Updated on 19 November 2021
Interviewing can be intimidating. We’re publishing this post, which explains how we interview, to help you as a candidate assess whether it’s worth interviewing with us, and to prepare yourself mentally for the conversations. We’d also like to help move the conversation around interviewing forward by sharing our process (and the thinking behind it).
If you’re planning to interview with us, we’d like you to know that no one is here to trip you up or trick you. We look for people with a particular mindset and all we want to find out is what you’re all about and how you could help us grow. For this reason, it’s really important to be honest with us and to be yourself.
We’re also all about improving this process and thinking about your experience. You’re interviewing us as much as we’re interviewing you, and therefore we’ve thought about this process with your time and energy in mind.
From your point of view, your odds of working with us will always go up when you apply for a job here. If this is direct rather than a hiring manager coming to you via LinkedIn or Hired, we will typically ask for a short summary and CV. The summary for us is to give us an idea of what you’re looking for, why you are interested in this role at LloydsDirect, and what you’re excited about. It is not about you proving to us that you have every skill or technology we might have mentioned in the job listing.
When it comes to your CV and what we look for in a candidate, we like people who are passionate about what they’re working on. Bring out what’s unique about you. Talk at length about your favourite project at your last job. If you're from another industry originally, we love hearing from people with different backgrounds. Bring out any transferable skills you have or anything that’s brought you to software engineering.
The first stage is the phone screen with a talent partner. The talent partner will describe the role and the business, find out what you’re looking for and outline the interview process.
This is a fairly informal chat with the hiring manager. The purpose of this call is for us to:
At the end of the call, we should both have a pretty good idea of whether it’s worth continuing to further interviews.
This usually takes the form of 15 minutes of the hiring manager explaining who we are and our journey, 15 minutes of questions we have for you and you have for us. For example, we might ask “If you're working on a brand new codebase, and you’ve got a ticket to work on, how do you go about working on it? What do you do if you get stuck?”
The 15 minute intro is intended to give you as much context about us as we can, but this is a great opportunity for you to ask whatever you want to know about how we work, what our business model is and what we expect from people working here.
At the end of this call you will be told when we intend to get back to you, usually within 1-3 working days.
If you and role seem to be a good match (exciting!), you’ll meet some of the team in two peer interviews. We can schedule both sessions back to back or arrange them to be on different days if this more convenient for you. We can be flexible with when this happens in the day, but we generally recommend that this takes place during the working day so that we’ll all be fresh and able to concentrate best.
There are two peer sessions, each with two people from LloydsDirect. We will put in a 5–10 minute break between the sessions to make sure you’ve got time to get yourself a drink, go to the bathroom or just have a bit of a breather. When in person, this was time that you would have had where interviewers would swap over, so we mimic this by spacing the calls apart.
In the first session, we’ll ask about your experience and how you work best. We will be asking you questions based on your CV, so it’s probably a good idea to review it and remind yourself what’s on there.
This session is typically with a data analyst, designer or a product manager, and we aim for both of those people to be from the team you're going to be in. This interview is mostly to understand whether you'd work well here at LloydsDirect and how it compares to teams you’ve been in previously.
The second session is a technical interview. This will be with two engineers with experience in a similar area to you, so might emphasise front-end or backend or other areas. Ahead of the interview, we will have asked you to prepare to talk us through some code or a project that you’ve worked on. This can be either a work thing if you’re able to talk about work codebases, a side project or something in open source you’ve worked on previously.
It doesn’t have to be the most technically complicated project, just something that you can talk about and explain. If you don’t have anything you can talk to us about, please let your hiring manager know. The intent here is to understand more about your technical skills and how you communicate with other engineers. Our engineers will ask you about why you made the choices you did or if you faced any particular challenges working with the code.
We find that if you bring in something that you know, this should give you a lot more confidence in your skill, knowledge and understanding of the project, which should enable you to shine a lot more as a candidate.
We don’t believe that whiteboard coding exercises represent a realistic work situation and the pressure of the moment doesn’t help bring out your actual strengths (apart from perhaps your ability to perform under pressure).
“Take home tests” are potentially more representative of actual work, but they feel too time consuming for us to warrant their use, and we understand you are typically working through multiple processes, which compounds the level of effort you need to put in.
We have thought about experimenting with coding exercises where you would be paired with an engineer to improve some code or to find bugs in a simulated codebase. The inherent challenge with this is the difficulty in creating a “simulated codebase” that suits all candidates.
After the interview, we’ll schedule in a 10 minute catch-up with your hiring manager or talent partner. This is purely to make sure that everything went smoothly, check if you have any feedback on our interview process or field any questions that weren’t answered. Previously in the office, this is the walking from the interview room to the door type chat, so this really is intended to be completely informal.
Finally, internally we will do a wash-up call immediately following the process to gather feedback on how everything went. We aim to get back to candidates within 1–3 working days.
...And that’s it! We’re not here to trick you, ask you to reverse a linked list on a whiteboard or spend 5 hours on a take home technical test. If this process sounds good to you, we’d love to hear from you!