Interviews have traditionally been pretty formal affairs.
Generally, the balance of power lies with the company rather than the candidate, and it can feel as if they exist just to trip you up. Which makes no sense to us here at Intercom.
We’re trying to find people that are right for the position. Not just in terms of experience and skill levels but also when it comes to attitude towards their work and the way they approach problems. We’re a diverse group of people and we want to keep building a diverse, equitable workplace. We’re looking for people who can add something to the equation, something we maybe didn’t even realise we were missing.
To do this, we break the process down into a number of sessions: an initial chat, a take-home test, a hiring manager interview, and finally an onsite (or virtual onsite!) session. For us, the ‘interview’ cuts both ways. It’s our chance to see what you’re like and, just as importantly, it’s your chance to see what we’re like. And if we’re both happy – great!
Here are four simple rules of thumb to keep in mind when interviewing here at Intercom.
1. Make sure you understand the question
We’re not trying to trip you up, so when we ask you a question about your experience or how you dealt with overcoming a mistake, we’re just trying to understand better. If you’re not sure what you’re being asked, then say so! Don’t rush in with an answer only to realise half way through that you’re on the wrong track and it’s too late to turn back!
2. Prepare but don’t memorize
We do our best to make interviews as relaxed as possible, but there’s no getting away from the feeling of pressure to perform. Preparation helps, but trying to memorize exact responses is only going to add to the pressure. You’ll be better prepared if you know the experience you want to talk about and can draw on different aspects of it to make your point without worrying about going ‘off-script’.
3. Get your hands dirty
Depending on the position you’ve applied for, your interview may include a problem-solving session. This may involve critiquing a piece of code or UI interface, or working through a problem with one of the interviewing managers.
If you’ve gotten this far we’re impressed by you already, so just do what you’re good at: show us how you collaborate and solve problems. We like to see how you think, and how you action those thoughts.
4. It’s your interview too
It’s a two-way street. We’re both interviewing each other, so feel free to ask us as many questions as you like. This is going to affect both your future and Intercom’s, so it’s vital that we’re both making the right decision. Because when the call comes and we offer you the job we’d love it if you said yes!
Looking for more insights into how we do things? Check out our blog to find out more about Intercom’s culture, teams, and processes.