The Sourcegraph Interview Process

This page includes all information a Talent Team member, Hiring Manager, or Teammate needs to know about the interview stage.

Values and practices

  1. We want our hiring process to access all potential qualified candidates.
    • We proactively promote our open positions to many different groups, communities, and networks.
    • If we believe there is a talented set of individuals who are not applying to our team, we will initiate outbound efforts to reach them. We believe there is value in reaching out to candidates who are not directly connected to the social graph of our team today.
  2. We want our hiring process to be fair to all candidates.
    • We recognize that the way a job description is written can plan a key role in promoting positive, non-biased hiring efforts. In fact, countless studies have shown that certain demographics are less likely than others to apply if they don’t meet 100% of the outlined qualifications. Because of this, our job descriptions focus on the impact a candidate will make in the role versus a long list of requirements that have historically impeded underrepresented candidates from applying, resulting in a larger and more diverse candidate pool.
    • We ask a consistent set of questions to each candidate so that we can objectively measure performance across candidates.
    • We leverage BrightHire to record our interviews, ensuring there is an objective record of the interview that can be referenced when making a hiring decision.
    • All interviewers submit written feedback independently before being able to see feedback from other interviewers. Feedback may not be edited after submission.
    • We maintain a consistent hiring decision process for all candidates.
  3. Hiring managers own the hiring process for their team.
    • Hiring managers are encouraged to partner with their assigned recruiter to experiment to learn how to improve their hiring process.
    • The handbook is kept up-to-date with our learnings and current norms. If something is missing from the Handbook, please Slack @hiring.

The interview lifecycle

Preparing for an interview

Training: all interviewers must review and complete interview training before participating in any interviews.

System set up: all interviewers must have the below systems set up before interviewing.

Role familiarization: prior to the interview, open up the interview kit in Greenhouse (the link can be found in your interview calendar invite). In the interview kit, you’ll be able to view the candidate’s resume, the job description, and the structured interview questions you will ask during the interview.

Selling Sourcegraph:

  • Click here to view our Marketing page that describes what Sourcegraph does in different message lengths.

The interview stage

The recruiter screen

The first step of an interview process for a candidate is the Recruiter Screen. All Recruiters must have completed all stages of Recruiter Onboarding before interviewing candidates.

The Recruiter conducts an initial recruiter screen with eligible candidates. Sample Recruiter screen questions can be found here.

  • To advance a candidate to the Recruiter screen stage, the Recruiter uses the Calendly template in Greenhouse to schedule. To reject a candidate, Recruiter sends rejection email template.

  • To use the Calendly template in Greenhouse to schedule, first enable Calendly integration in Greenhouse. Then continue to these steps to schedule an interview with Calendly.

  • To decline a candidate, follow these steps. All candidates are either advanced or declined within 5 business days of their application date to provide a positive candidate experience.

If the candidate does not show up for the interview, the Recruiter will call, email, and text the candidate and offer to reschedule.

The Recruiter submits qualified candidates to the Hiring Manager. If Hiring Manager expresses interest in the profile, the Recruiter asks the Recruiting Coordinator to schedule the Hiring Manager screen by posting in the #talent-scheduling-and-offers Slack channel.

  • Click here to learn more about scheduling interviews at Sourcegraph.

The hiring manager screen stage

If the Hiring Manager chooses to advance a candidate following the Hiring Manager screen, the Recruiting Coordinator schedules additional interviews in the interview process (below). All interviewers must review the interview training and Guide to Using Brighthire before conducting interviews.

  • How we schedule interviews
  • Interview process and sample interview questions for each department here
  • If the candidate does not show up for the interview in the first 5 minutes, the Hiring Manager will send a message in the private Slack channel for the position and tag the Recruiter and Recruiting Coordinator. If the candidate does not show up for over 5 minutes, the Hiring Manager will end the interview.

The “onsite” stage

The “onsite” stage is defined as all interviews that take place after the hiring manager screen.

The Recruitment Operations specialist will schedule all remaining interviews in the interview process. It is important that all teammates accept the calendar invite to confirm that you plan to attend to the interview.

Ideally, each interview will include two teammates. However, there may be circumstances where only one teammate is scheduled to participate in an interview. In that scenario, the teammate who is participating in the interview asks all interview questions. If only one person is able to attend, a second person is required to watch the BrightHire and provide feedback.

  • If you unable to make an interview, please Slack #ask-hiring immediately so that we can work on finding a replacement interviewer, or reschedule. Please do you best to provide a minimum of 24-hours notice if you are unable to attend.

