What It’s Like to Interview at Greenhouse


As a software company selling a recruiting platform, we better be good at recruiting, right? We have built a product that’s helping some of the most prolific brands on the planet build better companies. We’ve learned from a lot of our customers, and they’ve learned from us, but one thing is for sure, we practice what we preach.

What drew me to Greenhouse was the innovative approach we take to solving a fundamental problem, and the fact that we have amazing customers– many of which were advocating for Greenhouse on their own because they were that passionate about the impact Greenhouse had on their business. For a marketer, this is a dream job! We recently announced our Series A funding, and over the next year we plan to grow–a lot, and through that growth will come change, but one thing that will help us stay on target will be our ability (like many of our customers) to hire the right talent.

In the last few weeks, we’ve brought on a number of new employees–a new office manager, a couple of sales development reps, and a handful of engineering folks. I was interested to sit down with one of these new hires and pick his brain (now that he’s accepted the job and on-board) about why he chose Greenhouse, and, is it everything he thought it would be?

David Han

David Han

Greenhouse Automation Engineer

David Han has joined the Greenhouse Engineering team as a new Automation Engineer. He had recently made a big shift in his career trajectory, moving from the business side in Sales and Marketing to taking and teaching courses on development best practices such as Agile, and coding languages such as Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Javascript, Jquery, Backbone and others.


David was looking for an opportunity where he could apply his new skillset to a young company and have a direct impact on its growth.

We know that the interview process is a two-way street. In today’s competitive marketplace, interviewing is not just about the organization assessing the candidate but also about the candidate deciding if the company is a good fit for them.

Here’s what David was looking for:

“I was looking for a company where I could apply my knowledge of Ruby on Rails and Javascript. I also really wanted to be somewhere collaborative – a startup. Having worked for big companies–while there are perks like lot’s of training–the organizations were siloed and collaboration was sparse. It was important that I found a smaller, team environment, where collaboration was embedded into the culture and I could have a closer relationship with my manager. That is the type of environment I know makes me a more productive and higher-performing employee.”

How Does the Interview Process Impact Candidate Experience?

Before accepting a position at Greenhouse, David explored his options and interviewed with 8+ companies. What drew him to Greenhouse was pretty similar to what drew me “Greenhouse clearly has a lot of potential” but not only that, David said, “I was excited about the mentorship, especially for junior developers. The level of mentorship really sets Greenhouse apart.” Mentorship is a core value to the engineering team, and was explicitly demonstrated through the interview process.

Candidates can smell disorganization a mile away, and guess what: if your recruiting organization is dysfunctional, they can make some safe assumptions that the rest of the organization may be as well!

So how do you impress candidates?

1. Make sure the process is clearly defined (they can tell if it’s not)

“The level of detail was impressive. I had never been through an interview process that was this thorough. You could see the team thought through the process and how they would go about determining if I was a good fit.”

2. Ask relevant questions.

“The team asked in-depth questions to make sure there’s a fundamental knowledge. There were several questions that were challenging, but the questions were always relevant. Sometimes, you get interviewers that ask questions that are too hard for junior developers, or not related to the actual job. They will ask questions that are heavily computer science oriented, which does not come into play in a junior developer’s day-to-day job. It’s particularly off-base when I do not have a Computer Science degree, and those type of questions would make me realize that this company might not be the place I want to work.”

3. Let them meet people outside their ‘group’

“I also appreciated having a chance to meet with so many members of the team. I got to talk to the leadership team, customer success as well as the development team.”

Are You Delivering on Your Promises?

Selling the opportunity is a big part of the process these days. Between candidates having higher expectations for companies as well as competitive offers, it’s important that the hiring team can effectively ‘sell’ the candidate on the opportunity, but, only to the extent that you actually deliver the goods! If you are not delivering on the promises you make during the interview process, don’t be surprised to find your employees abandoning ship 3 months down the road.

At Greenhouse, mentorship was a key selling point for David, and it’s something we strongly believe in and will always deliver. For David, “It is evident that team members prioritize helping one another. It is truly the collaborative environment that I was seeking.”

The interview process not only sold David on the what (the job he would be doing), but also the why. He says, “Greenhouse exists partly because of the belief that human capital is the most important asset of a company. It's evident that Greenhouse believes this to be true for their own employees as well, because everyone is always helping each other and there is an emphasis to continue to learn and grow as a developer and not just do day to day work.”


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