Recruiting

We aim to build a world-class team. This page goes through processes for internal teams and candidates to help support that goal.

Jobs and boards

We use Greenhouse to host all jobs and manage our recruiting and interview process. All team members are welcome to participate, and will be asked to play different roles for different positions. Our open jobs are listed on our job board.

General factors we’re looking for

At a high level, we value teammates with intelligence, integrity, and strong work ethic. These traits should be looked for during the interview process. In addition, there are specific factors relevant to all candidates applying to Synura:

  1. Alignment - clear what candidate is looking for and that it aligns with what we need
  2. Domain experience - SaaS software, new product launches, startup companies. Note: focus on stronger of resume / LI Profile, recognizing that different people put emphasis on different mediums.
  3. Tech expertise - web technologies, agile stack
  4. Leadership - have a player / coach mentality. Want to contribute by doing and by helping others.
  5. Communication - concise, clear, and able to cite specifics. They write and communicate well, and avoid glaring errors. Note that we make affordances for challenges commonly faced by non-native speakers. For example, issues that spell check can catch should be a red flag, but more subtle grammatical or phrasing that may seem awkward to a native speaker should not.

Each job may have other specific requirements that will be kept in the job description or scorecards within Greenhouse.

Hiring process steps

We have a series of steps we take everyone through in the hiring process. Proceeding to the next step is contingent upon success in the previous one.

1. Initial introduction call

This is a 25m call where we will explain the company and where we’re at, and you can talk a bit about your history and what you’re looking for next. We’ll answer any questions you have and make sure everything is clear and that we’re both interested in proceeding.

2. Resume deep dive

The hiring manager or a peer leads the Resume deep dive, and sometimes there is another teammate who shadows the interview. It takes 50-minutes to complete, and you must be focused.

A resume deep dive (often referred to as a “Topgrade Interview”) is an interview style where we take a deep dive into a candidate’s background, past to present. The goal of a resume deep dive is to uncover the motivation behind a candidate’s decision making, as well as their strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments in past roles. The questions below are examples of what to expect, and do not necessarily represent all the questions we will be asking.

Example questions:

  • How did you find your job?
  • Why did you choose to accept it? Who hired you?
  • What was your day to day like?
  • Was this a step up from your previous role? If so, how? If not, why?
  • What would your former boss say were your strengths and opportunities?
  • What would your peers say about you?
  • What did you like most and least about your job?
  • What are you most proud of accomplishing while in your job?
  • Why did you leave?

3. Technical interview (if applicable)

This interview goes into the technical details of the role at hand, so varies between engineering, design, or other responsibilities.

Engineering technical interview process

  1. Coding challenge - 2-3 hour exercise to demonstrate your strengths
  2. Technical interview - 50 minutes with CTO or appropriate technical resource

Designer technical interview process

  1. UX team Interview - 40 minutes with a representative of the UX team
  2. Competency based interview - 50 minutes with Product Manager or submission of the UX case study challenge (document TBD).

4. CEO interview

Before your CEO interview, please be sure to read through our direction page. The CEO interview tends to be fast-paced and values succinct answers. There’s a lot to get through in a short amount of time, and the best interviews allow for follow up questions on your initial responses. Here are the some of the questions that will likely be asked; you’re also welcome to ask me similar questions:

  1. How would you introduce Synura to a new prospective customer, colleague, or friend?
  2. Lets discuss our company direction.
    1. What aspects of it excite you most?
    2. Are there areas that you see as potential concerns?
    3. What do you think will be some challenges we will face in the next 6-12 months and what are your thoughts on how to address them?
    4. Please share some thoughts about challenges pertinent both to our company as a whole and to your role in particular.
  3. Tell me about a complex, early-stage project that you worked on. What made it challenging? How did you approach it? How does it exemplify how you approach your work?
  4. What is your philosophy on prioritization, focusing on what’s important, and preventing yourself from getting blocked (and unblocking yourself when it sometimes happen anyway?)
  5. What’s your experience with remote and async work? What are some of the practices you’ve developed to be effective? What practices from the company have you experienced that were helpful or detrimental?
  6. Tell me about a colleague with whom you’ve worked in the past who you thought was truly exceptional. What qualities or practices did they demonstrate? In what ways are you similar to them, and in what ways are you different?
  7. Please consider the best and next best teams you’ve worked with. How would you characterize them? What did they have in common, and what distinguished the best from its next counterpart?
  8. What are you looking for in a CEO?
  9. What questions do you have for me?

Note that this is not necessarily exhaustive. We may also explore specific questions that arose from my review of your experience, your fit with Synura, or follow-ups from previous rounds of interviews.

