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Interview Processes For Scaling Teams

Erik Barbara

Engineering Director at Duo Security

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Problem

I was tasked with growing my team from just two individuals to seven individuals over the course of a year. However, I faced a challenge as my technical interviewing process wasn't well defined and I was the only person in my team conducting technical interviews. I wanted to do a behavioral interview with candidates but it was awkward to transition from a technical interview into behavioral questions. My team needed to start taking ownership of our interviewing so that I could be freed up for behavioral interviewing and so new team members would have buy-in from their peers.

Actions taken

I couldn't just demand that my team members start technical interviewing. I wanted to have reliable results, so there were a few steps I took to set my team up for success. Firstly, I delegated to a junior engineer and told her I wanted her to own technical interviewing for our whole data engineering team. Next, I met with her to write down what we wanted each interview to include in terms of questions. The questions were divided into two - less difficult, phone interview questions and onsite interview questions. Then, I eased her into the process. Initially, I conducted an interview and she just observed. Afterward, we talked through how she would assess the candidate in order to calibrate with one another. Next, we both conducted the interview and calibrated together, and the third time she conducted the interview by herself. Once I was confident about her skills, I let her conduct the interviews by herself. I trusted her to make changes to the process and because I had confidence in her selecting good candidates. This allowed me to scale our interviewing and freed me up to do more behavioral interviewing.

Lessons learned

Having a clear owner is useful, as telling the engineer that she would own technical interviewing for the team empowered her and excited her. I was able to tell her why I was doing this and told her she was responsible for guarding quality in our team so she shouldn't feel bad about saying no to somebody. It's also important to have a consistent process so you can ensure every candidate is asked the same questions. This will also help to prevent biases.


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Erik Barbara

Engineering Director at Duo Security


Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingEngineering ManagementTechnical ExpertiseTechnical SkillsProgrammingCareer GrowthCareer Progression

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