Your questions about our hiring process, answered
When it comes to hiring processes, “rigorous” and “opaque” are often mistakenly conflated. For us, it’s always a mutual exchange, so we think it’s important that candidates have a clear understanding of the process and what we’re looking for.
With offices around the globe and over 1,000 team members (and counting), we are hiring for many positions across all experience levels. But whether you’re a senior Software Engineer, a mid-career Product Marketer, a junior UI/UX Designer, or anywhere in between, as a company we employ a rigorous, multi-step process to ensure each candidate is a great fit for ExpressVPN (and vice versa).
We spoke to the head of our talent acquisition department to find out more about the hiring process at ExpressVPN and what his team of recruiters looks out for when speaking with potential candidates.
What is the general flow of the hiring process at ExpressVPN?
The hiring process is broken into a few different stages:
The application: In this stage, the candidate will submit their resume to ExpressVPN and may be asked to answer a few short questions over email for us to get a better picture of their experience.
The introduction: This stage consists of a video call with one of our talent acquisition team members, followed by a one-on-one video call with the hiring manager. At this stage, candidates have the opportunity to learn more about ExpressVPN in general and can ask one-on-one questions about the role, the team, and more.
Read more: How to ace your ExpressVPN interview
The interview loop: If we establish that it's a fit for both parties, we then move to the next step, the “interview loop,” which is a series of more in-depth interviews and exercises (done in person at one of our offices where possible).
This is a great opportunity for candidates to meet potential coworkers (both on their team and in other functions), and assesses specific areas that we think are critical to success in the role. It’s also another chance for candidates to ask questions (which we very much encourage!).
The trial project: Next up, candidates take on a trial project. Depending on the function, they might be asked to solve challenges we anticipate could realistically arise in their role or to create a page or product similar to what they’d be doing on the job. Trial projects are often hypothetical exercises or relate to problems we’ve already solved, but we want to see how candidates would approach them, as our main aim is to gain a better understanding of a candidate’s thought process. Trial projects are also a great chance for candidates to demonstrate their skills (we know not everyone shines in interviews) and get a real feel for the actual kinds of work their role could entail.
Note that for some roles, candidates will complete a trial project before entering an interview loop.
Final-round interview: If all goes well on both fronts, there will be a final round of interviews, which may include a feedback session on the trial project.
Offer and reference check: Finally, there’s the offer stage. Once a candidate has accepted an offer and given notice, we initiate a reference check: With their permission and help, we’ll look to speak with one or more former managers and potentially other colleagues. In the meantime, start looking forward to onboarding!
What is the average duration of the entire process — from screening candidates, to interviewing them, to the offer stage?
The duration can vary greatly, largely due to the need to align the schedules of the candidate and interviewers. The process can be as quick as two or three weeks, but often takes more time, especially for candidates who are working around the demands of their current job.
The ultimate aim of our process is to ensure candidates have an aptitude for the role and are also a good culture fit, as well as give candidates a thorough opportunity to assess for themselves if this is the right place to contribute and grow their career—thus, timelines may vary based on the role and person. Talk to your recruiter when you apply, and they’ll be happy to provide more clarity on your particular situation.
Can you give any examples of a typical trial project?
Each position has a bespoke interview plan aimed to assess the attributes that are important to that specific role, and the same goes for trial projects. For a general example, software engineering candidates might work on coding challenges based on the programming language they’re most familiar with. Engineering candidates can also expect to receive code reviews and experience feedback the way an ExpressVPN employee would.
Are there particular traits talent acquisition managers look for when screening candidates?
“Culture fit” is a given, although that can mean dramatically different things at different companies. At ExpressVPN, we’re looking for candidates who are curious and collaborative, possess a positive problem-solving attitude, and demonstrate a growth mindset. We’re very much a company that focuses on teamwork and encourages learning and trying new things, no matter your level or position.
Successful candidates are also likely to demonstrate a commitment to our core values of purpose and progress. We want you to want to grow with us, as well as be able to translate your skills and experience into a positive impact for both your colleagues and our users.
What’s a common quality you’ve noticed among all successful hires?
Great communication and collaboration skills. We believe that individual excellence is necessary, but not sufficient—teamwork and positive relationships are fundamental to how we work at ExpressVPN. Our hiring process tests for many qualities beyond functional expertise, and candidates who demonstrate an ability to collaborate and communicate effectively really stand out.
Of course, we recognize that everyone still has room to grow in these areas, so communication, feedback, and teamwork workshops are a central part of our learning and development curriculum too!
Think ExpressVPN is the right place for you? We’re hiring across many departments all around the globe. Check out our current job openings!