Advice on how to interview well with the CEO

Here are some tips on how to have a good interview with the CEO:

  • Be concise. Answer directly and specifically; let him ask follow ups as necessary.
  • Be willing to ask for clarification if needed.
  • Be honest and straightforward. Don’t try to spin or obfuscate, even if he probes in areas you’re not proud of.

5. References

We request 5 references before making an offer, of which we will speak with at least 3. This helps us learn more about you from those who have worked with you closely. In addition to the obvious benefit of helping us assess what you can bring to the team and gain context on who you are as a person, it also helps set the stage for a productive working relationship with you because we can ask advice on how best to support your success once onboard.

We would like to talk with a current or former colleague from each of these categories. An individual from each of the first three categories is required, and the fourth if you’re interviewing for a supervisory role.

  1. Your direct (or formerly direct) supervisor - someone responsible for or who oversaw your work
  2. A peer in the same role as you - someone who did similar work to you
  3. A cross-functional partner or customer - someone who was a consumer of your work
  4. Someone you’ve supervised, if you’re applying for a management position
  5. Someone else of your choosing

We encourage you to share people who have worked with you closely and know your capabilities well. We also encourage you to ask them to be candid so we can get to understand who you are and what you can bring to the team. We have a reference script (document TBD) that we use, but do not share in advance because we want candid and spontaneous responses.

6. Investor interview (when applicable)

Some candidates will be required or interested to meet with our investor. Before sending interview invitations, it’s important to prepare a summary doc with relevant information (template TBD). The interview doc is internal and should not be shared with the candidate.

Note for Candidates We recommend you prepare for your conversation with our investor. Our investor is Open Core Ventures. You can browse the GitLab CEO Handbook page and in particular review the pointers from his direct reports and context on how he conducts interviews.

Our advice on how to interview with our own CEO also applies.

Notes for Synura team Use the procedure below when scheduling on your calendar directly or on behalf of someone else:

  • Create a separate Google doc for each interviewee
  • Add a link to the doc from your calendar invite

Include in the doc:

  • Candidate’s name and current title
  • Candidate’s email address
  • Link to candidate’s LinkedIn profile
  • Link to Synura’s reference check
  • Summary of any particular points to address or known flags to probe on.

7. Offer

We use Pave to benchmark compensation generally, but as per our job listings the offer will depend on a number of factors:

The actual offer, reflecting the total compensation package and benefits, will be at the company’s sole discretion and determined by a myriad of factors, including, but not limited to, years of experience, depth of experience, and other relevant business considerations. The company also reserves the right to amend or modify employee perks and benefits.

Offers should be delivered verbally, then with an email attaching a signed offer letter (template document TBD), and then with a legal contract. Some team members join us through an agency, in which case the details are worked out in the conversation with their agency. For independent, full-time team members, use this offer template and script (document TBD).

To trigger an offer process, use the following forms:

After compensation has been determined, create two documents for the candidate:

  • “Exit scenarios” spreadsheet (possible outcomes if the company has an exit)
  • “Informal offer email” template.

If you need these templates, reach out to People Ops on Slack, and they will provide you links that automatically create copies. Change the name of the documents accordingly (e.g., “[candidate’s name]’s copy of exit scenarios,") and link to the exit scenarios spreadsheet from the offer email.

  1. Prepare the informal offer email. You’ll need to add the following information to the template:
    • Candidate’s name and email address
    • Candidate’s start date
    • Candidate’s compensation
    • Candidate’s reporting manager
    • Equity offered to the candidate (make this information a link to the candidate’s exit scenarios spreadsheet)
    • Benefits (determined by the candidate’s location)
  2. Prepare the exit scenarios spreadsheet. Enter the percentage of equity offered to the candidate, and the spreadsheet will update to reflect this. Note: Don’t play with numbers in the exit scenarios spreadsheet. The revision history is visible to the candidate, and they might misunderstand.
  3. Once both documents are complete, share the offer email draft, exit scenarios copy, and a link to the compensation decision, with People Ops for confirmation.
  4. After People Ops confirms that everything is correct, CEO or CTO will send the offer email. The offer email is copied directly from Google drive and sent to the candidate. When they send the offer, CEO or CTO will edit the permissions of the exit scenarios sheet and share with the candidate. Note: When hiring an international employee, Pilot.co recommends starting the hiring process a month before the new employee’s start date.

