What follows is a letter to potential CircleCI employees, from our Head of Human Resources, David Mann.


Dear CircleCI Candidates,

I wanted to share our philosophy and standards around the hiring process to give you more clarity about what you should expect from us, and what we’ll look for from you.

Overall, know this: we respect you. And we’re honored you’re interested in joining our team.

To make the interview flow go smoothly, we have some standards we live by. We’re not perfect, but we do our best to make the getting-to-know-each-other process as enjoyable as possible. And as you consider joining our team, I want to share with you the thinking behind our methodology. Please know:

  1. We will be prepared: Before we post any job, we will be aligned internally on the skills, competencies and experiences we’re seeking. This means our interview conversations will be designed to delve into examples of these characteristics and experiences. Expect to have thoughtful, considerate conversations with our team. Please plan for these by thinking ahead to situations where you excelled, cases where you misstepped and recovered, and times when you failed miserably. We want to hear about all of those experiences - they’ve made you who you are today. We heavily value colleagues with real-world learning experiences, and teammates who can speak openly about both successes and failures.

  2. We won’t waste your time: If you’re not a good fit for a role that has been well-scoped, has clearly articulated duties and responsibilities, we’re going to tell you. Please don’t be discouraged.

  3. We won’t waste your time, part two: A condition of having a respectful workplace is not wasting your time with inane conversation. I remember an interviewer once asking me “If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?” We’re professionals, not professional biologists. To this point, I’ll likely ask you to tell me about a time something went awry and what you did, if anything, to fix it…or what you learned in the process. (For the record: I said I would be a duck - “Calm and poised above water, and paddling furiously below the surface.”)

  4. Time and timing matters: We work with a sense of swiftness at CircleCI, and we respect your time, so we will move through this interview process quickly. We aim to let candidates know within 48 hours of interviewing here where they stand.

  5. We aim to bring out your best: Our interview process is designed to create conversations where you can shine. Be confident in knowing that if you’ve made it this far, we already like you and believe you have the technical ability to do the job. What we want to check for now is how well we think we can work together. We want to learn more about you as an individual: how do you solve problems under pressure? How do you like to brainstorm? What motivates you? We’re looking to learn more about you as an individual to see if we think we can do our best work together.

  6. Finally, we want you to be curious: Our world is ever-evolving, and we stay ahead of this by always asking “How might we improve this? Or what is the root cause issue we’re solving for?” Come in with questions, and remember you’re interviewing us as much as we’re interviewing you. Your ability to engage in a real, authentic conversation is the best way to show us that you will make a strong addition to our team. We want to work with people who are engaged, curious, and questioning; people who take initiative and look for ways to leave things better than they found them.

Where you spend the next part of your career and who you spend it with are big decisions. We’re excited to get to know you, and we really are pulling for you. Should you have any questions about our process, our people, what it’s like to work here, etc., we hope you’ll ask.

See you around the halls - I’ll be the one paddling furiously.


David Mann
Head of Human Resources

But what’s it like to actually work here? Read first-hand stories from developer Breon Knight and engineering intern Jacque Garcia.