Branch interview — A behind-the-scenes look

At Branch we have a fantastic talent team, each of us is a subject matter expert in our domain. We’re a team who take pride in the natural ability to spot talent in some of the most in-demand skills within engineering, strategy and operations. We work collectively, drawing together our skills, experience, and strengths to create the best possible experience for our candidates.

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Aisha Ansari

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Something about me…

While my first encounter with the world of recruitment was by chance, it has now become an extension of me , I’m almost always thinking like a recruiter. Working on a very critical aspect of a company’s success — its people has been an enriching experience over the years. I have a passion for ensuring operational success, coupled with the ability to communicate empathetically with the many professionals we interact with as a recruiter. As part of the APAC recruitment team, I look after various business roles within the APAC region. With hiring needs that span across multiple functions, I’m currently hiring for Customer Success, Solutions & Support Engineering, Data Analytics, and Marketing roles.

I love working at Branch because…

My entire journey has been nothing short of amazing but if I have to pick the biggest reason, it would be people (and I’m glad I get to impact it directly!)

Three words that describe my approach…

Genuine, approachable, and dedicated.

Are there any challenges in recruiting remotely? How did the Talent team at Branch overcome them?

In some ways, yes! It’s worth highlighting that as a team, we were always staffing for many open positions across the globe, so we had some remote hiring elements built into our processes; however, with the onset of the pandemic, some of these challenges heightened considerably. The first few months were characterized by several operational concerns like spotty connections, misheard sentences, power failures, mid-sentence call-drops & other infrastructural constraints.

While it’s been a significant change, we are continually looking for ways to improve the candidate and employee experience. In the past few months, our recruitment process has undergone some serious revamping, almost like a “hiring 2.0” to make the entire process, from the first call to on boarding, more elaborate and well-structured. We’re being cautious in creating spaces that allow for both hiring managers and candidates enough time to ascertain a mutual fit.

With virtual as the standard, we’re also ensuring new employees feel welcomed and well amalgamated with the teams. And some of the things we’re doing to that end include arranging for swag and office essentials to be delivered much before the official start date, setting up coffee and lunch catch-ups the week of joining, and assigning buddies at work who can partner up with the new hires as they navigate their new workspace.

While we definitely look forward to being back in the office, we’re now collaborating with the broader team in a much bigger way to ensure the employee experience is consistently excellent across the board.

Jordan Bulfinch

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Something about me…

I had my first taste of recruiting while backfilling my own role before heading out on an adventure to travel the world. When I came back from a long backpacking trip, I realized that recruiting was something I could see myself doing for the long term. The candidate experience is something I am passionate about, as I have always found joy in helping people. Recruiting has given me the opportunity to help others grow their careers, challenge themselves, and fulfill their passions.

I am currently based in New York, and I work on the business side of US and EMEA recruiting. While I work on roles across the business, I primarily hire for our Marketing, Sales, and Technical GTM roles.

I love working at Branch because…

The people who work for Branch are amazing. I’m inspired everyday to work harder, as I am surrounded by individuals that are passionate about our product and how we can help our customers, partners and candidates.

Three words that describe my approach…

Empathetic, passionate and committed.

What are some tips for interviewing virtually during COVID-19?

It’s been a transition for everyone when it comes to hiring during the pandemic. While virtual interviews can be tiring, here are some tips to help make your interviews successful:

  • Prep beforehand. While you should always be prepared for any type of interview, it’s especially important when interviewing virtually. Make sure to do your research on the company and the person you will be speaking with. You only have one opportunity to speak with each interviewer, so coming prepared will save time and make for a more effective interview.
  • Stay engaged and be engaging. Make sure you ask important questions at each interview stage. This is your chance to get to know the team better, and find out if this could be a fit for you as well. A lot of people get Zoom fatigue throughout the long days of meetings and interviews, so it’s also important to engage the interviewer when answering their questions.
  • Stand out from the crowd. What makes you stand out from other candidates? Recruiters and interviewers speak to multiple candidates per day, so use this chance to “wow” them! Come prepared with career highlights, interesting facts about your background, and talk about skills we may not see on your resume.

