Lithic's Hiring Process

25 June 2020

We recently opened a spot for a Software Engineer to join our team of four:

We have a standardized and honed hiring process, which we've published here so you know what to expect from start to finish.

First, the job ad will include a request for an answer to some general interest question. In the ad above, it is: "a paragraph about something interesting you learned recently and why it was interesting." If you go to the trouble of applying properly, you usually get a response back promptly.

Next, we'll schedule 30 minutes on the phone to chat about you, Lithic, and the role, all at a high level. We want to make sure we can provide what you're looking for in terms of experience, salary, and environment.

Assuming we're aligned, candidates who have less development experience will receive an additional step. This is a "code archaeology" assignment, where you get a cryptically written short function and are asked to explain what it does, and rewrite it. The assignment should take no more than 30 to 60 minutes (and is hopefully a lot of fun). It's very difficult to gauge where someone is at from the initial call, so this is a lightweight way to ensure you're at the level needed for the rest of the process.

Next, we'll schedule an hour pair programming session. This will be with one of our founders, and the exercise is building a small program in your language of choice, ideally via unit tests. We'll provide you a link and instructions so you can get set up ahead of time and not worry about technical difficulties during the interview. The session is meant to gauge where you are technically and see how you work and learn in a collaborative environment.

Finally, you'll interview with the rest of the team. This will include two or three technical interviews, and after each you'll get to talk with the interviewer about the company, role, and yourself. One of the technical interviews will be walking through a project you've done, ideally showing and explaining the code itself. The others will be more pair programming. There is no whiteboarding. Candidates for senior positions may have an architectural interview added as well.

Finally, if that's all good, we'll ask for references, figure out a start date, and draft a letter. We aim for about three weeks from initial application to offer letter.

Applying for a new job is a stressful experience no matter who you are. Our goal is to make sure you feel supported and treated with respect and dignity throughout.

Now, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and apply!

Update July 9, 2020: Added "code achaeology" step.

Lithic Tech was founded in Portland, Oregon by experienced software engineers with a track record of high-quality software, happy customers, and successful businesses. We believe this success is a result of our unique processes, patterns, and convictions.

We are now offering that expertise to the wider community to build better software and software teams. You can learn more about us, and we’d love if you got in touch.

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