How we empowered engineers to play a role in the recruiting process

Thomas Guillet
Pennylane Tech & Product
4 min readFeb 14, 2022



In December 2021, our tech hiring managers were out of the office (one was on paternity leave; the other, on vacation).

With the current pace and upcoming final rounds, we had no choice but to adjust the process to continue recruiting and meet our goals for Software Engineer and Team Lead positions.

It was also important for us to have enough interviewers to keep up with this pace and, ideally, dedicate “hiring slots” for debriefing sessions.

At Pennylane, flexibility, adaptability, and quick decision-making are some of our key principles. As a result, we have been able to move our technical recruitment process faster.

Our idea was to strengthen some of our most tenured engineers in managing the technical debriefing sessions and to keep the same diligence in evaluating the candidates objectively.


We identified 6 engineers who could help us organize the debriefing sessions. The idea was to empower those who were comfortable with handling interviews — in French and in English for the international market.

We trained them to handle technical interviews for Software Engineer positions (junior, medior (2+ years of experience) & senior profiles) only.

For those medior & senior engineers, our recruitment process is as follows:

  • Screening with a Tech Recruiter;
  • Technical Case Study (we have two case studies: one full-stack; one frontend);
  • Debriefing Session with the Tech Hiring Manager;
  • Final Round with a Co-Founder;
  • Offer.

For junior profiles, there is a first screening with a technical recruiter, then two live coding sessions, which are interchangeable, before an offer is made.

Among the 6 engineers, 4 were dedicated to the international market and 2 to the French market — including one to manage the process for juniors and to be responsible for one of the live-coding sessions.

We organized shadow sessions with our technical recruiting managers and then reverse shadows. Our engineers can learn how to conduct a debriefing session and how to objectively evaluate a candidate based on a scorecard. When they are ready — usually after 6–8 interviews — , they can lead the full-stack and frontend testing solo.

“I like the fact that we use scorecards; it ensures that everyone is fairly assessed.” — Karine Herbaut, Full-stack engineer

It’s a lot of training, so we took the time to offer as many shadows as the engineers needed. Likewise, if they were comfortable, we let them give feedback and if not, we let our hiring managers do it.

We summarize the onboarding of our engineers in this sheet where you can find an overview along the way of who is ready to lead in full-solo and who needs more shadows and reverse shadows.

Onboarding Dev — Debriefing Recruitment Test

In terms of collaboration, we use a “tech interviewers” Slack channel to discuss the process, issues, and improvements with all interviewers. The process is also written on a Notion page to keep track of this reorganization.

“It’s very interesting to play a role in the recruitment process: I learned a lot from these debriefing sessions. I particularly enjoyed assessing the product-oriented and user-centric mindset of candidates.” — Alexandre Minette, Full-stack developer

We also identified 2 other people, our Chief Product Officer and a Senior Product Manager, to conduct the final round of the cultural fit interview and announce the offer if positive. We used two Slack channels: “devoffers” and “techdebriefinginterviews” to summarize what a debriefing session looks like and how to announce an offer to the candidate with all necessary information.

Last Thoughts

We’re currently continuing the ramp-up as some of our engineers need more shadows. We will continue on the same path this year and beyond as the team has grown.

We are now more Tech Recruiters to cover all European countries and beyond, and face our big challenges and ambitions for 2022 (275 people are expected by the end of the year in data, tech & product teams) → so many more candidates in our pipelines.

In the coming months, we will be empowering other engineers and engineering managers to manage the debriefing sessions. We are currently in a hyper-growth phase where we need to change and rebuild our processes throughout the way.

To finish, I would say that this reorganization is a good example of how we can move quickly at Pennylane and a good experiment for the future.

Let’s keep going… 🚀