Candidate frequently asked questions

Here are frequently asked questions and our answers:

  1. What’s is your funding situation?
    1. We’re funded by a single investor through a SAFE and not expecting revenue immediately. Our goal is to demonstrate product market fit through growth and paying customers, and then start raising again around the beginning of summer 2023.
    2. Our investor is Open Core Ventures, led by Sid Sijbrandij, the founder and CEO of GitLab. He has built a successful all-remote company that provides an end-to-end platform in a market full of fragmented solutions. In addition to funding, he provides advice and relationships to help us learn from and build upon GitLab’s success.
  2. What’s your stance on remote work?
    1. We’re committed to being an all-remote company with no offices. We think this yields better results: it will build a culturally diverse workforce necessary to operate in cities around the world, offers great advantages to employees like control over personal time and no commute, and is much more productive than semi-remote environments that disadvantage remote employees over those at headquarters.
    2. This does take an investment in the process to make work, for example: good hygiene around documented communications, a handbook that’s operationally useful and gets contribution from the whole company, and team social chats – agendaless meetings just for socializing. These are good practices anyway, but many companies don’t invest sufficiently because so much of their process evolves informally.
  3. How many teammates are you?
    1. Our current team is listed on our about page.
  4. What do you do and where are you headed?
    1. Check out our direction page for answers to this question.
  5. What’s the compensation range?
    1. We aim to pay at the 50th percentile of the local market in which we’re hiring. We factor in the role, seniority, and location. Your exact compensation amount will be based on your experience level and market conditions. Some references we use to calibrate on market rates are reports from Pave, Birches Group, Payscale.com, Glass Door, Salary.com, and Blind.
  6. Have you specified growth targets and timelines? How well are you doing against those goals?
    1. Please see details on our direction page
    2. Please see progress against top-line goals from our latest “Progress Update” from our YouTube Playlists.

Tips for a successful interview

Arrive on time For all of our the interviews we try to be respectful of your time by keeping them as short and focused as possible. Arriving late means we won’t have enough time to complete the interview. Either arrive on time, or if you know you’ll be late reach out ahead of time to reschedule.

Test your tech in advance There’s nothing worse than having technical difficulties during an important call. That’s why it is important to get familiar with Zoom before your interview.

  • To begin, download the app to your phone or desktop ahead of time. If you’ve never used Zoom before, familiarize yourself with the quick start-up guide for new users. See bandwidth requirements
  • Once you have downloaded the Zoom app, take a moment to start your own private meeting to get familiar with the interface and features.
  • You can take your test one step further by recording yourself and watching it to find areas of improvement.
  • Ensure that you have a stable internet connection. Use an ethernet cable if necessary. You can check your bandwidth through SpeedTest or Bandwidth Place
  • Test out your sound. Use headphones to hear clearly and to block outside noise.

Internal referral incentive program for software engineers

Synura is offering a referral bonus to team members who refer a software engineer that we decide to hire. If you know someone who you think would be a good fit for a position at our company, feel free to refer them. If we end up hiring your referred candidate, you are eligible for $500 referral bonus. Additional rules for rewards:

  1. There is no cap on the number of referrals an employee can make. All rewards will be paid accordingly.
  2. If two or more employees refer the same candidate, only the first referrer will receive their referral rewards.
  3. Referrers are still eligible for rewards even if a candidate is hired at a later time or gets hired for another position.
  4. Reward will be paid 6 weeks after the candidate starts at the company and is in good standing

Process for recording candidate scores

Each team member should enter their feedback into Greenhouse, without discussing it first with others. Then we will use 10-15 minutes at the next Strategy call to discuss the feedback synchronously. In general:

  • All team members who participate in the interview process should have Greenhouse accounts and be added as Interviewer to the role for which they are evaluating candidates.
  • All feedback must be added as a Scorecard at the end. Reviewer should note observed strengths, any surfaced concerns, and (if appropriate) any open questions. Cite specifics in order to help with your memory and help the manager and other team members interpret your feedback.
  • All Scorecards are summarized with a 4-point rubric, interpreted as follows:
    • Definitely Not - Based on this interaction there were serious cultural or behavioral red flags that were surfaced. Scorecard should articulate what those were. This could also be used to indicate that there was no evidence that the candidate had the necessary skillset; however, hopefully these situations are screened out prior to the candidate having an interview.
    • No - Based on this interaction, Reviewer would recommend not proceeding. Usually this indicates that the reviewer did not end with a sense of confidence that the candidate demonstrated the necessary skill. If the candidate did not convince you, this is the option to choose.
    • Yes - Reviewer felt confident that candidate can do the job and will be a good addition to the team. Candidate actively demonstrated skill and will to perform. Reviewer must cite specifics in order to use this; however, there may still be open questions or red flags that are communicated and can be followed up on by others.
    • Strong Yes - Reviewer was very impressed and has specific reason to believe that this candidate had the necessary skill and will to perform more than what’s being asked in the role, and seemed exceptional relative to other candidates. Reviewer is excited about adding this candidate to the team.
  • It is recommended that after each round and all scorecards are complete, all reviewers meet synchronously for a few minutes with the manager to provide color and context and Q&A about their responses.

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