Interviewing at Human Made

At Human Made we interview a lot of people. We always have open roles and our hiring managers interview people from all over the world. If you are applying to the company we want to make sure that you are set up for success within an interview scenario. 

The hiring process is a two-way street where both applicants and hiring managers need to prepare to engage with each other and give thoughtful responses. The way that a candidate engages with the hiring process is a good indication of how future interactions between  a candidate and our teams might turn out, so we pay close attention to traits that are in line with our company values.

To ensure you are equipped with the key information you need to succeed at a video interview with Human Made (or anywhere else), I have collected some of our hiring manager’s suggestions in one place.

Research Human Made and our People  

Human Made has its roots in open source and a lot of information about the company and our people is available on the internet. We value people who are self-driven and curious.  If you want to join  our team you should also be driven by curiosity. You can do this by showing your understanding of HM. Siobhan McKeown, our VP of People and Culture, has stressed the importance of researching Human Made. In her words: “there is so much information about HM on the internet and it really shows if you haven’t done your research.” A quick Google search (e.g. our Handbook, our Blog) will do the trick: you’ll quickly find everything you need to know about HM to be successful.

Practice Active Listening

You will increase your chances of success by taking the time to listen to the questions. We have had interviews where candidates, due to the excitement and nervousness that comes with being interviewed, blurt out everything at once, while leaving very little room for the interview to progress at a reasonable pace. Matt Haines-Young, one of our Engineering Managers in the EMEA region, reminds candidates that there’s plenty of time, so thinking through what’s being asked signals you are being thoughtful and attentive: remember that in many situations in life, quality is more highly regarded than quantity. 

Ask Questions! And Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Clarification

Speaking up and asking questions is really important in a remote company. You don’t have someone sitting beside you at work who might see if you are confused or struggling, and so we rely on good communication and people being upfront about when they need help. So in video interviews we really care that you display willingness to ask questions or ask for clarity. Our most successful interviews take place with individuals who are highly curious and open-minded, and who are truly interested in learning about their prospective team, manager and role.

It’s also worth remembering that Human Made is a fully-remote, international company. We have team members around the world, and many of our team members have accents, slang, and cultural expressions that you might not be familiar with. You will experience these within your interview context. If you don’t understand something, ask! We can only create positive team dynamics if messages are communicated clearly, and it is the responsibility of the whole team to make sure that they have understood clearly. You will never be penalised for asking a question, but you might disadvantage yourself by not asking one. 

Be specific

We seek individuals who are problem solvers. This means that when we conduct interviews we are looking for candidates who offer concrete subject-matter solutions. An interviewer might ask about specific scenarios where they’d like to understand your thought process. If the ball is in your court, make sure you strike back with a viable solution. We always appreciate simplicity, so a good way to go about this is to always figure out a solution or strategy that takes the least steps, time and resources. 

Learn about our Product and Agency offering

We are a tech company, and so many of the candidates who make the final cut have shown a unique interest in developing a career in tech and web development. You don’t need to be from a tech background already, but you should be interested in technology and demonstrate an enthusiasm and ability to learn about our products and services. As Ant Miller, our former Director of Accounts said:  “we do need to have staff who can (potentially over time) build up a strong understanding of how our technical solutions deliver quality, and how our delivery processes ensure value. This means that we need to see people who are used to working with well-managed complex delivery engagements, and who have an aptitude for picking up a functional understanding of complex technology.”

Technical issues: Anticipate and Prepare in Advance

Everyone at Human Made works from different locations and time zones. Some of your interviewers may be working from a distant time zone and booking meetings across locations can be challenging. We want to make the most of the time we have to chat with candidates, as it’s already difficult to overlap availability among our interviewers.  

We understand the challenges that come with remote work, especially when hiring in regions where telecom infrastructure might have been laid out with specific restrictions or with limited access. Yet, it is important to point out that as a remote-first company, we need all our employees to have access to good and stable internet connection; if there is poor local infrastructure that limits your ability to do work, this could affect your final hiring decision (nb: as part of our benefits, HM will cover the cost of your internet connection). 

We kindly ask you that if you are joining a video interview with our hiring team you make the time to set up a space that allows for the call to take place uninterrupted. 

Here are some things you can do in advance (the day before preferably) to prevent technical issues from arising in the middle of the call: 

  1. Check that the internet connection is stable and robust to keep streaming video. This is important, as we conduct many company and client meetings over Zoom and have a preference for video. This allows everyone to get a visual idea of who you are and your mannerisms since we rarely get to see each other in person. 
  2. Go to a quiet space where no external sounds will be heard by your interviewers. We recommend a closed-up room, with good lighting and the doors and windows shut, so no street or open space noise interferes with communication while you’re on the call. Except in unique circumstances, you shouldn’t interview from a cafe or other public space. If you do have to please let us know in advance. 
  3. If you’re using your computer or device’s built-in audio system, please do a test run and make sure that both the mic and speakers work properly in preparation for the call. A good way to do this is by checking your system audio settings and testing each device separately (normally the sound bar will show up green if they are both working well).
  4. Likewise, if you’re using a headset or earbuds, test them in advance, and make sure that they are charged to full battery so the call won’t disconnect before time.
  5. Whether you are using your computer’s built-in webcam or an external one, we recommend you test them first and if necessary, to run a quick calibration so colours and image come through sharp and clear.

Remember, though, that we work on the internet and we’re familiar with all of the technical issues that can happen. If your internet collapses during the call or your laptop decides to update all of a sudden, don’t panic – we will be understanding!

Other things you can do

  • Help yourself with some meditation to get you in the right headspace before joining the call. We want you to feel relaxed and confident, and even though you may not be able to help feeling nervous, doing something that can ease your mood can positively affect how you conduct yourself throughout the interview. Also, remember that everyone who is interviewing you has themselves been interviewed –we are all familiar with interview nerves and they don’t usually impact a final decision.
  • Write down your most important ideas prior to the interview so you can practice what you’d like to say and provide concise answers to help you stay on topic. 
  • Get a close friend or mentor to bounce ideas off about the interview. The people closest to you are the ones you can trust with providing sincere feedback, and who are unafraid to bring up the areas you could be better at. This really can help you predict the quality of your interview experience, while you are also taking in constructive advice from people that really care about you. 

And give yourself a pat on the back! If you’ve made it this far it means that we like you and that we hope these last steps lead to you joining the company. And as usual, keep checking in with us on our career site for new opportunities if you’re still looking to join Human Made