The making of engineering.greenhouse.io

I took engineering.greenhouse.io from an idea to a reality over the course of a month. Here’s how I did it.

Screenshot of engineering.greenhouse.io

The motivation

We have a strong team culture and I want to tell people about it! But previously, if people wanted to know more about the team, the only place we could send them was the tech blog. While the blog is active and informative (check it out!), it can be a little too low level for someone trying to quickly get a sense of the team.

Greenhouse already has a good internet presence, but Greenhouse’s engineering team, not so much.

Choosing the technology

My biggest fear in creating an engineering team site was that it would not be updated and no one would read or share it. On one hand, choosing an exciting new tech stack could be motivation for people to contribute. On the other hand, it’s a barrier and a distraction. I evaluated some ready made CMS’ (like Squarespace) and some self-hosted content frameworks (like Hugo and Jekyll) but those had a higher than desired learning curve and took some work to customize for our requirements.

In the end, I went with a single html file deployed on GitHub pages. It’s not the most elegant solution: if we were to add new pages, we’d have to duplicate files. But, it’s great for a proof of concept and has the lowest barrier to entry — most of our engineering team is already comfortable writing HTML and CSS. From a developers perspective, I’d rather write something simple from scratch then spend time customizing a complex, external solution. This is flexible (allows us to easily build on top of it) and portable (migrate to another system in the future).

Finally, I realized that creating the content would be the hardest part of this project, so I didn’t want to get distracted by shiny new tech and instead, I wanted to focus on delivering results.

Creating the Content

This was the hardest and most time consuming part.

I thought a lot about how to represent the team and the message we wanted to send to candidates and the engineering community. Past discussions about company and engineering team values made it easier to identify our key differentiators and the values they embody:

  • Learning & Development: The autonomy we have means there are a lot of different ways people are learning and growing. I wanted to highlight the ambitious and collaborative ways people on our team do this. Whether it’s 1:1 mentoring relationships, fostering a stronger feedback culture, or organizing group learning sessions.
  • Technical Projects: As an engineering team, we are productive and pragmatic. I wanted the projects on the site to show our focus on customer impact, decision making for the long term, and delivering results.
  • Career Development: I want to show the flexibility and attention we give to individuals in helping them figure out their goals and how to accomplish them.
  • Interview Process: I really like some of the “What to expect when you’re interviewing with us” guides that I’ve seen other companies put together. It’s a great way to be candidate focused and treat people kindly and respectfully during a stressful time in their lives. Ours is by no means as exhaustive as I would like for it to be, but it’s a start!

Working with Stakeholders

Since this is a team site, it was important to have a collaborative process where the engineering, engineering management, and recruiting teams could provide input. I tried to be as transparent as possible so everyone would have the right expectations for this project and not be surprised by the output.

This took a variety of forms:

  • The progress for the site was shared with the team through email and in person announcements and meetings.
  • The team was invited to collaborate on shared documents and review the code and content for the site.
  • We used one of our Blog Post workshops as an opportunity to discuss the project in more detail and work on content with interested folks.
  • I reached out to specific individuals who’s pictures, projects, and career paths I wanted to highlight to get their stories and permission.
  • I met with the recruiting team to understand their needs and get their suggestions.
  • The engineering management team was kept informed with email updates in addition to the updates to the larger team.

Future Plans

There’s so much more to do! Some things we want to share in the future include a more detailed interview guide for candidates, an explanation of the responsibilities of all the teams and roles we have, our career ladders, stories from team members, and more.

Conclusion

I had a lot of fun and learned about project management from working on this project. There’s so much more to do both with the site and with raising the visibility of Greenhouse Engineering. I hope the site can be a living representation of our team’s culture and be guided by what candidate’s want to know as well. I’m excited to keep on building and sharing our culture :)

Check it out and let me know what you think! engineering.greenhouse.io