Our Engineering hiring process at Teads
Building a great interview process that provides a good signal of how well a candidate will fit your engineering team can be complex. There is no magical playbook, although many have covered this subject and published great resources.
In this article, rather than give you an exact recipe, we will describe our process, and allow the team to narrow down what they are looking for during the interviews.
An Engineering team by the sea (mostly)
Our engineering department comprises 200+ people, split into several feature teams and core teams. If you have a look at our open positions, you will notice that some of them will mention a specific team: we strive to provide visibility into open positions based on priority and to introduce some of our teams to potential candidates. But in reality all our teams are recruiting!
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 based on a candidate’s experience and individual career goals. This flexibility gives room for open discussions and avoids applying too many constraints.
On average we welcome 4 newcomers a month into the engineering team. It requires vigorous work and we have built and refined a standardized, yet tailored workflow to accommodate different seniority profiles.
We choose to have an in-house team of recruiters which helps in keeping up with our hiring needs in a fast-paced environment. Our Tech Recruitment team is split between our two French engineering hubs: Montpellier (south of France) and Paris. They also hire for our third engineering hub in Bucharest (Romania).
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 are frequently opening new positions, it can be challenging to keep our process as efficient as possible.
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 advantage is that it’s easier to organize open events where we can meet with potential candidates in an informal way here. This might sound like a tiny detail but we’ve got great weather here!
Hanging out and sharing convivial moments is truly part of our culture.
We care about our candidate experience and we know our process is 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 of a candidate’s precious time.
Step 1 — HR Preliminary Screening
During this first short conversation (about 30 mins) — preferably by phone or video conference — we mostly try to get to know each other, understand the candidate’s background, aspirations and motivations.
It’s also a moment when we take time to give an overview of Teads and answer any questions the candidate may have about our business.
Bianca Rusu is one of our Tech Recruiters:
“This meetup is the first official meeting we have with a candidate. Therefore, it is strategic because of the impact it could have on the future relationship between the candidate and Teads. Both of them should get out of it with the motivation to pursue the recruitment process.
Practically, this first glance is the opportunity to better understand the candidate’s projects, what they worked on, their motivation to join Teads, as well as the technical challenges they have previously encountered.
It is also the perfect moment for me to give more information about what Teads does: the technical, product & business challenges we deal with. I always try to also share the company’s cultural identity and what makes us unique within the market and from our competition.
The dialogue will be enriched during the technical deep dive phase of the following interviews.”
Following this step, we send a debrief note to the managers involved.
We include a recap of the candidate’s experience, their strengths as well as topics that should be explored further in the process.
Step 2 — Tech Screening
The decision to join a new company is never easy and our job is to build the perfect conditions for candidates! We acknowledge that their time is precious, so we want to assess our compatibility quickly and provide them with all the information they need as early as possible, especially before requesting an in-person meeting at the office for in-depth technical interviews.
In this interview, usually conducted online by Zoom and lasting 1 hour, the candidate will meet an engineering leader (Engineering Manager, Director of Engineering, or VP of Engineering). We have decided to schedule this meeting early in the process to provide insights to the candidate on our context and challenges as quickly as possible.
This interview is an important part of the process. It’s still the beginning of their journey as a candidate at Teads and we want to let them understand what it will be like to work at Teads. We will provide them with some context and information regarding our projects and teams. We’ll also try to understand their way of working, and their goals and aspirations.
For most of our positions, we invite our candidates to complete a small home exercise. For this, we send a link to our coding platform. The candidate is free to do the exercise using their preferred language, and will have a maximum of 2 hours to complete it.
We know this step can be heavy on the candidate, but it gives a much-needed insight into their algorithmic skills, which we will continue to explore in the next step of the process.
Tech Screening feedback
As a recruiter, it can be challenging to debrief technical points with specificity, but if the results of the test or the interview are below our expectations, we do our best to give honest and transparent feedback on what the candidate can improve and work on.
Otherwise, we move forward with the process and will ask if they want to join us for a day of onsite interviews.
Step 3 — Panel Interviews, onsite with the Engineering Team
Organizing a day with the team is important to us. It’s a way to meet everybody and really put the candidate in a situation where they can make the determination if they would like to join us. During this day we concentrate on software craftsmanship and culture fit.
Nicolas Bosansky, who joined us recently, shares about his onsite experience at Teads:
“I was pleasantly surprised by the way the logistics were organized by the recruitment team: everything was done so that I didn’t have any extra stress to deal with, I just had to get on the train and the taxi that had been arranged for me. Super comfortable.
Throughout the day onsite I met nothing but friendly people who did everything they could to make me feel at ease. I was greeted warmly with a coffee, given a tour of the office and then taken to lunch in a nice restaurant with several engineers, which allowed me to learn more about Teads in an informal and relaxed setting.
Likewise, the interviews were very much discussion-based and took place without any pressure. The interviewers were very supportive and made sure to point me in the right direction, which allowed me to show my best self.
The day was nevertheless challenging, but really enjoyable and instructive. It ended with a reassuring chat with the recruiter who had followed and supported me throughout the process to review all the exchanges I had had, before he took me back to the taxi to go home.”
Step 4 — Mutual feedback
The first thing we do is ask the candidate for their feedback about the onsite Panel interviews. 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 no matter which decision we take, we ask the candidate about their personal experience going through our process and all suggestions are welcome to enhance it!
Having an offer from us is only the beginning of the journey at Teads. And it doesn’t stop once the job contract is signed.
Relocating in the south of France
Our main engineering hub is in Montpellier (south of France) and we frequently onboard people coming from all over the planet. We know that moving can be a stressful life event. During the process, we encourage candidates to spend a weekend in Montpellier to explore the area and take time to check different neighborhoods they might like.
We also offer a relocation package to help with all the necessary steps.
Here is feedback from Amine Haddad who joined us recently:
“The relocation package of Teads made it easier, faster and less expensive to move to Montpellier.
We lived in the Paris area and thanks to their deal with a housing agency, we found our apartment in less than one month.
We enjoy our new life in Montpellier, it is a very nice city with warm people. There are many beautiful places to visit and there are many places accessible and near to the city to go with the children.
Thank you Teads!”
Our onboarding program
Once aboard, recent newcomers will gather for a comprehensive program. For several days, they will discover the mission and challenges of each feature team.
This session is launched by our VPs of Engineering 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. During this program, participants will also get an introduction to the AdTech industry.
Never assume you’re done
Unfortunately, nothing is ever perfect. While we were growing, we noticed a few hiccups for some candidates (received feedback late or steps that would take too long).
Keeping up with this growth is challenging for the team but we learned, reacted and will be watchful for these areas for improvement.
- We are hiring all kinds of profiles at different levels of seniority for all our teams.
- We value computer science and software engineering skills rather than specific technologies 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.