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To the Taro founders, how would you interview a candidate?

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Junior Software Engineer at Taro Community17 days ago

I'm curious since you now have the opportunity to design and interview candidates as you see fit, how would you design the interview for your next hire?

How many rounds?

Any takehomes?

how would you source your candidates?

what are things you would do to avoid doing the terrible interview practices companies usually do?

How would you interview a candidate for a backend role vs a frontend role?



  • 1
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    13 days ago

    We're a tiny company now, so we have the luxury of running custom interview loops and having literally everyone in the company meet a potential new candidate.

    This is hypothetical since we're not actively hiring at the moment, but up until 10 employees, I'd want everyone working at Taro to be a 1st or 2nd degree connection. These are people who we'd know personally for 6+ months (either pre-Taro days, or maybe someone from the Taro community).

    For these early candidates, honestly the interview process would be based on vibes. We probably already trust the candidate's competency based on their previous body of work or interaction. I like the idea of working together for 2-3 weeks (on a contract basis) so we can determine if we mutually like working together.

    Sourcing candidates and calibrating interviews across many interviewers is a big-company problem. I am happy to that when Taro gets to that size :)

    Probably no difference between a backend vs frontend role, since everyone does everything anyway :)

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 days ago

    I agree overall with what Rahul said, but here's something more concrete. For the first 5 engineers of Taro, I would structure the interview like this:

    • Strict resume review - I would only accept candidates with major side projects (10,000+ users) or ample experience at top companies (5+ years). Early employees need to be fiercely independent and strong owners at a seed stage startup, so I wouldn't hire L3/L4 unless they had an incredible side project. Engineers are loss-makers until they reach L5, which is why Meta forces engineers to get promoted to that level
    • Practical coding phone screen - 1 round and I make you code something from scratch (app, website, or API). Small startups need people who can actually code
    • Onsite:
      • Practical coding - Build another app/website/API live and with good code
      • Behavioral - Pretty normal but index heavily on passion for the mission
      • System design - I would do real system design, not fake "How would you build Netflix?"

    Some things I want to point out from all this:

    • I wouldn't do DSA as I couldn't care less about your LeetCode skills
    • Lots of practical coding as I need to know if they can code
    • System design to figure out their ability to spot edge-cases, make trade-offs, and just ship good products overall

    You can learn more about this from my job searching course with lessons like these: https://www.jointaro.com/course/ace-your-tech-interview-and-get-a-job-as-a-software-engineer/understanding-startup-interviews/

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