September 7, 2021

What is it like to interview with Apollo? (part 2 of 2)

Chris Shaw

Chris Shaw

This is the second part of a two part series. If you missed the first post, you can read it here.

In the first post, we talked about how we carefully design and define our process to put our candidates in the best position to succeed, with an emphasis on:

  • How consistency creates equity.
  • Helping our candidates feel as comfortable as possible so they can show us their best stuff.
  • How important it is for Apollo to be on point to answer all of your questions as you go through our interview process. We know you’ll have plenty of choices when you decide on your next place to work, and we want you to be able to evaluate us as thoroughly as possible.

In this post, we’ll wrap up with phases 3 and 4 — interviewing and offers. You’ll see how we’re different from some companies in how transparent we are throughout the entire process. We’ll explain why it’s important for us to be direct and honest, and how we take extra time getting to know you.

Phase three: It’s interview time

The interview basics are pretty straightforward. We give extra attention to the organized execution of these steps (being on time and prepared), to ensuring candidates have time to interview us, and when we’re asked a hard question, answering it honestly.

Step 1: Screening The first conversation in the interview process is usually a quick role alignment call with a recruiter, which includes time for candidates to ask questions about Apollo. In fact, just about every interview you have with Apollo will give you time to ask us questions so you can better evaluate if Apollo is right for you. In this first call, we love to talk about our culture (we’re proud of it!) and to give people an update on the company trajectory.

Next, a call with the hiring manager will cover some of the most important role competencies (as discussed in part 1 of this blog), with time left for you to learn more about the role. If there are technical aspects to a role, we will have another interview before we bring you to the final interview stage.

Step 2: Final interviews (aka, the virtual onsite) A note on Apollo’s distributed culture: We’ve had it since day one. We’ve always had the philosophy of hiring the best people in the world, and that has meant hiring people just about wherever they live. That being said, we’ve learned that timezones on the opposite side of the planet don’t work well, which is why members of a given team tend to be within a few time zones of each other. Where we’ve landed is that we have an office for people who prefer one, and a distributed friendly policy as well. This gives us access to both pools of people, which is a balance that has worked well for our team.

As a distributed-flexible company, all of our interviews are over video or phone. The final “virtual onsite” interviews comprise the bulk of our competency interviews. Each interview will be designed to test for a specific skill, and candidates will have the previously mentioned “blurbs” to help them prepare. We like to include interviewers that you will be working with, so you can get to know the people on your team a bit better as you interview.

As with all of our interviews, we always like to leave time for you to ask questions about Apollo. If there’s a cheat code I can give you, it’s to come prepared with a couple of good questions for each of your interviewers. We’ll be honest with you about what we have, and what we don’t. No company is perfect, and that includes Apollo.

Step 3: Deep dive This is the getting to know you interview we referenced above, and the best way to describe it is that it’s a “life story interview.” We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from our candidates on this interview, and it’s something fairly unique about our process. One of the most important results we get from this interview is that a manager will leave this interview with an understanding of how to make their future hire successful.

It’s a mutually beneficial result when you’re successful in your job at Apollo. We try to get off on the right foot by gaining an understanding of the circumstances that led to your best performance in the deep dive. Talking about these topics gives us an understanding of someone’s self-awareness, and how growth-oriented someone might be. In the end, we learn a lot about how we can best motivate people, and hopefully how to avoid demotivating people as well.

The feedback we hear most often from our candidates is an appreciation that we took the time to get to know them. (We love that feedback.)

The final phase: Offers

When we make an offer, it’s an exciting time. It means that we’ve looked at hundreds of candidates, and now we’re approaching the finish line. We approach our offers as a conversation with our candidates. Our goal is always to find the win-win where the candidate is being given an offer that they’re excited about that we know to be fair market value.

Remember in part 1 of this post when we talked about candidates getting to ask their questions? (I might have mentioned it once or thrice already.) When it’s time for you to make a final decision on whether to accept an Apollo offer or not, you will already have asked a lot of questions from each interviewer. We’re open to more. The worst-case scenario for both Apollo and a candidate is that you arrive here and learn that the job and company are different than what we represented. We work really hard to minimize such a situation, because it’s bad for the person joining us, and it’s also bad for Apollo.

A few words on compensation

I’m sure companies have different opinions on what equitable compensation means, so let’s get a little more specific. Our north star for our compensation is consistency. We start by investing in multiple compensation tools and use them to design compensation bands that are competitive with companies of our size and stage. We carefully level prospective hires during their interviews and then apply our bands consistently.

We are very aware of pay disparities present in the tech industry across racial and gender demographics. We refuse to have pay disparities at Apollo.

Summary (and a little gratitude)

We pulled back the curtain so you could better understand how we think about hiring at Apollo. We’ve carefully designed this process over the last 5 years, and many of the positive iterations have been brought to us by our own candidates. If you are one of the people that has given us feedback over the years, thank you. We’ll keep asking how we can be better, and that’s a journey that never ends.

If you’re interested in Apollo, check out our open roles. If you don’t see one that fits you, reach out to us anyway. The timing might not be perfect, but we love to make long-term connections with great people like yourself.

Considering Apollo? Check out some of these links to learn more about us:

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Chris Shaw

Chris Shaw

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