Universal Truths on Becoming a Dark Launcher
2018 was incredible on all accounts. We have grown to serve over 100 billion feature flags a day, we celebrated our 500th customer, and with that we have seen 3X revenue growth. We also grew from 27 to 75 people. That's nearly 3X team size growth! To make that happen we saw almost 2500 people apply for jobs, that's over 200 applications per month. Compare this figure to 2017, where we saw less than 800 applicants and 24 hires made. The growth at LaunchDarkly is astounding and exponential—and we plan to continue growing the team at this pace in 2019! Being a part of LaunchDarkly in this moment is both humbling and awesome, even Business Insider says we're a company to bet your career on this year.
As a recruiter, I'm constantly asked about the best way to land a job—at LaunchDarkly or otherwise. And even before I know anything about the company or position someone is interested in, there are a few universal truths about hiring I like to share.
Do Your Research
Maybe you're the type of person who likes to dive in and see how things pan out. In my humble opinion this is a terrible way to look for a job. This will almost always lead to a lack of job satisfaction. If you want to love what you do and be happy in your career, you should absolutely research the company you're applying to.
My advice to first-time or long-time job seekers is to write down a list of things that are important to you in your career. Whether it's professional growth, mentorship, a job culture with values that align with your own, great benefits, experienced leadership, management opportunities—whatever your wants and needs may be, write them down, prioritize them, and be clear on what you must have vs would be nice to have. If you really want to be thorough, also write down some things that you don't want to see in your next opportunity—such as lack of diversity, horrible work life balance, horrible commute, etc. This first step may seem meaningless or unnecessary, but it will be more valuable than you can imagine, especially later in the interview process which I'll get to in a bit.
After you've written these wants and needs down, map them to the company you're interested in. If a company doesn't seem to match with many of the things on your list, then you may want to forego applying altogether. It's important to remember that a job interview is a two-way street. As much as the company is interviewing you to see if you'll do well in the position, you should also be figuring out if this is a company which will provide you the growth and job satisfaction you desire.
Next learn about the company and team you're interested in working with. As with anything else there is a ton of information online. For example, reading the 'About Us' page is a good place to start. Our careers page is a good place to find out which positions are currently available. And our blog is a great place to check out if you're really looking to get to know us via the eyes, ears, and minds of the people who actually work here. (Of course, if you're reading this blog post I assume you already know this.)
The LaunchDarkly Hiring Process
To quote Rihanna, “this is what you came here for”—to hear about the LaunchDarkly Hiring Process. Whether you're discovering us for the first time or you're pretty far along, this will help you understand what may lie ahead:
Step 1: First call. If you apply to LaunchDarkly and we want to explore your work experience further, then you'll get a call from a hiring manager. In this conversation, the hiring manager will share more about LaunchDarkly and get a better understanding of how your past work experience would make you successful in this role. This is where that research we talked about earlier comes in handy. Besides being a great opportunity to impress the manager with that you learned about us, it's also a good time to see how your own goals and needs align. Remember, this interview is also for you!
Step 2: The challenge. At this point about half our positions go into a challenge of some sort. These exercises usually take about an hour or two in length and have no deadline. The candidates who have seen the greatest success in our hiring process usually return the challenge within a week. Upon a successful review the next step is...
Step 3: The onsite interview. Though our onsite interviews vary depending on the position, most are typically between three to four hours in length. All have a culture and values component. Even as we grow rapidly, we strive to maintain a culture that aligns with the values our Co-Founders Edith and John established. And if the position touches the product in any way, rest assured there will be a technical assessment as well.
Step 4: The decision. After your onsite interview, the people who interviewed you will come together to discuss the various competencies evaluated. All of the interviewers will share verbal and written feedback with the hiring manager.
It is only after this exhaustive process that a decision is made about whether or not to make an offer. As mentioned above, we feel it's just as important to hire technically qualified persons as those who understand and appreciate our values. We've worked hard to create an inclusive, supportive, and rewarding work environment. I hope this has given you a bit more transparency in our hiring process, and has motivated you to seek out an opportunity which you'll love—whether that's at LaunchDarkly or elsewhere.