Following your interview, please provide interview feedback immediately, no later than 24-hours after your interview, to ensure we are able to move quickly and provide a positive candidate experience.

The decision making stage

We want to hire people who overwhelmingly get ‘Yes’ and ‘Strong Yes’ feedback. Here is how to define the rating recommendations.

The hiring team reviews the feedback in Greenhouse and makes the final hiring decision. If the candidate received all ‘Yes’ or ‘Strong Yes’, the interview team can debrief in a synchronous fashion or asynchronously via Slack. If the candidate did not receive all ‘Yes’ or ‘Strong Yes’ feedback, a live debrief must take place. Should the interview panel be aligned on moving forward, the Hiring Manager needs to submit written justification for moving forward with an offer in the offer approval section. If there is mixed feedback, the Hiring Manager is the ultimate decision maker.

Debrief meeting

A debrief meeting with the interview panel is a crucial step in the hiring process to ensure alignment on candidate feedback and make informed decisions regarding the candidate’s fit for the role. Here’s a structured approach to conducting the debrief meeting:

  • Preparation:
    • Before the debrief meeting, ensure that all teammates have submitted their feedback independently.
    • Export the feedback as a PDF and share with the interview panel in the role’s Slack channel.
    • Send an agenda to the interview panel in the role’s Slack channel and reiterate what qualitifactions we’re looking for.
  • Schedule the meeting:
    • Coordinate with the interview panel to find a suitable time for the debrief meeting. This should be scheduled no more than 48 hours after the candidate’s interview to maintain context and momentum.
  • Meeting agenda:
    • Begin the meeting by welcoming the panel and thanking them for their participation in the interview process.
    • Outline the purpose of the debrief: to discuss candidate feedback and align on expectations.
    • Set the ground rules for the discussion, emphasizing the importance of direct and transparent communication while maintaining respect for differing opinions.
  • Review individual feedback:
    • Start by going through each interviewer’s feedback in chronological order, allowing them to present their impressions.
    • Encourage interviewers to elaborate on their feedback, highlighting specific examples or concerns they may have noted during the interview.
    • Ask each interviewer to provide their overall recommendation (e.g., Definitely Not, No, Yes, Strong Yes) and any specific concerns they have.
  • Discuss key themes:
    • After reviewing individual feedback, facilitate a discussion to identify common themes or patterns in the feedback.
    • Encourage interviewers to discuss any discrepancies in their evaluations and seek clarification on differing opinions.
    • Pay attention to areas where feedback is mixed or conflicting.
  • Calibration and alignment:
    • As a group, discuss the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, considering the job requirements and Sourcegraph’s values.
    • Focus on aligning expectations and recalibrating if necessary. Discuss what the Hiring Manager values most in a candidate and whether the candidate aligns with those values.
    • Encourage panel members to reevaluate their recommendations based on the discussion.
  • Decision and next steps:
    • Based on the discussion, work toward a consensus on whether to move forward with the candidate or not.
    • If a consensus is reached, determine the next steps in the hiring process, such as Final Interviews.
    • If there is still significant disagreement, consider conducting follow-up interviews or seeking additional input from team members who interviewed the candidate.
    • In the case of mixed feedback, the Hiring Manager is the ultimate decision maker.
  • Document the decision:
    • Document the outcome of the debrief meeting, including the final decision and any action items, and share this information with the interview panel in a timely manner.
    • The Hiring Manager needs to submit written justification for moving forward with an offer in the Slack channel. The Recruiter puts this in the offer approval section in Greenhouse when generating an offer.
  • Follow-up:
    • After the debrief, provide feedback to the candidate or proceed with the next steps in the hiring process, as decided during the meeting.
    • Ensure that the interview panel understands their roles and responsibilities in the follow-up process.
  • Feedback loop:
    • Finally, use the feedback and insights gained from this debrief to continuously improve your interview process and candidate evaluation criteria.

By following this structured approach, you can ensure that the interview panel comes to a well-informed decision regarding the candidate’s fit for the role and that any concerns or discrepancies in feedback are addressed.

Once a hiring decision in made, the Hiring Manager is responsible for communicating the hiring decisions to the rest of the interview team to stay informed and calibrate for future hiring decisions.

  • Post a note in the role’s private Slack channel.
  • Your note should provide context for why we’ve decided to hire someone, or why we’ve decided not to hire someone.
  • Once it’s been posted in Slack, paste your note into Greenhouse so it lives on the candidate page forever.
  • Should we proceed to an offer, the Recruiter will then paste that note in the offer details.

If we are moving forward with an offer, the Recruiter will submit the offer details for approval and will schedule and offer summary call.

