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Recruitment

The current document describes the stages of recruitment and the various evaluation points that occur during the process.

Launch of a recruitment round

  • The epic planning managers are responsible for determining when the availability needs of their cells will require to launch a recruitment round. They communicate this need as much as possible in advance to the recruitment managers and the CEO - ideally at least 1 month before the availability is required, to provide enough time to complete the round.
    • A cell should always target having some extra availability, to allow to accept new projects without requiring too much last-minute recruitment, which is more stressful for the cell and the recruitment managers. On top of the required availability, plan for 1-2+ extra newcomers for availability margin, plus planning ahead to replace any newcomer that doesn't pass their trial.
  • The CEO publishes the job ad, which direct candidates to submit the recruitment form.
  • The CEO informs all recruitment managers of the upcoming start of a recruitment round, and creates a workflow board to track the progression of the round's process.
  • The recruitment managers who participate to the recruitment round include a ticket in their upcoming sprint for it, and note on the comments of the workflow board how many newcomers they are looking for.
  • The candidatures are available to the recruitment managers immediately upon submission, without filtering. Each sprint manager assigns 1/X of the unassigned candidatures to themselves (the oldest submissions, with X being the total number of cells currently recruiting), splitting the reviews between the other recruitment managers who are actively recruiting.
  • To allow cells with higher recruitment needs to process more candidatures more often, and encourage faster candidatures reviews, this self-assignment operation can be repeated up to every two days by each recruitment manager

Pre-selection of candidates for interviews

Recruitment managers do a pre-selection of candidatures, to invite for an interview. It is a very basic filter over the candidatures - we don't want to be too selective at this stage, as it can still be quite hard to tell whether a candidate would be a good fit just from that information. So there are few criterias, but they are strict - if a candidate fails to pass any of these, they are eliminated:

Contribution to third party projects

We want to see at least one contribution (PR/patch) to a third party project, which isn't completely trivial (a small bug fix is fine, but just fixing a typo, spacing or a missing import isn't enough, you want to be able to have something to evaluate), and which has been merged by the third party project.

No exceptions on this, it's a hard rule. This is the main filter of the pre-selection. So we check this first, and generally someone saying explicitly that they don't have contributions is enough to rule them out -- in these cases we save time by not having to look at the rest of the candidature.

Precisions:

  • The type of work/tech from the contributions don't need to be related to our work.
  • The recipient project can be small, but should be something that has users (see its number of stars & forks - there should be at least 10-20 of each).
  • PRs done as part of an employment are ok (that's also what we do!), but it should really be done openly, and still preferably to a third party. If the PRs are all silently merged, it means there was either no review, or it happened privately, and this doesn't really qualify as an open source contribution
  • There should also be at least a PR description, and some comments/discussions with upstream - we are looking for people who communicate.
  • We are trying to filter for people who care about contributing to someone else's project, so merely releasing code on their github, or even contributions to a project they are a maintainer of, doesn't count.
  • Since often candidates just point at their github account, we get all their third-party PRs by visiting this URL (we check this for both the github & gitlab accounts when they are provided):
    • Github: https://github.com/pulls?q=is%3Apr+author%3Aviadanna+-org%3Aviadanna
    • Gitlab: https://gitlab.com/dashboard/merge_requests/?scope=all&state=all&author_username=antoviaque

Proper writing skills

Candidates don't need to have flawless spelling & grammar, but it needs to be reasonable. We think about whether the type of writting would work with a client for example. We aren't too harsh though - it can be hard to tell at times, and we can give the benefit of the doubt.

Python, Django & React

We require experience in at least Python & Django, plus preferably React. Sometimes it's unclear - some candidates don't specify some of their experience... So we wouldn't necessarily eliminate a promising candidate who doesn't list one of those (and React is not mandatory either, just very appreciated), but we will take a note of any doubt on these, to ask during the interview.

Although if there is no mention or sign of any practice of Python, the candidate almost certainly has no Python experience, so we reject the candidature in these cases. Some candidates omit mentioning Django when they have only a small amount of experience with it, and it's still fine in that case after verification, but nobody fluent in a language omits mentioning it in their list of skills, especially when other languages are mentioned.

