What It Takes to Be an Engineer at Box

[box] In this post, Ketki (one of our QA engineers) shares her thoughts on what our engineering team looks for in a prospective employee. While this is geared toward prospective engineers, anyone applying for a job at Box will benefit from reading through her advice.  [/box]

The final year of college is at once exciting and frightening—while at the top of the pecking order on campus, seniors must also consider what they want to do after graduation. If you plan on transitioning into the professional world, there are a myriad of great companies right here in northern California, and I think Box is among the best. Our team works hard and plays harder, as evidenced by Box’s successful product, rapidly growing customer base and awesome culture. We also strive to hire only the best and brightest engineers, which means our interview process is fairly stringent. Interviewers weigh candidates’ technical skills and cultural fit equally, so potential hires need to put their best foot forward during the interview process.

Looking to join the team? Here are some tips to help you prepare for your interview on-site at Box:

Be polite

Being respectful to everyone you interact with during the recruiting process is an easy way to increase your chances at a job offer. Since the most important trait we look for is the ability to work well with a team, being able to communicate with people in a positive way (even when providing constructive criticism) is extremely important. Whether it’s the recruiter, the receptionist or the hiring manager, the way you act towards the individuals you meet is a reflection of your personality – and will be discussed and shared amongst the interview panel before the final hiring decision is made. Your interview begins the moment you make contact with a Box employee, so don’t risk your chances by failing to be polite every step of the way.

Listen and ask questions

Don’t just answer questions during your interview. Remember to pay attention, too. Interviewers frequently walk out of interviews shaking their heads at a simple mistake both experienced and new candidates tend to make: not picking up on hints. For example, when working through a coding exercise, communicate your thought process to the interviewer by thinking out loud. If you start heading down the wrong path, a hiring manager or other interviewer will likely offer a hint to get you back on track. Listen for clues and take a moment to think them over. If you are hitting the nail on the head with your answer, chances are a hint wont been necessary. Additionally, many of the questions hiring managers ask are meant to elicit questions in response, so don’t be afraid to ask for clarification before answering. Asking questions not only shows that you’re a good listener, but that you’re able to identify when something isn’t clear and can take initiative to get it right.

Be honest

The catch-22 of resumes, cover letters and interviews is that you have to showcase your skills and talents without sounding arrogant. While you shouldn’t be afraid to highlight the experiences and qualities you posses, it’s crucial to only claim expertise about the things you actually know. Many times, candidates will rattle off programming languages or technologies that they are “proficient” in, even though they’re unable to answer simple questions about these topics. Be prepared to back up every line on your resume, every sentence in your cover letter and every statement in your interviews with evidence, because interviewers can and will ask for details. Bottom line: be real with your interviewers about what you do and do not know.

Don’t forget the basics

Be on time to your interview, smile and shake the hands of each person you meet, make eye contact and engage your interviewer, and most importantly, send the recruiter, hiring manager and any other interviewers a quick follow up email after your interview. This last step is crucial because to this day, it’s only practiced by a handful of candidates. Sending a note after your interview emphasizes your interest in the position and your enthusiasm about Box.

Remember, being invited on-site at Box means you likely have the skills, talent and personality we’re looking for; the final piece of the puzzle is put into place when you come to the office and meet potential co-workers and managers. We want people who are ambitious, intelligent and hard working, but also friendly and easy to work with. After all, if you get hired, we’re going to be seeing a lot of you! Highlight your potential as a future Box employee – and bring your A-game – by keeping these tips in mind. We look forward to seeing you in the office!

[box] Stay tuned for part 2 in the coming weeks, in which Ketki goes in depth about the technical aspects of the engineering interview process. [/box]