April 12, 2024

Birdie Voices: How we hire engineers humanely at Birdie

Table of contents

By Greg Cann, Staff Engineer at Birdie

The hiring process at Birdie is deeply rooted in first recognising each candidate's unique values and potential. Unlike traditional hiring methods, which can focus narrowly on technical abilities or past achievements, we strive to understand the whole person. This approach is inspired by the insights shared by Daniel Coyle in "The Culture Code," where the emphasis is on creating environments that foster successful collaboration and growth.

“Great group chemistry isn’t luck; it’s about sending super-clear, continuous signals: we share a future, you have a voice."

We believe that understanding a candidate's values is as important as assessing their technical skills - if not more so. That’s why interview process mirrors our values at Birdie! These values inform how we interact with each other, make decisions, and approach challenges. By first aligning with candidates who share our core values, we ensure a cohesive team dynamic and a thriving workplace environment later down the line - crucial not only for the individual's success within the team but also for the overall health and progress of our organisation. 

We understand that the interview process can be stressful. To help mitigate this, we engage in relaxed conversations that allow candidates to express what matters most to them, and their expectations from a new working environment. These discussions then provide invaluable insights that help both parties understand the potential cultural fit. 

We allow candidates time to gather their thoughts, and explain the process upfront, allowing the candidate ample time to think and explore as we progress.

Throughout the hiring process, we also reinforce our commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive workplace. Moving beyond traditional technical interviews, our hiring process incorporates pair programming exercises to evaluate candidates' skills. This method reflects our belief, supported by findings from North Carolina State University, that traditional interviews often fail to accurately gauge a candidate's coding abilities and problem-solving skills.

Research has shown that conventional technical interviews tend to assess a candidate's performance under anxiety rather than their actual technical competence. During the interview for an engineering role at Birdie, Candidates work alongside a current team member to tackle a problem together. This setup not only provides insights into their technical abilities but also offers a glimpse into their communication skills, ability to collaborate, and problem-solving approach in a more natural and less stressful environment. We allow the candidate to stop and raise their hand and work with them, rather than against them.

At Birdie, our hiring process is more than a series of interviews—it’s the foundation of a thriving community. By focusing on values, reducing stress, and embracing collaborative problem-solving, we not only identify individuals with the right skills but also those who will enrich our culture and contribute to our collective success. Together, we’re not just building products; we’re crafting a future where everyone feels they belong and can excel.

So far we have gotten praise from those we interviewed on this process: they find it fair and engaging. Knowing what the expectations are gives them the best opportunity to succeed, and understanding the company they are joining, it is important to us that interviewing is as an enjoyable and encouraging experience as possible, so we designed a process which supports this.

Want to work alongside Greg and the team at Birdie? Check out our open roles here:


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