Kevin Ebach

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Something about me…

After finishing college in my home state of Texas in 2013, I moved to California and spent the next 5 years working full time in education — first as a tutor / after-school coordinator and then as a special education teacher. When I decided to leave teaching, I knew I wanted to still work with people. Recruiting seemed like a great opportunity to continue to work with people while being able to learn about the tech world. I started at Branch in September of 2019 and am so grateful that I get to help build great teams at Branch, as well as support candidates as they pursue their career aspirations.

I now reside in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco. I coordinate interviews for roles across the organization, including the US, EMEA and APAC. However, I primarily focus on supporting our engineering roles through scheduling and sourcing.

I love working at Branch because…

Everyone is humble, kind-hearted and committed to working hard to change the future of mobile. There are always opportunities to grow, challenge yourself and drive significant impact to Branch’s long term goals.

Three words that describe my approach…

Systematic, proactive & reliable.

How does Branch support candidates during an entirely remote interview process?

Interviewing for a new job remotely can be challenging. There is not an opportunity to meet your future team in person and it can be hard to get a strong understanding of a company’s culture based on reading a few articles and chatting with employees via zoom. Our recruiting team has combated these challenges by adding in a few touches to our interview process to help support candidates. Once candidates make it to the virtual panel stage we send a personalized pdf interview guide that outlines each interview topic, tips for interviewing, an overview of our Branch Values and other resources. Our recruiters also are willing to jump on a call at any point during the hiring process to answer questions and provide guidance or feedback. Even though we are not able to physically meet in person, our team strives to make the hiring process straightforward, supportive and personalized.

Lisa Herz

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Something about me…

After graduating from University of Oregon (go Ducks!), I started my career in Sales Ops at a small consumer electronics startup in Palo Alto, CA, but I quickly realized that wasn’t the career path for me. A friend had recommended that I look into Recruiting roles, and I was lucky enough to find one at an edtech company. After doing both Recruiting and University Recruiting, I knew I had found my passion. It’s so exciting to help people land their dream jobs. I joined Branch in 2018 and am now the Business Recruiting Lead, working mostly with our GTM teams in the US and EMEA. It’s definitely been a wild ride, but I feel incredibly lucky to have had a hand in growing our company significantly, while growing my career as well.

I love working at Branch because…

Hands down it’s the people for me. When I was interviewing with a couple of companies prior to joining Branch, this company stood out to me because of the people I met — it was the first time I left an interview feeling like I genuinely enjoyed the experience (and shouldn’t this be the norm?!). We have a really special group of employees who are incredibly smart, fun, and humble. This makes it exciting to go to work everyday!

Three words that describe my approach…

Consultative, communicative, and persistent :)

What makes Branch’s Recruiting process unique?

We work extremely hard to make the interview process as easy and painless as possible. We all know how scary interviewing can be, and we want to break that stigma. Here are a few things you can expect when you interview with us:

  • A 24-hour SLA (service level agreement): We commit to getting back to our candidates within 24 hours after each step — whether we have an update or not, we’ll never leave you hanging!
  • An interview prep guide: We know that dedicating 3–4 hours of your day to an interview panel with our team is asking a lot, so we want to do all we can to help. We will put together and send you a PDF guide of everything you’ll need to know for the day — your schedule, who you’ll interview with (and LinkedIn profiles for each person), tips for remote interviewing, and write ups on what each interviewer will be focusing on.
  • A fair and consistent process: We want to make sure that we are evaluating all candidates fairly, so we’ve come up with standardized questions for each role (of course there will be some questions specific to you and your background too!).
  • Transparency: This is extremely important to us as a company in everything we do, but even more so in Recruiting. You can expect full transparency, feedback, and honesty from your Recruiter throughout the entire process.

