Job Interviews

We are constantly evolving our hiring skills and practices.

What follow is a broad depiction of our hiring workflow, from first contact to job offer signing. [Resource onboarding] has its own dedicated chapter in this playbook.

How we collect CVs

Candidates apply via our company website or by mail, to jobs@sparkfabrik.com. Please send your CV in the format that more represents your skills and attitude. Beside your CV a bit of a presentation is very welcome as it can help us understand who you are and what you exepect from us.

First interview

We'll propose you a one-hour slot for a first interview. We'll both collect information about each other and will keep a record of our discussion for future reference.
We do our best to get an interview with each and all candidates. Taking the first interview is not binding. If both we and you will be interested in establishing a job relation, we'll proceed to next steps.

The first interview has the following goals:

  • Getting to know you, your attitude and your expectations in person.
  • Giving you a taste of how working for us would be.

Let's get this out of the way: we will value our personal impression more than any of the following parameters. Anyway, we'll ask you some question and score your replies. Here is how we calculate your scores.

Knowledge of the company

Max score: 6

  • You actually know what we do
  • You read our manifesto
  • You read this playbook
  • You know you offer something we are looking for
  • You know we offer something you are looking for
  • You get in touch with us in a non-fortuitous occasion (conferences, events, following on socials, etc)

Self awareness

Max score: 5

  • You can show you know your strenghts
  • You can show you know your weaknesses
  • You can elaborate on what you expect from your professional life (short, mid and long term)
  • You are aware about how you see yourself in our company
  • You can explain why you really want to work with us

Attitude and personal skills

Max score: 4

  • You can show passion for what you do, or what you want to do
  • You have drive and will, not only at work
  • You display or prove good social skills
  • You show curiosity and interest about your future in our company

Proficiencies

Max score: 3

  • You can clearly elaborate on the skills mentioned in your CV
  • You can show some of your work (either personal or professional)
  • You can fluently hold a part of the conversation in English

More notes may be taken our side and maybe we won't go deep into each and every point here, but basically that's what we want to understand about you.

During the interview we'll devote 10 to 20 minutes replying your questions about the company.
In addition, if you have any financial expectation, please be prepared to state it clearly during the first interview.

We commit to provide you with a honest feedback within two weeks from the interview. We may also ask your feedback about how the interview went so we can improve our practices. It would be great if you agree to be engaged in such a loop.

Technical interview

Given you roll a critical hit during your first interview, we will call you back to hold a technical interview.

What "technical" means actually depends on your profile. Maybe you applied as a developer, UX designer, cloud engineer, agile product owner or whatever else. No matter what, in your technical interview we will get a grasp on your real proficiency and operational attitude. We will also answer your questions about how we do things and why. It has to be a conversation so we can both bring some value home.

Your technical interview score will depend on various aspects, not just production skills.

Basic skills and experience

Max score: 7

  • You have good fundations of Computer Science (high-school diploma or college degree, or analogue training)
  • You have professional development experience with the programming languages we use the most
  • You have professional development experience with the programming frameworkds we use the most
  • You know how to test your code and you do it as a standard practice
  • You use git in a non-trivial environment (i.e. contribute to projects on github, working in a medium/large team with defined branching model)
  • You feel comfortable moving around a Unix shell and may use a Unix-like OS as your main operating system
  • You know what Docker is and you make use of containers during your daily job
  • You have basic experience with mainstream Cloud vendor services

Advanced skills and experience

Max score: 9

  • You have experience engineering and designing complex/multi-service software architectures
  • You have experience with serverless architectures
  • The mentioned experience relates to the same technologies we are currently using
  • You properly document your source code by automatic tools
  • Containerized environments are common practice for you
  • Continuous Integration is common practice for you
  • You have experience with Continuous (or automated) deploy and delivery
  • You know how to optimize your application performance
  • You know how to check and fix security issues in your code
  • You can articulate on your debugging approach, practices and tools
  • You have strong experience with mainstream Cloud vendors services
  • You have real-world experience with Kubernetes orchestrator
  • You are or have in the past been a sysop

Soft skills

Max score: 8

  • You can explain how you organize your work to ensure it to be on time, in budget
  • You owned a project from both techcnical and organizational sides
  • You have experience leading a team on medium/long term projects
  • You feel comfortable speaking to an audience
  • You are a good communicator
  • You can manage a troublesome customer
  • You can manage a troublesome colleague
  • You provided technical mentorship (or onboarding coaching) to your junior colleagues

