Journey So far At Brain Station 23
Every now and then I get asked the same question by my juniors on how the recruitment process is done at Brain Station 23. I realized I can share my story as well as how it works and what to expect in the long run.
Applying for the Job
I think it was around October’2018 I heard that Brain Station 23 was looking for an AR/VR Unity developer. I was waiting for an opportunity to work as a unity engineer so I prepared myself for it. To begin with, I had zero experience as an AR/VR developer. I’ve been working with unity for over 3 years in a professional capacity but that was for game development. Not in AR/VR capacity. Honestly, I never liked Gimmicks like AR/VR technology which was and still is in an infant phase if you ask me. Well anyway, I prepared my CV showing my skills in unity. Here’s the CV that I submitted back then. I used an online tool called VisualCV to make it.
While preparing my CV I focused on a few things.
- Removed unnecessary educational details.
- Showcased my open source contribution
- Showcased my recent projects
- Keywords list to show my skills in an orderly fashion.
- Added Preferences and weaknesses
Let me explain why I added my preference and weakness sections.
Firstly I wanted to let recruiters know that I’m available for other roles and their priorities so that they can offer other options for me as well if needed instead of just discarding my application.
And the weakness section was added to protect me in the mock interview. Let me explain that later on.
Got the call
One fine evening I got the call from BS23, HR dept. let me just summarize it. They said I’ve been shortlisted and they want to know if I’m available for a written exam on some date. I was like- okay I’m available. Technically It was my first ever interview. Because, in my last job, I was basically recommended by a friend. There wasn’t much of an interview or any complicated processes.
The Day Of The Exam
They finally arrived. I went to take the test. Arrived a few mins early. HR told me to have lunch and come back in an hour. I went out and walked aimlessly as I never came to this part of the city. Looked for somewhere to eat. Took me some time to find a restaurant. So I was thinking I probably should have asked what kind of test will the set. I totally forgot to ask. I guess usually that's how it works right? You ask for what things to cover or stuff like that. So that we can better prepare. Well not like I can do anything else at that point. I’d just have to do my best.
I got back and received a laptop with an exam sheet. It had a written test and another practical test. I was allocated around 1 hrs. for the written test and another 1hrs for the practical one. I got started with the exam. It was pretty basic for most of the part. They asked a few conceptual questions. One output tracing. One comparison. I answered 95% of the questions easily. There was one question that was labeled 10 marks which I had no idea what to do with. I was like -screw it. I’d score 90 anyway that should be good enough. It took me around 20 mins to wrap. So I had around 40 mins extra.
I moved on to the practical test. The instruction was as simple as it can get.
- Create a UI scene with Transition animation of color(Something like that)
- Do something with the provided Unity Assets. ( They provided some 3d models)
I got the first part done asap. in 5–10 mins. Then I opened the assets and started to think about what I can do. During the exam, I had to take 3 prayer breaks. HR helped me to do that during the exam. While going for the breaks I could see there were other examinees. I could see the look on their faces and I was pretty sure that I’m getting the job. Because I’m awesome. And they are probably going to fail. How do I know? I failed college exams a lot and I had the same face.
Well in any case I realized what’s the problem. As developers, we most certainly do not memorize code. And Unity is no simple tool. We usually google for most problems. In the exam, they cut the internet. So I couldn’t google. It was probably done to stop cheating but this way is probably wrong. I guess everyone would fail if you cut the internet. I wonder if HR even wanted anyone to pass. In reality, it’s simply the bar was set very high. If Brain Station were to serve talent as service, the hiring bar needs to be set high, wouldn’t you agree?
But I wasn’t just anyone. I’ve been playing with unity for like 5 years now. And 3 years professionally. The questions may not have been easy for a beginner developer but it was certainly up my alley. By this time unity API was kind of like an extension to me. At least the basic ones. And point to be noted I just had to pass. I don’t have to do anything flashy. I just need to get something working. Eventually, I was able to make a good 3d scene with some interaction with it. Just barely something to prove that I can. That’s all I wanted to do. Because I was pretty sure that even if I get a low score they’d consider it due to the fact that the whole exam seemed too hard for a junior dev. I mean I did easily answer 90% of the questions but that doesn’t mean it was easy for everyone. Not everyone is Tanim. If it was easy for everyone then others wouldn’t have that kind of face. I submitted as soon as I thought I had something ready that’s runnable. And I left. All I had to do is wait for the call.
After a few days, I got a call regarding the mock interview. Usually, these happen the same day for some reason I had to take the mock interview after a day or two. Well, it didn’t matter. I again forgot to ask what would be the topics for the mock interview. again too late. I keep forgetting these. I was interviewed by two senior developers. They were very friendly. They asked me about myself and my family and things like that. They even asked me where my younger brother is currently studying. I told them I forgot. I genuinely forgot.
Why? because it’s not important where he studies or in which class. He has his own business and earns more than me at this point so why should I even care where he studies? Well, it took me some time to backtrack and answer that question. In case anyone’s interested my brother imports Rubik's Cube.
Here’s his website. If you want a discount, let me know.
After the formalities, they moved on to the questioning part. Firstly they asked me about my weakness. Yeah totally baited. It’s not like I didn’t do competitive programming. I found it boring after 200 solves. So I didn’t want to mention it and also It was basically an excuse to skip complicated questions since you know my weakness is after all competitive programming. I was asked to write a recursive function on factorial. I hate recursion. Well, I couldn’t say that. I only ever wrote one recursive function for my exams all these academic years. It became my muscle memory. So I wrote something my eyes closed. Well, It was pretty accurate. Then I was told to explain it. Even if I hate it doesn’t mean I can’t explain a code. That would be hilarious. Now that I have something I can see I simply explained it with a simulation. There were some questions that I didn’t understand easily but they helped me to answer them. Unlike the written exam, it actually felt humane. As if they want me to get passed. Hmm… human touch can make wonders. Well in any case it went pretty well. They asked me how much I wanted. I told them frankly I want XYZ amount and I could tell from their face it’s not going to happen like that. But that’s up to HR.
For some weird reason, I had to come another day for this. HR told me I’ve done well so far on both written and mock.
Me(internally): Damn right I did!
Me(Externally): Oh! wow! Thanks.
Then HR asked me to ask them if I had any questions. I wanted to know the job security. I mean how long they were planning to hire me for. Since you know Unity wasn’t actually a thing back in 2018. At least not in the current capacity. I just wanted to make sure that I can switch to other techs if needed. And apparently, that’s exactly what HR wanted too. Talk about luck.
Then we moved to discuss salary. I straight cut told him I want XYZ amount. And obviously, his face explained they ain’t gonna hire me for that. So I told him, Hey look I’ll take whatever is on the table but it’d be great if you could give me XYZ. And I asked would I get rewarded when I prove my worth? He nodded positively. I’m quite sure he had no idea how Tanimul I am. So I joined for whatever was on the table and it was like 15k less than what I had demanded.
I’ve been promoted to be one of the Business Unit Head. It’s actually a pretty big deal. In short, I’m the CEO of a small company. Which by the way isn’t that small. I have around 16 people in my unit. I’m not even including HR, Accounts, Marketing resources.
Long story short, I proved my worth and I was rewarded accordingly. Hopefully, this will be insightful for those who are planning to apply.