How to Prepare for Your Zalando Tech Interview

by Lauri Apple - 24 Nov 2015

Think you've got what it takes to work for Zalando's technology team? Here's some advice from Zalando VP Engineering Eric Bowman on what we're looking for.

At Zalando, we are looking for people who:

  • Make it happen
  • Grow stronger every day
  • Always team up and empower others
  • Change the game

Our tech interviewing process is designed to reveal the skills that candidates have (and whether you have represented them honestly and accurately); to understand whether a candidate is someone who will thrive at Zalando; and to determine whether Zalando will be a better place for having hired them.

This isn't an easy place to be: you'll be expected to work hard and be learning all the time. Everyone here is just slightly outside their comfort zone, which can be overwhelming at times. But if you are someone who is passionate about having an impact; driven to build amazing software that you are proud of, and that surprises and delights its users; and committed to working together with others to get the job done, then this is probably a great place for you to be.

We have put in place something we call Radical Agility, which is aimed toward building systems and teams that scale while enabling Zalando Tech to maintain the energy and speed of a startup. We do everything we can to create an environment where teams are autonomous, and where there’s the space to master not just what you are already pretty good at, but also new topics. We want purpose to drive the decisions we make, so we encourage everyone to focus on the *why* behind what we do – not just the how, and the what.

We start from a position of trusting people to make good, peer-reviewed and fact-based decisions. We have built in to both the organization and the system itself the precondition of trust. Reasonable mistakes are not only tolerable, but a source of strength. If you don’t create an environment where mistakes are OK, then you can’t have an environment where innovation can happen. The ability to innovate is one of the things that keeps me loving coming to work every day. You can't plan it, and you don't know what form it will take, but when you create the right conditions for it, for everyone, it just happens.

So: To prepare for an interview, understand the above. If you are an honest, authentic person who treats others well, is passionate about what you do, is humble about what you do not know, and can talk comfortably about all these things, I can't imagine why we wouldn't want to hire you.

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