How Carousell Hires Engineers In Singapore
By Daniel Tay31-May-2017Views 10809

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In 2012, three National University of Singapore (NUS) students applied for - and landed - S$7000 in seed funding from the NUS Enterprise Innovation Practicum grant to pursue a simple idea: a mobile classifieds marketplace.

Fast forward to 2016, and the Carousell founders had just raised US$35 million in Series B funding. That's around S$49 million, and about 7000 times larger than the first tranche of cash that helped to kickstart the idea - evidence of how far they've come.

With more than 130 people across 17 nationalities, the team had to move to a bigger space - two floors! - as they ran out of space in their previous office.So what does it take to get chosen to join an engineering team building and supporting a world-class mobile app - one that has over 65 million listings? Read the rest of this article - the third in a series of posts that will uncover the hiring processes of leading technology companies in Singapore - to find out.

Interview process at Carousell

Like the other companies we've featured in this series, getting hired to join Carousell is extremely tough. According to Charlotte Lee, Carousell's Technology Recruiter, the hiring team brought on 21 technical hires in their product, data, and engineering team out of 1250 applicants last quarter, pegging the success rate at a minuscule 1.68%.A key reason for this is because Charlotte values both cultural and technical fit equally. There are instances, she recounts, where "candidates who are technically competent don't get shortlisted due to cultural misfit, and vice versa."

"We treat both as equally important because we know that just one wrong hire is sufficient to bring the entire team morale down, and we strive hard to not make that happen," she explains.

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In fact, Charlotte reveals that the hiring team has recently implemented a new recruitment process that emphasizes this:

Candidates will go through a Carousell Fit Questions & Coding Exercise before they proceed to a chat with the Recruiter. The final round will be an intense day of face-to-face interviews which cover technical and cultural aspects.

Carousell's interview questions

The aforementioned exercise comprises of an offline assignment that the candidate will work on - this will be used as a basis for technical discussion during the face-to-face interviews afterward.

"Depending on the candidate's solution, we will ask questions related to software design and framework choices, software engineering best practices, as well as live coding segments to modify parts of the code base," Charlotte elaborates.

The purpose of this, she adds, is to "simulate a real-world working experience akin to code and design reviews in a problem domain that the candidate is comfortable in after working on it during the coding challenge."

On the cultural front, here are the core values that Charlotte is looking out for in potential hires:

  • Relentlessly resourceful
  • Mission focused
  • Care deeply
  • Solve problems
  • Stay humble

Insider tips

When you meet Charlotte during the interview process, be prepared to answer scenario-based questions, which she loves to ask. This varies from candidate to candidate, but she finds it quite amusing when they get caught by surprise whenever she goes more in-depth with technical questions.

"It's as if they're thinking, this technology recruiter actually knows stuff?" she recalls. However, she actually thinks of herself as more of a "professional matchmaker."

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"As cheesy as it sounds, I always tell people […] I will ensure I am the connecting bridge to your dream job, and I will make that happen for you if you are the right one," Charlotte explains.

With that comes her final word of advice: "Just be yourself, and be genuinely passionate about Carousell."

Carousell is one of several leading technology companies hiring technical talent on 100offer's marketplace. Sign up for 100offer to see what opportunities there are in the market right now:

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Daniel Tay
Marketing manager at 100offer. Daniel spends most of his time reading and writing about tech, entrepreneurship, marketing, and psychology. Say hi to him on Twitter @legendt, or drop him an email at danieltay@100offer.com.sg.
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