Our Engineering hiring process at Teads

Mathilde Barthe
Jun 20, 2019 · 9 min read

Building a great interview process that gives great feedback about how well a candidate will fit your engineering team is quite tricky. There is no magic playbook, although many have covered this subject and published great resources.

In this article, rather than giving you a recipe, we will describe our process, and let the different people involved detail what they are looking for during the interviews.

Image for post
Image for post
The Engineering team during our bi-annual Innovation Summit

An Engineering team by the sea (mostly)

In fact, we are not looking to fill a specific position prior to meeting someone, we try to find the best fit within our organization depending on the candidate’s wishes. This flexibility gives room for open discussions and avoids applying too many constraints.

On average we welcome 3 newcomers every month in the engineering team. It requires quite some work and we have built and refined a standardized, yet tailored workflow to accommodate different seniority profiles.

We chose to have an in-house team of recruiters which helps in keeping up with our hiring needs in a fast-paced environment. This team is based in Montpellier (south of France) but we also hire for our two other engineering hubs in Paris and Bucharest.

In this context, it’s a challenge to ensure a consistent experience considering the number of candidates we have. If you add the fact that we frequently have new opportunities it can be even harder to keep our process as short as possible as new positions might open along the way.

The main consequence of having most of our engineering team in Montpellier is that we have to attract talents to the south of France. The upside is that it’s easier to organize open events where we can meet with potential candidates in an informal way here. We can easily invite people to join us for a pizza party at lunchtime or even play Mölkky during after-work drinks outside the office, this might sound like a detail but we’ve got great weather here!

Hanging out and sharing convivial moments is truly part of our culture.

Process overview

Image for post
Image for post

We care about our candidate experience and we know our process is quite thorough. Our goal is to make sure that we are not wasting their time. This is a real tradeoff. We constantly assess if we should go further in the process and take up more precious time from applicants.

Preparation

Step 1 — Preliminary interview

It’s also a moment when we take time to give an overview of Teads and figure out if the person we are speaking to has questions about our business.

Alizée Marion-Wuillemin is one of our recruiters:

The aim of this first contact is to learn a little more about each other. The idea is to understand the candidate’s motivations following an application, an exchange on linkedin … before evaluating his/her experience, culture fit, and curiosity. We especially focus on professional projects and experience in an agile context.

We always take time to answer questions about Teads, our products and our technical stack.

We also like to get to know more about personal activities and hobbies. And if the candidate is volunteering in local Tech meetups or is an OSS contributor, of course, we should talk about it!

Image for post
Image for post

Following this step, we send a debrief note to the managers involved.

We include a recap of the candidate’s experience, its strengths as well as topics that should be discussed further in the process.

We also have weekly meetings to share about candidates that are in process.

Step 2 — Technical assessment

We know that this step can be heavy on the candidate, but it gives a great basis for a technical discussion with a peer.

In each feature team, we have voluntary software and machine learning engineers that can review these exercises.

What do we expect?

Christophe Oudar, one of our reviewers has some recommendations:

When I evaluate the submissions I mainly focus on: the algorithm, its complexity & correctness, test coverage and software engineering best practices: readability, reusability, idiomatic code style, etc.

I do not expect the candidate to over-engineer his/her submission with additional features, a UI or even an API. Rather, I look for some insights on what is his/her coding standard as a professional.

Cyrille Dubarry is one of the Machine Learning reviewers :

Our exercise is split into two parts. In the first part I try to see if the candidate is comfortable manipulating data using his/her preferred tool and if he is capable of thinking and does not jump to conclusions too quickly.

In the second part, I do not expect the candidate to offer the best possible solution. Instead, I expect him to suggest improvements for his/her solution during the debrief and actually demonstrate basic Machine Learning knowledge (feature transformation, feature selection, cross-validation, etc.).

What happens during the debrief?

We know that this step can be stressful. But there is no trap and we encourage candidates to use all the help and guidance they can get from the reviewer.

The debriefing is also a moment where we discuss with the candidate about his/her background, experience, and an opportunity for him to ask questions about Teads with another software engineer.

Technical debrief feedback

Otherwise, we move forward with the process and will ask if he/she wants to join us for a day.

Step 3 — Onsite with the Engineering Team

Gregory Truchetet, who joined us about a year ago, shares about his onsite experience at Teads:

Coming from Paris, my day onsite was pretty intense and full of insights about the expectations, the organization and the culture of the company. During this day I met people from different teams, from HR, to management and pure tech people.

The technical parts of my interviews were challenging and friendly, all the necessary stuff was done to make me feel comfortable and welcome.

Step 4 — Mutual feedback

Image for post
Image for post

The first thing we do is ask the candidate to have a feedback about the onsite. Then we gather everyone involved in the process to come to a decision. All points of view are taken into consideration.

The offer/rejection step isn’t easy. But in any way, we ask the candidate about his/her personal experience going through our process and all suggestions are welcome to enhance it!

Next: Onboarding

Relocating in the south of France

We also offer a relocation package to actually help with all the necessary steps. Here is feedback from François Bagaïni who joined us recently:

I made a 600 km move to come to Montpellier. I stayed in an Airbnb for one month and I was assisted by Ma Nouvelle Ville for housing research. They dealt with housing agencies and I was able to visit up to 6 places in a day, it was very convenient.

Thanks to the relocation bonus allocated by Teads, I was able to hire a team of movers which made things pretty easy. On a side note, Montpellier is an attractive and accessible city.

Our onboarding program

This session is launched by our Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer. It’s a great way to share the culture, vision, and strategy. It’s also an opportunity for everyone to ask questions about it. During this program, participants will also get an introduction to the AdTech industry.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Team breakfast (on the left) — Onboarding session (on the right)

Recently we launched two new initiatives to facilitate our newcomers’ integration:

  • An anniversary lunch, we will gather all team members that joined Teads the same month (whatever the year of arrival) for lunch. It’s a great opportunity for newcomers to connect with people from other teams.
  • A buddy program, each newcomer has a “buddy” to talk to. Buddies are usually people with the same kind of Tech background but from another feature team. This can help newcomers in finding their way around topics they might not want to bother their manager with (advice about the city, great places to go out, etc.). It’s also an additional point of contact for day to day company-related questions.

Never assume you’re done

Keeping up with this growth is challenging for the team but we learned, reacted and will keep an eye out on these pitfalls.

Bottom Line

  • We value computer science and software engineering skills rather than specific tech or languages (not only Scala!).
  • But most importantly, we hire team players and foster a diverse and inclusive culture that encourages everyone to work together.

We regularly open our doors for after-work drinks or host meetups, do not hesitate to follow our Twitter to stay informed and come meet the team!

Teads Engineering

150+ innovators building the future of digital advertising

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store