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How We Hire Engineers at Shepherd

Product & Engineering
Mo El Mahallawy

Mo El Mahallawy

Co-Founder & CTO

September 23, 2021

Much like our company, our interview process is constantly being refined, iterated upon, and improved. As a starting point, we have anchored on a few foundational tenets that we think reflect our core values. The first is fairness – we believe in an unbiased interview process and having a diverse team. The second is people before talent – we will spend as much time getting to know you, your motivations, your aspirations, and goals before we assess your skill set.

What does our process look like?


(1) Initial call w/ CTO

  • Meet Mo, our CTO and Shepherd Co-founder

  • The purpose is to learn about you, your journey, what gets you motivated, and your career goals

  • This is typically a pretty casual "get to know you" conversation

(2a) Meet CEO

  • Meet Justin, our CEO and Shepherd Co-founder

  • We're a small team, and our co-founders spend time with everyone. This is a chance to talk about the company, our strategy, and why we're building Shepherd.

(2b) Take home tech challenge

  • We don’t do leetcode!

  • We do a take-home tech challenge, building a full-stack feature (optionally, backend only)

  • Takes 2-3 hrs to complete, and we give 10 days to complete

(3a) Final team interviews

  • Meet Steve, our Chief Insurance Officer and Shepherd Co-founder

  • Meet the founding engineering team, Danil and Avi

  • We order lunch to the office everyday, so often times we invite candidates to have lunch with all of us together.

(3b) Tech challenge review

  • Review your tech challenge with Mo, talk about decisions made, challenges, and potential improvements

(4) Offer

  • Receive an offer from us

  • Discuss on a call and answer any questions

What can candidates expect?

We move fast!

One of our engineers was ~2 weeks from the initial intro call to offer. We understand your time is valuable and you may be evaluating a number of opportunities. We will work with your timeline and your speed.

You’re going to meet us, all of us.

You’ll have an opportunity to meet most, if not all, of the team and absolutely all three co-founders. At this early stage, we feel strongly that our team is the best part of Shepherd, and want you to be excited about working with each of us!

First and best.

Borrowed from Henry Ward @ Carta. We believe in offers that represent how we value each individual’s skill set and experience, not what we expect to arrive at after a back and forth. Further, negotiations tend to disproportionately hurt certain demographics (often underrepresented groups), and we believe firmly in creating a diverse and inclusive culture at Shepherd.

Two-choices offer.

Every candidate receives an offer with two options; one with higher relative base salary, and another with a larger relative equity package. You can choose whichever is best for you.

We love fun facts.

The process is stressful for all – why not have a little fun with it? I always start by asking “tell me about your story... I don’t mean your professional background but where were you born, grew up, go to school, and more?” We will potentially spend a lot of time alongside each other, and so why not get to know each other’s stories and fun facts?

What do we care about?

People, people, people.

Great people will do great things. You can teach product management, design, and coding, but you cannot teach ambition, curiosity, and eagerness to learn. We lean heavily on finding individuals who are team players, teammates that we can spend the next 5+ years with together, and people who will deeply care about our mission to create a lasting impact on this industry.

We are the product.

Avi, one of our founding engineers, encapsulated the spirit of our current team well in his recent blog post, discussing the value of treating team as a product, and constantly iterating to make ourselves better. We don’t have all the answers, but we care deeply about folks who embrace the opportunity to be part of figuring out what we can become and are excited to be a part of this journey together.

Be a builder.

Raising the bar, caring for others, getting shit done, delivering your best, and doing everything with craft in mind, are all part of being a builder. Being a builder extends beyond just building products but also to how you approach taking on challenges. We care deeply that you are proud of what you do at Shepherd.

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