Application and interview tips for Site Reliability and Platform Engineers

If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’re thinking of applying to TransferWise - which is great news! Here’s a handy guide to our application process and interview tips for our Platform Engineering roles.

Applying for new jobs can be daunting! Every company is different and it can be difficult to know how to do well at each stage of the application process. I’m Alvar, Platform Lead at TransferWise and I’m sharing my step-by-step guide and top tips for Site Reliability and Platform Engineers applying to join TransferWise.

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Step 1. Apply!

Your first step is the application form. Here we ask you to include your CV with details of your past experience and achievements, a cover letter and a few questions related to the role.

So, how do I make my application stand out?

  • Don’t just explain what you did in your previous positions, show us your achievements within these roles and what you helped to deliver
  • Be clear about what your individual contribution was in the relevant projects you mention in your CV and application.
  • Tell us why you want to work at TransferWise and why you want to move on from your current job

Step 2. Initial chat

If our hiring team thinks your skills and experience might be a good fit, they’ll then schedule a short chat on the phone or video call to get to know you a bit better (you won’t need to prepare anything in advance). We’ll talk through your experience in more detail and why you’re interested in joining us. You’ll also be able to ask us any questions you might have.

What should I cover?

  • I recommend highlighting how your previous achievements are relevant to the role
  • Show us your knowledge of TransferWise and why you want to join us. This matters a lot!
  • Give us an understanding of your career-related skills and how they’ll help you to succeed at TransferWise

Step 3. Technical take home test (for some roles)

If you’re applying to one of our SRE or Platform Engineer roles and are successful in our initial chat, we’ll send you a HackerRank take home test with technical and reasoning exercises. This test allows you to showcase your relevant technical skills from the comfort of your own home.

Tips for the take home test

  • Prepare by brushing up your networking, distributed systems and systems operation skills
  • Be efficient in your answers - always think, is your solution the most efficient one?
  • Be aware of time, if you struggle with a question just move to the next one and come back to it later to ensure you complete as many questions as possible

We may look into including a test for other roles, like Data or Network Engineers, in the future. Our recruiter will definitely walk you through the process once you apply.

Step 4. Technical interview

Fingers crossed that everything's gone smooth so far! Now we’ll schedule a face-to-face technical interview. This isn’t a test, it’s more of a discussion about your technical expertise and experience and how these are relevant to the role.

What are we looking for?

  • Strong troubleshooting and problem-solving skills - someone who enjoys identifying root causes of issues and finding solutions, both independently and in collaboration
  • Autonomy - TransferWise is made up of autonomous, independent teams, so we need you to be comfortable taking ownership of and responsibility for your projects
  • Pragmatic application of tools and technologies - goal- and purpose-oriented decision-making when picking technologies or making trade-offs

How to ace the technical interview?

  • Prepare examples of how your past technical experience fits the skills within the job description as well as other skills that might help you succeed
  • Think of strong examples to showcase your problem-solving, collaboration and communication skills
  • Give examples of your individual contribution to projects and how you've applied technologies and tools to solve a particular problem. Explain your thought process and evaluation criteria.

Step 5. Final interview - could this be a match made in heaven?!

You've showed us your skills and knowledge. Now we want to see if our company values are compatible with yours, and you can make the final call if TransferWise is the right place for you. You can read more about who we are and what matters to us at TransferWise in our Culture Compass guide for new joiners.

We’ll also have a conversation with you to cover any outstanding questions you might have about the opportunity and make sure we’re both on the same page. You’ll meet with our CTO and one of our Lead Engineers who are shaping the technical direction at TransferWise.

So what is a successful culture-fit?

  • You’ll have a good understanding of what TransferWise does
  • You’ll have ideas about where we could improve our product and business to improve our customers experience
  • You understand how our culture and values are helping us to achieve our mission of money without borders and your personal values align with them
  • Effective collaboration and communication skills - as you’ll be working closely with other teams, you’ll need to effectively communicate your projects to others (often in non-technical terms!)
  • Personal time and energy management skills - with autonomy comes responsibility of taking care of oneself

Any advice?

  • You made it this far! Just be yourself and ask away any questions you might have about working at TransferWise.

From my personal experience, having insight into what a company values and expects from its employees really helps to take stress out of the process. It's hopefully going to be a serious relationship, so let's make sure both sides know what they're getting into :) I hope you found this guide helpful. We want to set you up for success, even before you join. If you haven’t already, check out some of the useful links below:

*Please know that there might be slight adjustments to the process depending on interviewer availability. Your recruiter will let you know during the process.

Best of luck!

Alvar