Hiring at CircleCI France: Behind The Scenes

CircleCI France and the Developer Experience team was born from the acquisition of Ponicode by CircleCI. Some of the content out there was produced under the Ponicode era but we still consider it valuable in the current situation. When in doubt: Ponicode = CircleCI France.

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 big scale up, we have a short and flexible process. Entering your hiring process will give you the opportunity to meet peers and engineers for you to really appreciate the team and environment you’ll be working in. A few team members of the Developer Experience department are deeply involved in the hiring & onboarding processes. In addition, we have written what we call the Developer Experience Playbook, a document where everything is written down from the vision of what Developer Experience is 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 Apply 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 CircleCI France 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 Senior Software Engineer

This is hardly unusual, once your resume gets our attention we will simply invite you to a first chat with the one who manages the software engineers and the delivery process of our team. This aims to make sure that you’re in the right place, because we are not just looking for a list of skills but rather for a mindset that fits well with our team ;) 

During this first casual interview, our engineer will want to know about your ambitions and motivations for joining the Developer Experience department 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 have 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 debriefing interview can last up to an hour and a half and it is also an opportunity for you to express your wishes when joining CircleCI France: 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

As we said earlier, in the Developer Experience team, we are not just looking for skills but for people able to fit an innovation focused team. This interview is designed to determine if you can fit in our company and team 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 developer experience and consequently CircleCI to the next level. 

What you need to know for this interview is that the Developer Experience team and CircleCIFrance was born from the acquisition of a small startup: Ponicode. The challenges we’ve faced as a 15 people startups as well as the technology we were trying to develop create a sense of resilience and creativity that remains core to our team spirit. 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 team that will bring cutting edge innovation to the CircleCI platform. 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. It’s also a matter of letting you making sure that we fit with you as much as you with us.

In the big boss office 

The final step is a one-on-one meeting with the head of Developer Experience / CircleCI France: Patrick. He embodies our department and is the opposite of the typical chief, his vision and ambition sets the tone for our work! 

Patrick is the kind of manager 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 vision in his own words, catch up on a little history and even learn more about his previous startups. 

This is also the perfect time to bring any question you might have about team's evolution, your own expectations and ambitions.

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 CircleCI France 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 here! 

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: 

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

📝 More about the CircleCI vision

🎬 Diversity in the Team 

🎬 Meet: Benedetta, software developer


When applying for a job at CircleCI France, you will enter a process which aims at making sure you are fully equipped to face the challenges of the position you are applying for but also and most importantly, making sure you are 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 senior software engineer 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 our company and department culture and share the team’s values. 

          Bear in mind that we are a young scale up, and as an innovation focused department having an entrepreneurial mindset is a huge plus. 

  • Exchanging with the head of developer experience so you can hear from him, his vision for Developer Experience

          Patrick doesn’t bite and is passionate about building the perfect team that will get CircleCI 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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