- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
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I worked at Snips as an intern (Less than a year)
People are highly qualified. The overall atmosphere is super friendly, and the work environment is conductive to the collaboration between team members. This fosters sharing knowledge. Compensation and perks are excellent.
So far, none identified. Processes are efficient.
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I applied online. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Snips (Paris (France)) in February 2018.
Step 1. The Application Form
We ask to fill a simple application form. If we want to know more, we just ask about it later during a face to face conversation.
What we are actually really interested in are the answers we get to the other questions. For instance, we ask candidates to tell us about something they hacked. It doesn’t have to be software, it can be anything. What we look for here is a demonstration of creativity in getting stuff done with very little resources.
We then ask about a project that they loved, and what challenges they had to solve on the way.
We also ask about what they would like to achieve in the next 12 months.
Finally, we ask them about their motivation to join the team.
Step 2. The Challenge
This is my personal favorite. Once we selected candidates based on their application, we then send them a challenge based on the position they are applying for. For example, someone applying for a data science position will receive a real dataset and be asked to do something creative with it. They can use any tool, language and library they want, and supplement the data with any other sources. The goal for us is not to obtain a solution to the problem, but rather to see how creative people are in a real-life scenario.
The challenge itself is hard enough that it takes several hours to complete, but easy enough that it doesn’t require a priori knowledge of the problem at hand. Most importantly, it assesses a candidate’s passion for the subject.
Once we receive the challenge, we take a thorough look at it, and assess the following:
creativity in attempting to solve the problem
expertise in applying the right algorithms
ability to clearly explain the approach taken
quality of the code written
By doing this challenge we found that only people that are truly passionate about what they do will take the time to complete the task. They will put extra efforts in nailing smaller details because they enjoy tackling the problem. Since we designed the challenges to be as close as possible to the actual stuff we face in our daily work, someone passionate about solving our challenge will most likely be a very good fit.
Many applicants end up dropping out of the process at that stage, which is good, since we can then focus on the really passionate ones ;-)
Step 3. The Technical Interview
If we like the challenge and have a good feel for a candidate, we invite them to come meet our team and have a technical interview. The goal here is to dig deep into the knowledge of the candidates, and see what they would need to learn before they can become operational.
We know whiteboard interviews are not always the best way to assess the fit for engineers, so we never ask things like coding the A* algorithm as if it were a computer science exam — although we value deep algorithmic & theoretical computer-science knowledge.
What we do instead is try have a very deep discussion about a technical problem we are facing as a company. It helps us assess:
the technical depth of the candidate
human skills, communication skills and cultural fit
creativity, thinking speed, and pragmatism of solution
ability to pick up new concepts
Successful candidates often provide very useful insights into the problems we are having. They enjoy the discussion, and it generally feels more like an extremely interesting and deep discussion rather than a technical interview.
Step 4. The Reference Check
If the team likes the candidate, we ask for at least 2 references, which must be people the candidate has worked with. Although we didn’t do that in the beginning (it’s kind of cumbersome honestly), we have now started being very diligent about it, as we found it to be a great source of insights on a candidate.
During the reference call, we go deep and try to understand how the candidate solves problem, works in a team, what their qualities and shortcomings are. What we want to find out are the hidden qualities or red flags.
Step 5. The Hacking Trial
Based on the previous steps, the team determines whether the candidate would be a good fit, in which case they get invited for a trial period at our Paris office. The trial lasts 2 days, during which we must ship something together.
This trial period aims at testing both how productive the person is when working on hard problems, as well as if they are a good fit for the company and the current team. This of course works both ways, and gives candidates a good idea of what their life at Snips would be like.
Culture fit is in fact so important that we now have a simple rule: when there is a doubt, there is no doubt. To put it simply, you cannot “become” a Snipster. Either you are one naturally and the team embraces you, or you aren’t.
Finally, We Celebrate!