Image credit Medidata
We know how daunting the interview process can be and it's always great to have a little bit of insight. So we spoke to our friends at Medidata, Talent Acquisition Director, Andrew Bott and Senior Engineering Manager Andy Devitt and they kindly let us into the Medidata recruitment knowledge! Check out the interview below and find out more on this amazing company and what they look for when recruiting. This could be the company for you!
Medidata is a global software solutions company looking to help clinical trials run better. What was the decision behind using Scala for your back-end software engineering? How does it benefit this line of work?
We decided to move over to Scala as it allows us to develop more scalable, robust and performant enterprise solutions. It also allowed us to leverage the functional aspects of Scala, whilst at the same time giving a platform for developers to migrate their mindset by having OO concepts available too. With Scala being a modern language it has also helped motivate our engineers and attract top talent to join us.
What opportunities does an engineer have when joining the Medidata team to develop their skills? Is there a career progression structure?
Within Engineering there are defined grades and levels of roles and responsibility. You can clearly see the next level up and what's required to get there. We look at promotions twice per year and look to promote from within where possible. We will invest time in our own to bridge skill gaps. Recent internal promotions have involved a Senior Engineer moving into an Engineering Management role and a Lead Engineer moving to the Architecture group
You work within the recruitment team at Medidata, when looking for candidates what is the top thing that you look for when recruiting candidates?
Core quality engineering skills: Agile, TDD advocate, problem-solving, creativity, clean code & strong design - exposure to functional programming via Scala, Java 8+, F# etc is a real plus
Equally important personal qualities: It is extremely important that each candidate demonstrates that they are a team player and that they are able to work with colleagues in different disciplines in a respectful and productive manner. A cohesive team of individuals that want to work for each other is far more productive and likely to succeed than a team of individuals that do not collaborate well. The working environment is also much improved with this approach, which is another aspect that is extremely important here at Medidata.
Do you have an example of when you were really impressed by a candidate? What was it that really made them memorable?
Generally excellent breadth and depth of technical knowledge.
Ability to communicate, both listening and talking.
Actual saying when they don't know or don't understand something.
Clarity of thought when describing concepts.
Ability to discuss and think on-the-fly in an interview situation.
Humility and the way they talked about other colleagues.
Describing both positive and negative experiences in a way that shows an ability to view another person's perspective and showing that they have learned from past experiences.
Ability to admit when they are biased.
Can you tell us the different stages of an interview process? What is the reason behind each stage?
Initial Phone Screen with hiring manager - 30 mins: High-level technical appraisal, communication skills, motivation, knowledge versus CV - discussing Medidata, explaining role, answering questions
Onsite session - 90 min technical, 30 min meet the team, 30 min hiring manager:
Technical: Understand the level of current capability in Medidata terms, technical mindset, hunger and evidence of learning technically, cleanliness of design, how they think, how they decompose a problem to constitute parts. Clarity of thought and thinking when describing a project/problem. Assessing knowledge versus CV (honesty check). How they work in a pairing situation, communication skills, dealing with feedback and alternative opinions. At Senior & Staff level, increasing need to demonstrate will hit the ground running. Q&A
Team: Communicating across functions and ranges of experiences; empathy, respect, working as a team, priority of team over self, sense of humour. Q&A
Manager: Coachability, aspirations, scenarios around team problem solving, accountability and ownership of day to day activities. Collaboration across functions. Potential, ambition. Expectations around responsibility in the role. Q&A
What would be your top interview tip?
Be honest, try to relax, take your time - remember we actually want to hire you!
What is one thing you would recommend to engineers to get involved in to help them secure a role? E.g. Github, blog writing, speaking at/attending conferences.
Professional curiosity (inside & outside the workplace), self-improvement and desire to learn.
If you were to describe what it’s like to work at Medidata in 3 words, what would they be?
Collaborative, mission-driven, fun.
Is the Medidata Engineering team perfect for you? Contact our Senior Consultant Rachael for more information.