Personal Diaries (Alex) - The Interview

3 minute read

Alex Batoryk-Leliw

This is a personal look into the Countingup interview process and my experience.

Over two years of COVID-19 restrictions have really done a number on the state of many things in our lives, not least our working situations and interview processes. I could blog about that for days and not get through it all, but what I want to discuss today is my personal reflection of how I joined Countingup and the interview process.

My name is Alex, I just turned 27 and have been working as a Software Engineer since my university placement year. 2016 seems like a long time ago, Brexit, US elections and Turkish coups, interesting times! Throughout that period, I worked at a few companies of varying size and type; those of which can be easily found on my LinkedIn profile and I’ve been working at Countingup since the start of this year; around 4 months.

Enough backstory, I wanted to take this time as I found the interview experience to be of excellent quality. There isn’t one particular ‘wow’ factor I can come up with as to why, but if I was to summarise I would say simple things done well. Similarly to how good software should be written.

Due to the pandemic, all companies had to adapt, with varying success. A face-to-face interview turned into a ‘Zoom’ interview (although I’m indifferent to the generalised usage of the word Zoom - we use Google Meet) and no open offices meant it can be difficult to get a feel for the environment. Having said that, through the process, getting to converse with individuals with differing roles can help.

The interview process was straightforward and hit the areas of applying you’d expect without overwhelming. Cumulatively you spend perhaps 4 hours all together, although that was lengthened for me due to additional recruiter discussions. Which I think is more than reasonable. I like to think of it this way, if you spent 4 hours talking to someone at a party, you’d definitely be able to tell if you like them or not in that time.

Starting with the generic CV application, you’d expect to receive a phone call for the initial screening. You get to discuss the company, ask any questions and get a feel for each other. The conversation was very natural, it almost took me back to the ‘office tours’ you'd expect at an assessment centre.

The interview session is streamlined with an introduction chat about the company with up to three developers, followed by two pairing programming exercises. The way in which they run allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of various programming concepts whilst having the ability to ask questions, as you will do on the job. In essence it adequately simulates a ‘day in the life of’ scenario which I find to be fairly unique, and not the tenuous algorithmic exercises which teach us to cram for information we may only rarely see in the day-to-day; taking me back to A-levels.

All going well, you’ll have a further final chat about the company along with an offer of employment. The whole process for myself took less than 1.5 weeks and was a delight all the way through.

So a virtual round of applause for the Countingup team 👏. Job well done.