Behind the Scenes from New Applicant to New Hire
Erica Licari, Former Senior Recruiter
After you hit "submit" on a job application, what really happens? At Viget, we take our candidates through seven steps. Learn more about them here.
If you’ve applied for a job before, you’ve probably wondered what’s going on behind the curtain after you hit the “submit” button. Our process is a little different for each position, and we try to customize things for every individual candidate, but in this article, I’m going to walk through what typically happens after you formally apply.
At Viget, our candidates typically go through a 7-step process before we make an offer. The rate at which we move through these steps varies. We’ve hired as quickly as two weeks. We sometimes take as long as a few months -- we’ve even had candidates go through our process at different points across several years. Overall, we’re deliberate in every stage, and try to get a sense of a candidate’s full self in order to make an informed decision.
Step 1: Reviewing Your Application
After you hit that submit button, your application comes right into the People Team’s email. (We’ve actually written about this before, if you’d like to take a peek!) From there, we reply with some quick logistical questions. If you haven’t received an email from us within two business days of submitting your application, check your spam folder. If, however, you still don’t have an email from us, it’s possible your application didn’t go through, so try reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you email back responses to our questions, we start reviewing your application! This is the typical stuff: do you have the relevant skills and experiences for the job? We ask all candidates to answer the following question when they apply: “In 500 words or fewer, tell us why your skills, experiences, and goals align with the position we’ve described.” We read each of these responses in detail, and look for applicants to tell us why they want to work at Viget and how their previous experience prepares them for the job. This is a great space to make a strong impression -- show us that you’re a solid communicator and that you actually want this specific job. This process overall takes between one and four business days.
Step 2: Phone Interview
If we decide to move ahead, the next step in our process is a phone interview with someone on the People Team. The goal in these calls is to get to know you a bit better in 30-45 minutes. We can usually take these calls outside of business hours if needed; we understand that candidates have obligations outside of interviews! We’ll ask you questions about your background, your previous projects, how you approach problem-solving, etc. Phone interviews aren’t perfect; we can’t get to know every single thing about you. If there’s something you really want us to know about you, please tell us! We use the information we get from the call to assess communication, collaboration, professionalism, and whether your career goals align with our needs. We also try to set aside at least 10 minutes for you to ask questions. After a phone screen, the People Team makes a recommendation and talks it over with the Managing Director for the position. This process can take about a week, as we are often considering several candidates at once. We hope to keep you updated along the way, but it could be a few days before you hear back from us while we work with the team and answer any questions they have.
Step 3: Homework
For most of our positions, we ask candidates to complete a homework assignment. Studies show that the best way to predict if someone will succeed at a job is to ask them to do a “work sample.” We’ll ask you to complete something on your own time (between 90 minutes and 6 hours) that gives you a sense of what the work is like and gives us an understanding of how you might approach solving problems at Viget. By asking candidates to all complete the same homework exercise, we have the ability to compare work samples directly, instead of trying to compare portfolios (which often feels like comparing apples to oranges). Once you’ve submitted your homework, we try to have an update out to you within 3 business days.
Step 4: Team Interview
If your homework submission impresses the team, we move ahead to another phone interview with a team member you’d work with day-to-day. Typically, this is with your would-be Manager, so it’s a great opportunity to ask them questions about career development at Viget. Some of these interviews are follow-ups on your homework. For those, the interviewer will ask you questions about your submission, maybe give you feedback, and maybe even iterate on new ideas. The other format is an interactive session on new information. You could be working through a new codebase together, or walking your interviewers through a relevant project.
These interviews are designed to be a “homework 2.0.” We hope to have a more complete picture of your aptitude for the job before bringing you in for an in-person interview. After your second phone interview, your interviewer(s) collect their thoughts and submit feedback to the People Team. The People Team and the Managing Director review that feedback together before deciding whether or not to keep moving forward. All in all, that process typically takes between 2 and 4 business days.
Step 5: In-Person Interview
This is the most exciting part of our interview process. We bring you into one of our three offices to meet with the team. We make sure you meet with people who would be in your Lab (discipline-specific team), peers outside of your Lab (cross-functional people you might work with on client projects), a lunch interview (to give you a more informal opportunity to ask about day to day life at Viget), and our co-founders. Every interview day also has at least one interactive interview or presentation that you’ll need to prep for in advance. We try to get you info about that exercise at least 3 days ahead of time so that you have the opportunity to prepare. Interview days typically last between 4 and 6 hours and involve a lot of different people, and in order to make this happen, we usually schedule them out around a week in advance. As with other parts of our process, we want to make the interview day work for candidates. If it’s easier to break the longer interview day up into two (or even three) shorter blocks of time, we can make that work. The hope with these interview days is to make sure both Viget and the candidate have the right information to make a decision. The People Team spends the next day collecting and corralling feedback, and helping the Managing Director make a decision.
Step 6: Reference Checks
If the in-person interview goes well and the feedback from the team is positive, we’ll reach out to your references. When you come in for an in-person interview, we ask you to provide three references. We’re looking for folks that you’ve worked closely with who can give us context on what working with you is actually like. We’ve gotten to know you better while interviewing you, but your references can provide details and insights about working with you over time. We ask references to confirm aspects of your work history and shed light on when and how you’ve grown in your career. We try to get all these reference checks done within two business days of your interview, but we’re often working at the pace of your references. If you’re in active job search, it’s a good idea to give your references a heads up that they might be contacted.
Step 7: Offer
If everything checks out with your references, we’ll likely make you an offer to join Viget. The day we decide to make an offer goes a little something like this (for me, at least). We’ll call you, walk you through the offer letter and our benefits, and then cross our fingers that you’ll want to join us at Viget, too.
The seven steps of our process are designed to give us a clear picture of who you are as a candidate, and, hopefully, give you a clear picture of who we are at Viget. We know this process is a time investment for candidates, which we truly appreciate. Growth at Viget is deliberate, so when we get to Step Seven, we’re confident that a candidate is the best person to join our team. I hope you’ll consider joining us -- we’re hiring!