Yana Tychynska

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Something about me…

After I graduated with an International Business major, I moved from Ukraine to the USA where I started my career in Sales Support and Customer Service. After 6 years in that field, I became very curious about Recruiting and the opportunity to help people land their dream jobs. I joined Branch in August 2018 and since then I have had the most amazing journey of my career. Getting to talk with a variety of people every day, exploring their interests, and advocating for them are some of the best parts of recruitment.

Currently, I’m a Technical Recruiter and support the Engineering organization at Branch. I have a passion for working with engineering candidates and love the technical aspect of my job.

I love working at Branch because…

Branch has the most passionate, smart, and kind group of people I have ever worked with. Everyone truly cares about their work, colleagues, and strives to grow and make a difference.

Three words that describe my approach…

Initiative, empathetic, passionate.

Technical interview- Tips and tricks for a live coding session and what to keep in mind?

Most of the engineering interviews consist of technical sessions. Candidates go through the interview process having at least two coding challenges; a technical phone screen and a coding session during the onsite stage — both sessions are 45 minutes long. We provide a coding challenge that ranges from string manipulation to algorithms. Candidates are expected to come up with a working and running solution. Performing well in coding rounds takes a lot of preparation and practice. Here are a few tips on how to succeed during the coding interviews at Branch.

  • Clarify and ask questions. Before diving into coding, plan ahead and make sure you understand the problem. Reiterate your approach to the problem to the interviewer so they can correct you or provide guidance if needed.
  • Communicate. Throughout the coding session think out loud Communication and collaboration skills are important and this is a good opportunity to demonstrate those skills as you code. This is important in order to excel during the interview.
  • Code. Make sure you are comfortable with your programming language of choice. We are looking for clear, readable, working code.
  • Brownie points. If you completed your problem and have time left, use this as an opportunity to describe corner cases, time/space analysis and how you could optimize your code.
  • And last but not least, remember that you are interviewing us as well, so you want to make sure this is a good fit for you. Prepare questions for the interviewer at the end to make sure you have you have all of the information you need.

Shathiya Rengalwar

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Something about me…

I was born and raised in India — an Engineering major who started my career as a Software Engineer and eventually moved into the talent industry because of my passion for all things people. I took some time off when I had my daughter back in 2009 and decided to explore recruiting hoping to help people land their dream job. Recruiting has helped me build deep connections and long term relationships over the years which I value the most. Helping people find the right role can sometimes be part of fundamentally changing their life for the better. Personally, I find the ability to change lives as the most rewarding part of being in recruiting.

I have been a Bay Area resident for more than a decade. I joined Branch in September 2019 and I’m so grateful to be a part of the rocket ship journey. It has been a wild ride so far and we have so much more to go. I’m currently heading the global TA team focusing on defining the long term talent strategy, establishing operating models and processes to help build a rich, diverse team at Branch.

I love working at Branch because…

Smart and humble people who bring their best selves to work every single day. There is tons of opportunity to exercise ownership over the things you are working on, test your ideas and learn from them. Everything you do has a noticeable impact.

Three words that describe my approach…

Empathetic, diligent and persistent

Tips on how to reach out to someone on LinkedIn for a job.

I know from my own personal experience how difficult it can be asking for help, particularly from a random stranger. Finding a job and going through the interview process can be overwhelming. I would say, never start with an apology but be confident and state your message in a clear and crisp way (template messages are the worst so please avoid them). Your goal should be to get the person’s attention and interest faster (and their respect).

  • Be clear and state your purpose — The more clear and direct you are, the more responses you’ll get. Avoid jargon and wordy phrases and say what you really mean.
  • Brevity is important — The message should be short and precise. When somebody opens your outreach message, they’re much more likely to read it and reply to it if it looks manageable and easy to read at first glance. You want it to be inviting to read!
  • Customize and Personalize — Please customize your message to each person. Tweak the messaging based on the individual you are reaching out to (hiring manager, employee, or recruiter). Always remember this will be their first impression of you.
  • Test and fine-tune — It’s important to test a few different messages and see what works best for you. You don’t want to be sending out the same exact message to everyone.

Written by

Head of Talent@Branch

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