Agile skills and expertise

Max score: 7

  • You have experience or training in Agile frameworks
  • You know what a backlog is
  • You played the Product/Project/Process Owner role in a Scrum or Kanban team
  • You played the Scrum Master role in a Scrum team
  • You was part of a development team using Scrum or Kanban and you can articulate on your experience
  • You are certified in one of the named frameworks
  • You can explain when and why it is not adviced to use such approaches

Passion and contributions

Max score: 5

  • You can show passionate about the work we (us and you) do
  • You contribute to FOSS projects
  • You maintain or own FOSS projects
  • You organize or help the organization of relevant events
  • You talk to events, engage in hackathons or are active in a community.

The technical interview may run from 60 to 90 minutes depending on your proficiencies level, your argumentations and how much fun we all take from it.

Having the opportunity to take a look at your code or attending a bit of a performance during the interview will surely add useful information and may make you jump the technical challenge if it is totally clear that you are a great fit.

Of course we are available to give you back information on our technical approach and setup so you can decide if SparkFabrik is a good fit for you also. Ideally we will reserve 10 to 20 minutes out of an hour for your questions. In addition, clever questions often matter more than correct responses.

Technical challenge

Depending on your areas and level of proficiency, we may ask you to endure a technical challenge. The main goal of this activity is to see you at work in our environment.

Technical challenges here are not setup like school exams and there is not always a bar to skip. It is more of a benchmark that will give us an idea about:

  • How you jump onto problems and tackle them
  • How you face a healthy stress
  • To what extent you can relate to others around you
  • How proficient and productive you are during a (non standard) working day

On the other hand we want you to:

  • Taste the general mood of our working environment
  • Spend some times with your possible colleagues, like coffee-machine chat or lunch together
  • Make questions about how we do things and why
  • Speak your voice

Depending on your availability, geographical position and other possible constraints, we can arrange the challenge to be taken in person or remotely.

In person challenges

In this case the actual challenge may change: you might have to produce something with a given technology, analyze a problem and provide your observation, explain and comment on something you produced in your spare time, dismantle a messy requirement in a set of user stories, reproduce a diabolical visual with CSS, or such.

No matter the challenge nature, you'll be assigned a mentor for it, so you know whom to talk to in case of need.

During in person challenges you'll have access to the internet, our team, our offices and all the devices, tools and boons you would reasonably get in your everyday job.

Remote challenges

Moving to our offices for the time necessary to take a challenge is not always feasible. For those cases we will ask you to engage in a fictional project development using a Trello agile board.

We have some Technical Challenge board templates availabe for you to clone right away. Each board lists all challenge instructions and rules, together with some useful resources.

The board also sports a product backlog, describing a fictional product or agile activity. The backlog may be taken in charge directly in the board. A column for notes and asynchronous discussions is also there.

To take the challenge you must:

  • Clone the board
  • Put your name in the board title so we can find your one
  • Invite your SparkFabrik mentors to the board (generally the CTO and HR responsible for your hiring)
  • Start working on the project

Your assigned mentor will play the role of the Product Owner for this fake product.
The base technologies may change, depending on what's relevant in your specific case.

To date the following remote challenge template boards are available:

Please, be available to come visit or attend a 2-hrs call to present your work, review it with us and collect our feedback.

At the end of your challenge you will be assigned a score, like follows.

Social attitude

Max score: 3

  • You reached out for help or a simple review by your mentor
  • You managed to controll stress and kept a positive mood along the activity
  • You spent some time with other colleagues and learned about how life in SparkFabrik actually is

Self organization

Max score: 3

  • You were able to set and maintanin tasklist to achieve your goals
  • You managed to keep track of your progresses during the day
  • You shown a clear understanding of your goal and can articulate about your progression (no matter how much) at the end of the challenge

Technical skills

Max score: 4

  • You produced something that actually works
  • You can explain (sell?) your choices and tradeoffs
  • You can engage in a meaningful conversation with your mentor about how the challenge went, possible improvements and the difficulties you encountered
  • Your work is testable, be it by automated tests or by a human following clear scenarios

Boons

Any of the following may increase your score.

Max score: 4

  • It is clear you took fun in the challenge
  • You helped us shape the challenge idea or raised the stake
  • You put special care in some valuable aspects of your deliverable
  • You provide honest and professional feedback on your experience that can help us shape future challenges
Last updated on 2019-02-06T12:12:31+00:00