Denim CTO Shares Interview Tips for Engineers with Hatchpad

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3 Essential Ways for Engineers to Stand Out During an Interview with a Startup

Our CTO, Shawn Vo, Sat down with Tim Winkler, the founder of hatchpad, to talk about how engineers can stand out when interviewing for a startup like Denim. They touched on interviewing tips, how to leverage your network, and what to do if you don't know about a certain software in an interview. Watch the video below and read all about the interview here.

How Can Engineers Stand Out When Interviewing for a Startup?

When Shawn talks about interviewing for a startup, he explains that there are three important components the interviewer should ask themselves: can you do the job? Do you want to do the job? And are you a good culture fit for the company?

Can You Do the Job?

Technical skills are a very important part about being an engineer so any company is going to evaluate your skill level, but there are always new tools to learn so don't fret if you don't know them all.

According to Shawn, what's more important is that you're willing and able to learn new tools. At Denim, the engineering team is happy to teach new employees things as long as they are willing to learn.

Do You Want the Job?

Are you motivated and engaged about this role? Shawn shares that to get a leg up during the interview process, make sure to show that you're interested in the company and the role by doing your research, asking questions during the interview, and sending a follow-up email. He prefers when candidates show a lot of enthusiasm about their potential role at the company.

Would You Be a Good Fit?

Lastly, it's important to consider whether or not this candidate would be a good fit for the company and vice versa. At Denim, we ask ourselves "would this candidate be a good fit for an early-stage startup?"

At our company, we have important individual and team values that we share with every candidate and evaluate them against:

  • Curiosity - are you passionate about learning new things?
  • Tenacity - when the going gets tough, do you get going?
  • Team First - do you approach situations from a team-first mentality?
  • Transparency - is your communication clear and honest?
  • Empathy - do you care about your fellow teammates and the organization as a whole?

Shawn states that "having empathy is just as important as strong technical skills on a startup engineering team."

What Resources Does Denim Offer Engineers For Continued Education?

In addition to discussing how engineering candidates can stand out in their job interviews, Shawn and Tim also talked about Denim's programs for further education once an engineer is hired. Shawn broke them down into two different categories: financial support and mentorship.

  • Financial support refers to the availability to spend money on things like conferences and classes. Currently, Denim offers any employee (not just engineers) $1000/year for professional development. This could include online courses, tuition, books, and some travel expenses.
  • Denim also offers mentorship support and encourages their engineering department to spend time learning new things. The department's cycles are 3 weeks with a 1-week "cooldown" period. This cooldown period is designed to give our engineers a break to learn something cool or do a deep dive into something unrelated to the task at hand.

Denim also offers a myriad of opportunities for engineers to learn new skills through collaboration.

Shawn and Tim closed their conversation by sharing some of their favorite ways to find mentorship and success as entrepreneurs and founders.

Watch the whole interview below!


If you’re interested in learning more about how Denim can help grow your credit and help build your business, we’d love to talk.

Contact us to learn more and get detailed pricing.

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