How-to be part of our engineering team

Stage 1 — Technical assessment

Spot the easter egg ;)

Stage 2 — Culture fit

Congratulations! Only one in eight people get to this stage! 🎊🎉👍

In this stage, you will meet our HR manager, your hiring manager and one of your colleagues. We will start the interview session with an ice-breaking question like, “Tell me about yourself” and this session will typically last for an hour or longer. When it’s over, we shake hands, you leave and then the interviewers will exchange notes and decide on one of these outcomes:

  1. Good fit with a great attitude — hire
  2. Poor fit with a poor attitude — no hire
  3. Unsure of culture fit or attitude — still a no hire. Like what Joel said, …

“ … it is much, much better to reject a good candidate than to accept a bad candidate. A bad candidate will cost a lot of money and effort and waste other people’s time fixing all their bugs. … Bad employees demoralize the good employees. And they might be bad programmers but really nice people or maybe they really need this job, so you can’t bear to fire them, or you can’t fire them without pissing everybody off, or whatever. It’s just a bad scene.”

Speaking from experience, the ratio of poor-fit to unsure-fit is about 3:1 for experienced candidates and a dismal 1:1 for fresh graduates.

So here are some tips to improve your odds :)

  1. Unlike the technical assessment at stage 1, stage 2 interview session is a panel interview with HR, hiring manager and your potential colleagues. If you are not comfortable with talking to 3–4 strangers, you might falter. To ease your anxiety, you need to understand that we really want you to pass this stage. Our other option is to spend additional time and effort to scout for another candidate and screen her/him through stage 1 and stage 2. The odds are on your side so be confident! :)
  2. During the session, pay attention to symptoms of anxiety such as dry lips and fidgeting fingers. Ask for more water and/or a bio break to calm down. It’s perfectly fine to openly acknowledge your anxiety and request for a break. Bonus point for your sense of self-awareness and compensating skills. Remember, we are rooting for you :)
  3. Still edgy? Try “power posing” right before the interview. :)
  4. Be prepared for ice-breaking questions like “Tell me about yourself.” It can be hard to regain your composure if you fumble at the first question. Look in the mirror and practise your opening. Start strong, gain confidence and finish well.
  5. Look at these questions. We are looking for candidates who are self-driven, intellectually curious and passionate go-getters
  6. Demonstrate your curiosity and resourcefulness. Find out about us — Google, Facebook, Medium, LinkedIn, GitHub, Glassdoor, etc …
  7. Learn about our past, present and future. It helps if you know people from our team.
  8. Hint: We operate like 18f and UK GDS — Do some homework :)
  9. Prepare some questions for us. No question means you either believe you know everything about us or you don’t know enough to ask or worst, you simply don’t care. Any one of these reflects badly on your curiosity, initiative and resourcefulness. One of my best candidates took out his checklist of questions at the end of the session and he has proven to be always well-prepared for meetings. Pay attention to your habits and your habits will take care of your behavior.
  10. Tell us your beliefs, values and opinions. If you play it too safe, we will be unsure of what you stand for. Be bold. We respect diversity of perspective and opinion. In short, we are not looking for ‘yes-(wo)man’.
  11. If you are a go-getter, you will follow up with HR on the interview result. This can be the tiebreaker.

To find out more, check our articles on our workplace, our work and our culture. Look forward to your CV whenever you are ready for the challenge,😀




Be Happy, Be Awesome! We deliver high-quality digital services to citizens and businesses in Singapore 😊

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Steven Koh

Steven Koh

GDS Director@GovTech | Curious, optimistic tech junkie | Build great products, agile delivery teams and tech communities | #techforpublicgood | We’re hiring!

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