How My Interview Process Reflected Life at Enova

By: Irshad Ahmed, Software Engineer

I have interviewed with a handful of companies over my career, and I’ve learned, time after time, that the best representative of company culture for an interviewee is their interview process. I’ve found this to be especially true at Enova.

My story with Enova began when I wasn’t looking for a job. I was working as a Java developer in the loop and was content with my work and workplace. But one of my connections, then a manager at Enova, would often tell me stories about his office; I could be subtle and claim that this “sparked my curiosity”, but in all honestly, I was convinced without having to be convinced that I needed to check it out. So, I asked to be referred to an open position at Enova. It seemed like the only place I would like the move to, if I moved at all.

Right from the start, it was obvious to me that Enova was a place where people move fast and operate as owners. The recruiter I worked with throughout my process, Ashley, emailed me 3 hours after the referral was submitted. Yes, I wrote three, and I also wrote hours. Enough had been said. The initial phone screen went well, and so did the technical phone screen a couple of days later. More important to me, however, was the realization of how quickly Enova was moving with the process. Gone was the delayed deliberation after each round. Ashley would inform me of the decision less than 24 hours after each interview!

There were a couple of directions in Ashley’s email about my on-site interview that stumped me. First, she mentioned that my resume would not be needed. Yes, I read that part of her email twice. (After joining Enova I learned that the software engineering team was piloting removing resumes from the interview process to reduce any unconscious bias.)

Second, she said that I did not need to be dressed formally because most employees here come in wearing jeans — even shorts. At this point I was convinced this was a test, and I proceeded to wear a 3 piece suit to my on-site interview, replete with a tie and tie-pin. I shall not detail my subsequent regret, but leave it be with just the confession that the Director of Software Engineering, at the end of his interview with me, said, “Next time you come into the office, you don’t need to wear a suit.” I remember those words every morning to this date, while picking my day’s attire for work.

My on-site interviews were certainly the most unique set I’ve had. I spoke to a number of people, and our interactions were mostly very informal and easy-going. Interviewers wanted me to solve the problems and understand my thought process and skillsets, rather than focus on finding flaws with my solution.

All traces of doubt I had about my prospective decision of leaving my then-current employer had been alleviated by the time I was through my second interview. The people appeared kind and the place was laid-back and welcoming, which is a far cry from the cut-throat culture that many, many software companies today proudly harbor and even encourage.

What the speed of process, lack of resumes, casual dress code, conversational interviews and focus on uncovering skills showed me is that Enova is a place where people value accountability and results over politics as well as unique skills and innovative contributions over thinking like everyone else.

During my time with Enova, I’ve seen this collaborative, fast-paced, innovative and result-driven attitude reflected in many ways through formal programs, our values and our culture. When tackling a challenging big project, we each pick a major chunk of it and get it done. If we have an idea or see something that would benefit the company, we’re empowered to see it through. People at Enova are smart, and we challenge each other to be our best while also helping each other succeed.

Most importantly, over a year after joining Enova, I haven’t had a single morning where I had to convince myself out of bed to head to work. The culture Enova has fostered is exemplary, and the people I get to work with are exceptional. Some of my colleagues have become close friends of mine.

Most people make money at work, but I have made progress, memories and friends to boot.

Want to join me? Check out the Enova careers page. Life is short. Work someplace awesome.

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