Candidates keep asking: what is the process to be hired at Oasis Digital as a software developer?
Our process is solid, realistic, and strikes a good balance between speed and depth. Yet merely knowing what the process is, isn’t much competitive advantage, there’s no reason to keep it secret. Good results flow from the execution, not the checklist.
As of 2018, here is the typical Oasis Digital hiring “workflow”; sometimes it varies for special cases, people with whom we already have a substantial connection. It’s best to think of this as a kind of “funnel”. At each stage, we are looking for signs that the candidate would perform well and be great addition to our team – and trying to show strong candidates that we offer them an opportunity to thrive.
- Initial contact or awareness. Perhaps they see a job post somewhere, or someone refers them to us. Ideally they have a chance to watch a short video about the job and about working at Oasis Digital. Usually we receive a resume (via a tracking system, like everyone else – so that we don’t lose track of any). Of those, some catch our eye. Those move on to…
- We have an initial, short conversation/interview about the candidate’s experience, current situation, what they’re looking for in their next job, qualifications, etc. We have this conversations over a video chat, to provide the candidate the maximum “bandwidth” opportunity to make a good impression about these things. A portion of the candidates move on to…
- A longer discussion. This discussion again is ideally over a video chat, and often involves more than one of us at Oasis Digital. If the candidate already happens to be in St. Louis, sometimes we meet in our office or over lunch; but video chat is actually “good enough” even for local candidates, and that sometimes can be scheduled more easily or promptly. Of these candidates, a portion move on to…
- Our real interview with a software development candidate is to spend time coding together. Ideally this is in-person in our office; although for an out-of-town candidate it’s possible to do this over a screen sharing session. We try to spend at least an hour on this, sometimes several. Working on some code together is by far the most effective way to understand where a candidate is in their development mastery. It is much more effective, and faster, than the sort of “take-home sample programming assignment” that has become popular in recent years. If this goes well and we are favorably impressed, a candidate might move on to…
- A deeper, more traditional “HR style” interview, where we talk about the candidate’s experiences, strengths, weaknesses, goals, and so on in depth. Will the person the person strengthen our team, and reinforce our values? Are our benefits and compensation attractive? Can an agreeable salary be worked out? If all that goes well, the final stage is…
- There is a background check process; our customers often require that developers with access to their materials have a clean background check. Assuming nothing negative pops up…
- Successful hire – onboarding begins.
From writing all that, wow, it sounds like a lot! In the best case, it can be executed in a few days of elapsed time, although usually there is not such a rush. Our process is intended to be a less onerous time commitment for everyone involved – yet still provide ample opportunity to get to know each other – compared to what some larger companies go through.
For many positions we’ve streamlined and improved even further from the 2018 description above. Our process focuses on seeing candidates in action. We hire on demonstrable technical proficiency or potential, not on the ability to endure lengthy traditional interview questioning. The process:
- Job post and informational video provide candidates information before interviewing.
- Interview 1: discuss some code, and the candidate codes a bit. 30 minutes or less.
- Interview 2: discuss more code, candidate codes more. Discuss the job more. 30-45 minutes.
- For some roles or candidates, additional interviews are needed.
- Offer, hire, start.
- Onboarding, learning boost, and mentorship process begins.
(Of course there is variance on the length and use of the interviews, depending on details of each position.)