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How we hire – part 1

Depending on when you read this blog, we may well be hiring – please check our jobs page for the latest vacancies.

Recruitment and hiring is a subject close to my heart. I recently had an interview published where I talk about this, but I wanted to share some of our recommendations and experiences on this blog.

This post will give an overview of our process; subsequent posts in the series will go in to more detail on some of the sections, for example writing good job adverts and what happens at the face-to-face interview.

Eagle’s hiring process consists of the following stages:

  • advertise job and pre-screen CVs
  • informal phone call to see if there’s a potential match (half an hour)
  • technical test, done in the candidate’s own time (shouldn’t take more than two hours)
  • on-site interview (usually lasts for less than two hours)
  • offer

Advertising and tracking applications

We advertise in a number of places, including LinkedIn, Eagle’s social media feeds, and some industry-specific websites and feeds. For actually hosting the advert and managing applications, we use Workable. It’s a great service which keeps track of applicants as they progress through the interview process. Recently Workable has added a number of features that help with scoring people during interviews.

General guidelines

We have a few general guidelines in place to cover the whole of the interview process, to ensure consistency and that we hire the right people. They are:

Review applications as soon as they come in, and if necessary start setting up interviews immediately. Waiting for some arbitrary closing date risks losing good candidates.

Phone interview first. This should be short (20-30 minutes) and include some general background, and a few technical questions. The only point of the phone interview is to see if we want to invite the person for a face-to-face interview.

Hire for potential not for experience. It’s better to hire people who are open to learning new skills, working in a changing environment, and helping to shape the future of the company. If someone meets these criteria but is lacking in certain experience, they shouldn’t be discounted. That said, people do need to have a reasonable technical background for the role for which they are being interviewed.

Be as objective as possible. Every person is different, so we need to try hard to avoid any potential unconscious bias. For example, we ask the same questions to all candidates, and score each answer (poor, good or outstanding). Also, we generally have three people on the interview panel to reduce the chance of one person’s opinon holding sway.

After the phone interview, if the person has scored well enough, we invite them for a face-to-face interview. On average about half of the people we phone interview progress to the face-to-face interview stage. That will be covered in detail in a future post in this series.

Coming soon:

About Glenn Proctor
As VP of Software Development, Glenn is responsible for ensuring that Eagle delivers great software to our customers. During Glenn’s tenure at Eagle, he has set the technological direction of the company and spearheaded the implementation of the company’s flagship software product. Glenn oversees Eagle’s software development and works with leading customers to define, implement and deliver solutions. Glenn previously led the software development of Ensembl at the European Bioinformatics Institute. Prior to that, Glenn explored business applications in areas as diverse as artificial life technologies, mobile phone capacity planning and games.
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