  • Learn more about the offer stage here

If we are declining the candidate, the Recruiter will call the candidate.

  • Click here for policy on declining candidates and providing feedback.

Estimated time-to-hire

It is our goal to fill our openings as quickly as possible while maintaining a high quality bar and a strong candidate experience. Our time-to-fill goal is an average of 45 days. This means that the timespan from intake meeting to candidate offer acceptance (when a candidate signs their offer letter) should be, on average, 45 days or less.

  • (45 days time-to-fill) + (2–4 weeks notice period) + (1-2 weeks vacation in between jobs) = 3 months from the time we kick off the job to when our new teammate starts.
  • All roles should be kicked off 2–3 months prior to our target start date to ensure we’re taking a proactive, rather than reactive, recruitment approach.
  • Once a candidate begins the interview process with us, we should aim to complete the interview process in 2-weeks or less.

Please reference the hiring plan to see your upcoming open roles. This document is updated in real time and adjusts as the needs of our business change. If you see that you have an upcoming role in the next 2–3 months, please follow the below steps to kick off a search.

Sourcing best practices

  • To source passive candidates, the Recruiter and Hiring Manager follows best sourcing practices in LinkedIn Recruiter.

Click here to read about sourcing best practices and how a sourcer partners with a Recruiter and Hiring Manager. Click here for a guide on creating a Recruiting Outreach Campaign.

Outreach best practices

  • Our goal is to drive meaningful outreach and engagement with prospective candidates. When designing an engagement strategy, the goal is to create a sequence of messages and/or content at touch points delivered to a targeted candidate at predefined intervals.

Here’s a guide on creating a Recruiting Outreach Campaign.

Our Scheduling Philosophy

We are flexible when it comes to scheduling interviews because we are all-remote and we don’t need to schedule all interviews back-to-back (unlike typical onsite interviews at other companies). Some candidates like spreading interviews out (e.g., across multiple days and/or having breaks between interviews on the same day) and others prefer to batch them as much as possible to get it over with. Ask the candidate what their ideal interview schedule looks like and then try to accommodate those preferences as much as possible (given interviewer availability).

Even if candidates prefer to batch all their interviews together, it might not be possible due to the timezones of available interviewers.

We will schedule interviews in stages. If it is clear from the feedback that we won’t be moving forward, we will reject and not move forward with additional stages.

To schedule an interview with a candidate, please work with your recruiter or Slack @hiring. You can see a list of Recruiters.

Providing interview feedback

Written interview feedback

Please put your written feedback into Greenhouse as soon as possible following the interview (immediately is ideal) while it is still fresh in your mind. You can also leverage your BrightHire recording to revisit key points during the interview when providing feedback. All feedback must be submitted in Greenhouse before discussing with anyone. This is required and ensures that bias does not impact your hiring recommendation.

How to use BrightHire for feedback

Brighthire’s interview assistant allows you to take time stamped notes while you are interviewing. The notes are formatted into bullets and the question topics are formatted into headers. In interview assistant, you can flag key moments, leave reactions, and use “at mentions” to tag someone. Every note is clickable so as you click it, you can jump right in to replay the moment the note was taken. The bottom of the notes section provides an area to add a general comment that gets tied to the entire interview instead of one specific time point. This is a great place in Brighthire to tag a teammate and pull them in to let them know about next steps.

At the top of the notes page, you have the link available to jump right into the Greenhouse scorecard or to share the link with someone else. When you go back to Greenhouse to leave feedback, you will see the BrightHire tab at the right side of the screen (enabled with the Chrome extension). Clicking on the tab allows you to watch the entire interview, look over time stamped notes, replay key moments with video and recording, jump into areas where you asked questions, and review flagged moments. With this extension, you can copy and paste all notes formatted with the question topics directly into the Greenhouse scorecard to make it easy to provide written feedback in Greenhouse.

Overall hiring recommendation

In addition to providing written feedback, you are asked to choose an overall recommendation. You are given 5 feedback options in Greenhouse: 1. Strong Yes 2. Yes 3. Neutral 4. No 5. Strong No. It is important that we are calibrated as a team and that we assess candidates using the same scale.

  • Feedback is required immediately (no later than 24 hours after the interview) to ensure we’re able to move candidates through our process quickly.

Please leverage the below definitions when rating candidates:

Strong Yes You are confident that this person would make our team better and you would be excited to have the chance to work with them.

Yes You observed only positive signs that this person would be a good fit for our team, but you don’t feel strongly about hiring them.

Neutral You are neutral or are unsure if this person would be a good fit for our team. More digging and interviewing is recommended. To indicate that you’re neutral, please do not select any score and press submit.

