far:
- Invest In Your Panel: Your interview panel not only helps filter out candidates in your pipeline, but hey - they are also your staff! Look at interviewing as a potential growth / stretch opportunity for them. Ensure they have the right training and context to perform good interviews (Salesforce has an internal Trail for this).
- Guide Your Panel: Make sure it’s clear what your panel members are interviewing for as part of the interview process. Is this a technical call, culture / team fit interview? Include at least one member of the panel who doesn’t report directly into your team for a different perspective on the candidate.
- Discuss Candidates in Person: Don’t ask for a written email from each member of your panel. Set up a 30 min call after the entire panel has spoken with the candidate. Have a healthy conversation (or debate) on the candidate’s fit. Ensure that the conversation revolves around team values and the candidate’s ability to fit (or augment) those values.
- Iterate: Your interview and hiring process will need to grow and scale as your team grows. Don’t tie yourself down to one specific process. Start small, iterate, and build on top of a process that works for you and your team.
Overall our interviewing process has been going well and we’re on pace to meet our targets this year. We’ve been able to meet our hiring targets so far, and also ensure that rapid hiring doesn’t fully disrupt our team’s velocity. We will continue to iterate on our process as we grow.
Are you interested in a career at Salesforce.org Tech & Products? My next post will provide some high level tips for landing your #dreamjob on our team. Stay tuned!