Hiring at Ponicode: Behind The Scenes

A lot can happen before pressing the “Apply now” or “Join us” button on a job offer and there are a thousand thoughts coming through our minds: “what’s management like?” “will I fit in this team” “is the job really interesting” and so on. 

Beyond the inevitable self introspection, we also want to show that despite being a small startup, we have well established human resources (HR) processes. We may not have dedicated roles within the team to fulfill the HR traditional job yet, but quite a few team members are deeply involved in the hiring & onboarding processes. In addition, we have written what we call the Ponicode Playbook, a document where everything is written down from the startup vision to the detailed explanation of how we work in teams, how to welcome a new team member, etc. 

So, to answer all of your questions, we decided to come clean and tell you what to expect once you push that button. Ready for a deep dive in the interview & onboarding process of a crazy team like ours? Let’s go!

Because we want this article to be a comprehensive immersion in the Ponicode process, this might be a bit long. If you want the shorter version you can skip to the summary at the end.    

Let’s start with a complete tour of the interview process:

Round 1 with our CTO

This is hardly unusual, once your resume gets our attention we will simply invite you to a first chat with our CTO. This aims to make sure that you’re in the right place, because we are not just looking for candidates but for people who will work well in our team ;) 

During this first casual interview, our CTO will want to know about your ambitions and motivations for joining our little unicorn and make sure that we could be a good fit for you. 

The Test 

If both parties feel like this could be a match, the next step is to take our test. 

For data scientists, you have 3 days to solve it and get back to us. Regarding software developers, it is a three and a half hour test. You can of course take it where you want, you don’t have to come to our offices at that stage — or any stage really as we are being very flexible especially given the current health situation, you can undergo our full process remotely if you wish. 

Once you have taken and finished your test we will schedule a debrief interview with one of our data science or software engineering experts who will discuss your test with you. The goal here is not to look at the results but rather to pay attention to how you did it and what choices you made. It allows our team to assess your technical skills but also your way of thinking. This is the chance to motivate your choices and show our team what you are capable of. Our selection criteria is not just whether you are right or wrong but rather how you do things differently or choose to proceed another way. Surprise us! 

This interview can last up to an hour and a half and it is also an opportunity for you to express your wishes when joining Ponicode: which part would you like to work on, what are the challenges that particularly appeal to you. It is of course the perfect time to ask all your questions about the tech we use, the product we are building in general and how our teams work. Feel free to ask anything you are unsure about, curious to know more about or you didn’t understand, we are happy to answer! 

The Fit Interview

At Ponicode, we are not just looking for skills but for people able to build the startup success we are aiming to become. This interview is designed to determine if you can fit in our company culture and it is important to us because first we want you to be in a good place: doing the job you signed up for and more importantly that you really want to do. Secondly, because it is only with motivated and passionate people that we will be able to bring Ponicode to the next level. 

What you need to know for this interview is that Ponicode started when no one thought it would actually work. The technology was nonexistent and a breakthrough seemed impossible. But founders have a warrior mindset and always remain positive; impossible is not part of our unicorn’s vocabulary. This is the kind of spirit we are looking for, people who are willing to rise up to the challenge instead of giving up. 

We are building the future core team of Ponicode. This means having an entrepreneur mindset is a huge asset to get in the team and you will feel right where you belong! 

The real test… 

Just joking. Once you pass, we will invite you to meet the whole team, yes that’s right it’s a bit scary. No particular expectations on our side, showing you the environment you will be evolving in is important to us. Whether you are available for a casual lunch with the team or a coffee break, you will have a shot at meeting everyone and have an outlook of where and how we work as well as the atmosphere. 

Meeting with a professional coach

If you still didn’t believe us when we told you that our ambition is to build the right team made of the right people to lead the startup to success, well now you should. 

One of Ponicode’s culture key pillars is what we call co-responsibility. If this sounds weird to you, we have written an article on the topic that will help explain the concept. To sum it up, it is the belief that each member on the team is key to Ponicode success; that implies raising awareness and empowering everyone in order for them to play the decisive role they are meant to. This applies to every Ponicode team member. 

Working alongside a professional in human resources with a clinical psychologist background virtually enables talent management which relies on individuals skills & assets  and brings complementarity connections within the team. How is it done? Simple, you will have to take a short personal test and then discuss the outcome with our coach. It is a privileged time to share how you can optimize teamwork and your place inside the group. It is also a moment to learn maybe something new about yourself 😊

We are not expecting anything from you at this stage, this is as much a step for you as it is for us. We just want you to feel like you belong in the team and that you have all the cards in hand to join the game. Be yourself! 

In the big boss office 

The final step is a one-on-one meeting with our co-founder & CEO Patrick. He embodies Ponicode and is the opposite of the typical bossy chief, so no worries! 

Patrick is the kind of boss who believes, says and repeats that a good leader is not the one who makes the call but the one who makes sure to enable his team to make them. He will definitely push you to give your best and be the autonomous, independent out-of-the-box thinker!

This is the time to hear the startup vision in his own words, catch up on a little history because obviously he’s been there the whole time and even learn more about his previous startups. 

This is also the perfect time to bring any question you might have about Ponicode's evolution, your own expectations and ambitions but also the right time to discuss opportunities and salary if you’d like. 

Ok nice. What happens next? 

Once you are officially part of the team, our goal is to make sure you feel comfortable in your new work environment! 

A buddy will be assigned to you at your arrival. Your buddy is the go-to person if you’re in need of any information related to work, life at work or administrative questions for instance. Your buddy is here for you, so don’t hesitate to bring any doubt, issue or question to him! 

You will be part of a feature team which is there also to help you with your technical onboarding. Feature teams are really autonomous at Ponicode and it is your tribe now, everything can be discussed and argued, this is really a safe place  to share anything related to your work, tasks and any questions you might have about how tech is done at Ponicode! 

Now, it seems we’ve covered pretty much everything, time for a quick summary and special tips from our team members! 

More awesome stories about our team & workstyle: 

📝 What an internship in Ponicode is really like

📝 50 top & crazy reasons why you should join our team 

📝 More about the Ponicode vision


🎬 A few words from our CEO 

🎬 Diversity in the Ponicode Team 

🎬 Meet the Founders: Edmond, CPO 

🎬 Meet the Founders: Benedetta, software developer 

🎬 Meet the Founders: Simon, software developer 

WRAP IT UP 

When applying for a job at Ponicode, you will enter a process which aims at spotting the right tech expertise but also and most importantly, the right person to fit in our team :) 

For that we have built a process that is the same for all future team members: 

  • Meeting with our CTO to make sure that you are at the right place.

          Special tip: make sure to show that you have tested and played a bit with our solution, that’s always a good start!

  • Taking our tech test.

          Make sure to keep it straightforward and easy. We are not only looking at your results but also at how you think. 

  • Fit interview to make sure you understand Ponicode’s culture and share the team’s values. 

          Bear in mind that we are a young startup, any entrepreneurial mindset is a huge plus. 

  • Sitting with a professional HR coach to make sure you belong in the team

          Be yourself, this is also an opportunity for you to know yourself better ;) 

  • Exchanging with our big boss so you can hear from him, his vision for Ponicode, discuss your future & salary

          Patrick doesn’t bite and is passionate about building the perfect team that will get Ponicode to the top!

From what you’ve just read, you’re probably thinking OMG this must take forever! 

Don’t be so sure 😉 We are a very effective team and you will be glad to know that we usually wrap it up in a couple weeks or so from the first email to the job proposal. 



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