We’re sharing stories of people who have recently found exciting new roles through Otta. We hope reading about these experiences will show you what it's like to secure a job and be onboarded at a fast-growing tech company.
At Otta, we're laser focused on helping smart, ambitious candidates to find roles at the world's most innovative companies.
Theo Barber-Bany recently started working at fintech scale-up GoCardless as a Site Reliability Engineer, a position he found using Otta. We caught up with Theo two months into his role to chat about his experience finding and settling into his new company.
So, how did you end up working at GoCardless?
In March 2020, at the start of the lockdown, the company I was working for shut down an entire portion of the business, and so I got laid off, along with 30 other people, which wasn’t great. Both bad luck and bad timing!
I’d actually signed up to Otta a few months previously and was already receiving job alerts. I’d checked out a few roles and done a few interviews, but hadn’t found anything perfect yet. About this time, the Otta CV tool was released and I tried it. The pointers really helped me to streamline my CV and cut it down to a single page. I quickly swapped out my old CV and immediately saw a marked increase in response rates from the companies I was applying to. About a week later, Anthony (one of the internal recruiters at GoCardless) reached out to me directly via the platform and asked me if I’d be interested in setting up a call. It went from there, really – it was a smooth and seamless process.
I’ve made the mistake of dealing with recruiters-for-profit in the past, who were really frustrating (I’ll hold my tongue there). But in short, it was a painful process, which made this comparatively a breath of fresh air.
What did the recruitment process look like?
It started with a phone screen with the internal recruiting team, before I was invited to two further stages. First, I had to log on to a VM (virtual machine) and complete a number of tasks whilst speaking with a current member of the team.
And second, a more intensive day where I had three interviews. One for company values, a coding session, and then one for technical problem-solving. Then, they made me an offer!
Why did you choose to accept the offer from GoCardless?
After they made me an offer, I did my own due diligence and research before accepting. At that point, I had a few other offers from other companies, which made it a tough decision.
Diversity and inclusion was a huge thing for me. Having worked in a few positions in tech before I knew it could be pretty homogeneous. Having some visibility of the fact that GoCardless was different was important to me – they make more of an effort to drive change, which I think is great and was definitely a deciding factor!
Tell me about your new role at GoCardless.
I’m currently working as a Site Reliability Engineer, which means that my team are one of a few that are responsible for scaling and maintaining the technical infrastructure that allows the company to grow.
At the moment I work in a team of eight, solving all sorts of interesting problems across the business, like: how can we automate as many of our processes as possible, so that there are fewer internal bottlenecks, and we can act as more of a force multiplier. We’ve also been working on maturing our platform, creating richer metrics and improving security controls. Improving upon what we already have.
What was your experience of starting at GoCardless?
The biggest takeaway I had was simple: everyone was really, really nice. Being onboarded remotely, regardless of the pandemic (in July 2020), was always going to be a bit strange. A lot of nonverbal social cues and ways you get to know people in person just don’t translate that well over Zoom. But that being said, I felt the team did an amazing job at making me feel welcome and getting me up to speed as quickly as possible.
GoCardless is a relatively large company with over 300 employees – at least compared to my last company of about 80 – which felt a bit daunting at first, but also means there’s more of a clear direction and established processes.
My onboarding lasted about a week, covering topics like internal processes, culture and compliance. I was onboarded in a small cohort which consisted of people from all sides of the business, which helped the process to feel less isolating and helped me to understand the company culture first hand.
For my first month, I was then paired with someone more senior in my team to collaborate on a piece of work. All of the new joiners (along with a few veterans) had a virtual lunch in the first week, which was a nice touch. It was a great opportunity to chat and feel welcome.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve worked on so far?
It’s an internal project building out a service registry as a part of a revamp of our infrastructure tooling. It’s a structure that tracks all people, services and systems that interact with our infrastructure. The registry defines what is created, rather than describing it. We hope it will allow us to move towards a more automated way of deploying services internally.
Ultimately, it will allow these engineers to utilise the full capabilities of our technology stack, without having to invest months and months of learning time upfront.
Do you have any advice for someone interviewing at GoCardless?
Try to be as genuine as possible, whilst keeping the company’s values front of mind. This is one of the things GoCardless optimises quite heavily for during the interview process (there’s also a great blog post on our website about it).
“Start with why, take pride, act with integrity, and be humble” – everyone I’ve come into contact with at the company so far really does embody and try to live those values, which makes for a really great place to work.
Found a job through Otta and want to share your story? We'll organise a Zoom call to learn more about your experience, and then give you £25 in Amazon vouchers as a thank you. If you’re interested, email me at email@example.com with a bit about yourself and your new role (a few short bullets is fine!).