Seniority

We also currently don't hire junior developers - from past experiences, the remote environment combined to the expected quality and efficiency doesn't work well with junior profiles, at least with our current organization. We might revisit this in the future, but we would need to put in place a specific process to allow them to acquire the required skills and experience.

At the moment, we require at least 2-3 years of professional experience as a hired developer. We sometimes make an exception for a prolific open source contributor who has demonstrated great technical and social skills in his contributions, and thus already shows a senior profile.

Also, we accept candidates who have been recently been employed by another Open edX provider, but we check for exclusivity clauses in their contract before proceeding with an interview (to be discussed with the CEO when someone from another provider applies).

Fields to fill

In the spreadsheet containing the candidatures, besides the answers submitted by candidates, recruitment managers will see a few additional columns to fill:

  • Assigned to: The name of the recruitment manager assigned to review the candidature. We sometimes reassign some of them for the round of interviews, if there is a big imbalance -- which definitely happens, as a group of good candidatures often appear together in the spreadsheet :)

  • Status: The current status of the candidature (drop-down).

  • Python, Django, React: This is a reminder to write in the cell any of those skills for which the candidate isn't clearly experimented And then, during the interview, we ask the candidate about it. Sample value: "Django? React?" => which would be completed with the answer during the interview. For candidates which have all three pre-requirements, we put "OK" in this column - this helps ensuring that we remembered to check (or to ask).

  • Comments: Meant to contain the explanation for the recruitment manager's decision.

  • The other fields are for the interview itself - see below.

Scheduling interviews

Emailing selected candidates

The recruitment manager assigned to the candidature sends an email to the candidates they have selected. We use a standard email template for the content of that email. Make sure to CC the recruitment@ mailing-list in your exchanges with candidates, to allow others to follow.

Scheduling through Calendly

We use Calendly to schedule interviews. Get an account from Xavier if you don't already have one, and setup a dedicated event for interviews:

  • Open for the week following the pre-selection
  • At times which allow a reasonable coverage of most timezones (the afternoon UTC time is usually good for that)
  • Make sure to keep the times narrow, to allow to batch the interviews - it's best for focus to not end up having them spread all over your days
  • Enable Calendar invitations, to automatically send Google Calendar invites
  • Link it to the OpenCraft Zoom account (to allow to host longer meetings), and enable the automated inclusion of a Zoom URL in the meeting invite

We need to record interviews to allow for later review by other team members. To ensure we don't forget to start the recording during the meeting, we enable the option ahead of time, in the scheduled meeting details. The setting for each individual scheduled meeting should look like this:

zoom_recording.png

Recording in the cloud offer the best/most reliable way to ensure the meeting will have been recorded.

To be able to keep the candidate's reactions visible in the recording, even when they are not talking, make sure to select "Record gallery view with shared screen" in your account settings:

zoom_recording_gallery.png

Interviews

Script

The interviews lasts 30 minutes, and we use a script. The script is private, to not demesurably advantage candidates who read the handbook ahead of the interview.

We don't necessarily say exactly and only the content of the script (we are not a call center ;p), but we try to stick to it, as the more similar it is across interviews, the better we are able to compare them with each other. This is especially true of the code exercise, where the way to explain it can influence significantly what the candidate will understand and how they will approach it.

Grading

During the interview, we progressively grade the candidate in the corresponding columns of the spreasheet, with a short comment on each. The rating is 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest. E.g. "5 - aced the exercise!".

Video recording upload

We then upload the video recording of the interview to our private file drive, using the 'Gallery view' file. Also add a link in the candidate's spreadsheet entry, in the dedicated column. This will allow other team members to review it.

Final selection of newcomers

  • The recruitment manager who interviewed the candidate takes a decision on whether to hire the candidate as a newcomer.
  • The recruitment manager assigned as a reviewer reviews the selection and interviews. A column in the spreadsheet indicates the name of the reviewer for each candidate, beside the assignee who evaluates the candidate.
  • The CEO does a second review of the interviewed candidates which both recruitment managers agreed to accept. If it looks like the candidate could be confirmed, the CEO meets the candidate for a second interview, to take a decision and to discuss contracting terms.
  • The recruitment managers send a rejection email to the candidates they have interviewed and who have been refused.