No You have doubts about whether this person would make our team better.

Strong No You are very confident that we should not hire this person because they would not be successful on our team.

All “Yes” feedback with no “Strong Yes” feedback is usually not sufficient. We want to hire people who we are excited to work with.

Assessing focus attributes

When assessing focus attributes, we have 5 options: 1. Star 2. Thumbs up 3. Neutral 4. Thumbs down 5. Stop

Star You are very confident that this person has this attribute.

Thumbs up You are confident and have no concerns that this candidate has this attribute.

Neutral You are neutral or are unsure if they have, or don’t have, this attribute. More digging and interviewing is recommended.

Thumbs down You do not believe this candidate has this attribute.

Stop You are very certain that this candidate does not embody this attribute.

Providing feedback to candidates - for recruiters

Not all candidates want to receive feedback, but for those that do, we want to help them improve for their next interview, whether that is here at Sourcegraph or somewhere else.

Our goal is to provide an excellent candidate experience for all candidates even if they aren’t the best fit for a role. In all feedback conversations, be tactful and aim to help.

When we do and don’t give feedback:

We either send an email or make a phone call depending on the stage the candidate gets to in the interview process. Click here to see when we send an email, and when we make a phone call.

Best practices for giving candidate feedback

  • Be prompt. Respect the candidate’s time by providing feedback as soon as possible.

  • Provide feedback verbally, not in writing. Providing verbal feedback gives the candidate one final personal touch-point with you. It also reduces the likelihood of having your exact words used against you. We never provide individualized feedback in writing.

  • Thank the candidate. Applying for jobs and participating in interviews takes a substantial amount of time and energy. Let the candidate know we’re grateful for their time and interest in Sourcegraph. Always make sure to communicate the feedback in a respectful and professional manner.

  • Start by discussing the positives. Did the team provide positive feedback about the candidate’s behaviors, skills, or knowledge? Start with the positives before providing constructive insights.

  • Feedback MUST tie back to the job description: focus on the job-related qualifications and skills that the candidate lacked. Be specific and provide examples to help the candidate understand where they fell short. Feedback should never tie back to anything other than the job description.

  • Be specific when providing feedback to candidates. We want to clearly highlight the thing(s) candidates can build upon or improve. Avoid general feedback like “The team liked that you’re proactive” and instead use a specific example such as “The team really liked the in-depth company research you did and how you explained ways you’d contribute toward the team’s initiatives if given an offer.” Another example is instead of saying “it wasn’t a fit”, say “this role will require advanced reporting skills and we didn’t get the sense that you have a lot of experience with this. While this role isn’t the right fit now, if you build on your reporting skills, we would be happy to consider you in the future.” All feedback should tie back to specific requirements of the job.

  • Focus on facts and behaviors. Give feedback that candidates can realistically improve upon such as skills and behaviors. Never comment on opinions, feelings, or personal factors. Commenting on emotional connection such as “you were my favorite candidate” or “I thought it was rude that you didn’t make eye contact when speaking” is not acceptable. We want to ensure an unbiased hiring process and avoid legal action.

  • Do not disclose any proprietary or incriminating information.

  • Invite them to stay in touch. For candidates who might be a good fit for future roles, we can keep them in our pipeline and invite them to stay in touch via LinkedIn and email in case a future opportunity arises.

Note: If a candidate does not agree with the feedback you provide, approach the situation from a calm/curious standpoint that aims to understand. Actively listen to the candidate’s point of view and remain objective, and then thank them for their time. Share feedback with the hiring team in the role’s private slack channel afterward.

Collecting Candidate Feedback

The interviewers will provide feedback via a Greenhouse scorecard after each interview.

All interviewers must include the following in the Key Takeaways section of their Greenhouse scorecard:

  • What is the overall hiring decision [strong yes, yes, neutral, no, strong no]
  • What were the key contributors for making this decision (MUST include at least 1 specific reason that ties back to the job description)
    • ‘Strong Yes’ Example: “I am giving Sarah a Strong Yes. I believe she will be successful in this position because she exhibited proficiency with our technologies and she has the experience presenting data, which is required for this role.”
    • ‘No’ Example: “I am giving Mike a ‘No’ because I am not confident that he has the CSS skills required to be successful in this role. During the live-coding exercise, he was not able to use CSS knowledge to implement the UI.”

If a scorecard does not include sufficient feedback to share with the candidate, the Recruiter will immediately reach out via the dedicated hiring slack channel to request the interviewer(s) update their scorecard to include more information. The Talent Team will hold interviewers accountable to this by not moving forward until sufficient feedback information is provided in the interview scorecard.