Candidate experience in our tech recruitment


Vivien Szalai | February 11, 2021

4 Minutes Read

Our employees have always been the soul of our successful business. We are grateful and proud to have an amazing team that is able to scale even when the whole world is in crisis. Recruitment isn’t only about the company seeking out the greatest talent, though; it’s also about the candidates choosing the role that best suits them. And we can only retain new hires if we are able to provide them with a great experience both during and after the hiring process.

We are proud of our professional, yet human-centered approach. Based on our past candidates’ feedback, we are on the right track: unsuccessful candidates often ask when they can apply again. Once, a candidate decided not to accept our offer but recommended a friend for the position. He turned out to be an excellent fit and has been a part of the team ever since.

Our hiring process

We want to make the whole recruitment journey as easy and as quick as possible. Instead of struggling with bureaucracy, we want to focus on getting to know each other. We know how painful it is to craft a fancy resume and a cover letter, not to mention having to spend an hour applying through a complicated applicant tracking system. None of these are required. We are perfectly happy with a basic CV or a LinkedIn/Stack Overflow profile.

At ALiZ, recruitment is a three-step process: an introductory call, a homework assignment, and a technical interview.

What to expect in the first call

We always ask candidates to pick a half-an-hour slot to talk instead of calling them randomly. They can also decide whether they prefer a phone call or a video interview. They can even ask for a specific colleague to join (e.g. our CEO or a project manager). There is no strict agenda. We have a casual conversation; we talk about our teams, clients, and company culture; and we answer any questions that come up.

We ask candidates about their interests, their future ambitions, their motivations. It is important to understand what they are looking for so that we can try to align our goals and find the most suitable role or honestly tell them if we can’t see a match.

We also ask for a salary expectation, but we only decide on the package after carefully evaluating their performance and comparing their skills to those of our colleagues.

What the homework is like

We use Devskiller, an easy-to-use platform for technical screening. Depending on the position, we set one or two challenges for the candidates. These are interesting exercises to solve developed by our creative architects, not nerve-wrecking IQ questions to answer.

Our goal is not only to test technical skills, but also to give candidates an opportunity to discover the tech stack we use, and solve interesting problems with them. For example, Data Scientists receive a real-life airline use case, Data Engineers can work with a large dataset in BigQuery, and Cloud Architects can play with Kubernetes in a Google Cloud sandbox project. It might sound a little scary at first for beginners, but there is no need to worry. The assignments are designed to give an insight into the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), but they can be done without any prior GCP experience.

How the interview is structured

The final interview (tech review) is around 2 hours long, but not all of it is technical; time is also allocated to get to know the colleagues who are looking for a new team member. It is up to the candidate whether they want to meet us in the office or have an online interview.

  • The first half-hour is led by a project manager who introduces the team and finds out if we can work together well.They are also happy to answer any questions about the everyday life of the project team.
  • Then we move on to the technical part which is led by two architects. They ask CV-based and general questions related to the position (data engineering, data modelling, machine learning theory).
  • After the tech talk, we give candidates a coding challenge which they can work on for half an hour. During this time they can use any help they want (including their own laptop with their preferred tools) and also ask the interviewers for clarifications.
  • To wrap up, the interviewers evaluate the candidate’s code and help them finish it. We don’t expect a perfect solution in such a short time; rather we are curious about the candidate’s approach to the problem and their workstyle.
  • After the interview we give candidates the opportunity to ask questions if they have any. In the case of personal interviews, we also show them around the office and have a coffee on the terrace.


No matter the outcome, we give feedback to everyone in a timely manner (we take a maximum of one week to answer). Even if someone drops out based on their homework solution, we provide them with professional feedback. We are also open to constructive criticism and continuously improve our processes. For example, we realized that our homework assignments were too long and complicated, so we shortened them, and also made them easier by setting up the GCP environment for candidates. This way they can focus on the engineering challenges and save the time spent with operative issues.

System flexibility

We find our recruitment process efficient and candidate-friendly, but we know that one size does not fit all. We are always eager to go the extra mile for a better candidate experience. We’re open-minded and flexible when we meet special needs like extending the deadline for the homework, breaking down the interview into two shorter rounds, or organizing an extra informal meeting so that the candidate can meet more colleagues.

We are curious about you!

  • Do you have any memorable experiences to share?
  • What would be the ideal candidate experience for you?

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ALIZ is a proud Google Cloud Premier Partner with specializations in Data Analytics and Machine Learning. We deliver data analytics, machine learning, and infrastructure solutions, off the shelf, or custom-built on GCP using an agile, holistic approach.