Propellerhead NZ
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Propellerhead NZ

Our Interview Process, And Getting Hired

Our company is made up of some of the brightest minds in New Zealand software development, and we believe life at Propellerhead is very rewarding.

We care deeply about our work, and are building software for some of the largest ideas in Government, Commercial and Non-profit Institutions in New Zealand.

Check out our recent work with Auckland Museum on their Linked Open Data Platform.

Because we live and die by the quality of the people we hire, it will probably come as no surprise that we’re discerning when it comes to hiring. But, we’re unique with what we’re looking for.

A baseline of skills and experience is important, but what we value above all else is your problem-solving ability, emotional intelligence, integrity, and team fit.

Interested in joining us? We’ve put together a few points on what to expect from our hiring process below. Also, make sure you check out current vacancies, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Working At Propellerhead

We believe you are most effective when given the room to move — when there are as few organisational layers as possible.

Managing from the top down discourages the initiative that makes team members who they are. Instead, we seek to build a more dynamic, self-sufficient organisation where people get a chance to focus on what matters.

Our approach is designed to produce maximum value by stepping out of the way and clearing roadblocks for our teams. We take influence from Holacracy, Agile, Lean Startup, and Design Thinking, and we build solutions in a series of small increments. Each iteration provides an opportunity for adaptation based on user behaviour and increasing insights.

Our company is full of problem-solvers who happen to code, and we put a premium on communication, collaboration, openness and flexibility.

Teams

Our business is organised as a collection of teams. Each team is responsible for an agreed outcome and is free to determine how best to achieve that outcome.

They hold each other to account for performance, determine tasks, team direction etc, and each has a lead whose primary role is to support and coach team members in pursuit of delivering to the team’s outcome.

In other words, teams are self-managing business units operating within the larger organisation. We take influence from the Holacracy framework (read more about our interview with Idealog here).

Our vision to build software for some of New Zealand’s brightest ideas has attracted high-functioning individuals from all over the world, and our team includes people from over 10 different countries.

Our Offices

We’re situated in the heart of Auckland, close to Victoria Park and the Viaduct, and have beautiful, open-plan offices.

We also have some of the best coffee in Auckland right here in the office (oh, and plenty of office snacks!).

Equal Opportunity Workplace

Propellerhead is a committed equal opportunity workplace regardless of race, gender, national origin, colour, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, or gender identity.

Talented people come in all forms, and we believe diversity contributes positively to technology development and to a better world.

Finding The Right Fit (For Both Parties)

Our culture is critically important to us, so when interviewing candidates we’re careful to make sure the fit is right on both sides. We promise if you bring your real self, we’ll do the same. We highly value authenticity.

Our interview process starts with a brief introductory meeting. It is a chance for both of us to determine whether there is a good enough fit to proceed on to the next stages of the process. The meeting is conversational, with a focus on your prior experiences, domain knowledge, and personal interest in Propellerhead. This is your chance to learn more about us too.

Developer interviews tend to include technical questions about data structures, algorithms, and software development. We will always have as much detail as possible in the role description which you can view before you apply.

Interview Questions We May Ask

We love learning about you, and may ask a few of the following questions during an interview:

  • What you care about and value?
  • What you’re working on? Projects or products
  • What drives you?
  • Why do you come to work each day?
  • Why you like working with your current team, or why not?
  • How do you resolve conflicts?
  • Why you want to join our company?

We’d also love to hear about your current development techniques, understanding and creativity, your design patterns, and how well you understand complex setups. This is all across the whole delivery lifecycle.

The technology doesn’t matter as much — we know that if a candidate is fast learning, has good common sense, and has a good understanding of the above, then the technology can be learnt.

Assessments

If you progress through the first chat, we use a set of simple assessments to augment the process of getting to know you.

These assessments provide a better insight into your preferred working style, aptitude, and the conditions under which you best thrive. They are nothing to be worried about, and merely help us understand what you value most, and how you work best.

Meeting The Team

An interview with key team members is part of the interview process, as your fit within the team will have a direct influence on your enjoyment and success within Propellerhead.

You aren’t simply joining a company, you’ll be playing a key role in one of the self-sufficient teams that make up who we are. It will also give you the chance to get to know more about us from the view of fellow practitioners.

Selecting The Right Candidates

There’s a particular set of markers to indicate whether someone would do well here.

Usually it’s the care they take, their integrity, and their learning potential, followed by their technical skills. Technology changes rapidly, so skills are important, but secondary to learning ability. We value this very highly.

Because we hire high-functioning individuals, it’s important not to over-manage them. We try to provide a good structure to work within, but let people make their own decisions within a team environment. If you thrive in this way, you’ll enjoy it here.

Here For A Technical Interview?

As a software services company we are judged by;

  1. Our ability to deliver
  2. The quality of our code

If you’re here for a technical role, we will give you a technical challenge so you can demonstrate your prowess as an experienced developer. We’ll be looking at how you solve problems, and your grasp of patterns, tools, and techniques required for high-quality code. You’ll have an idea of what we might cover from the job description.

We realise there’s more than one way to approach a particular problem — we’re actually more interested in hearing your thoughts on why you chose a particular approach, technique, or algorithm. This is your chance to showcase your thinking to other technically-minded people.

We value clean, simple code which is readable, maintainable and extensible where appropriate. We’re equally interested in your debugging ability, analytical skills, creativity and an understanding of the infrastructure and processes that underpin production code.

And Finally, Why Would You Want To Work Here?

Here’s a quick breakdown to temp you to apply:

  1. Propellerhead is a rewarding company to become a part of. Expect to be valued for your integrity, problem-solving ability, common sense, and of course technical prowess.
  2. We take influence from Holacracy, Agile, Lean Startup, and Design Thinking, and we build solutions in a series of small increments. Each iteration provides an opportunity for adaptation based on user behaviour and increasing insights.
  3. The projects you’ll be working on help millions of New Zealanders every day, and we have some exciting things in the pipeline.
  4. Central location, great offices, and top-notch coffee!
  5. Expect to be surrounded by some of New Zealand’s brightest minds.

Want To Work Here?

If we align with your values, take a look at current vacancies here.

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Our software powers some of the largest ideas in Government, Commercial and Non-Profit Institutions in New Zealand.

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Elyse Wyatt

Elyse Wyatt

@PropellerheadNZ

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