Data hiring at Monzo: The interview process

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Interviewing isn’t easy - in fact, sometimes it’s the opposite. Whether you’re totally ready for a change or are just exploring your options, it can be daunting to put yourself out there and share your experiences with other companies.

Some companies thrive on keeping their interview processes quiet, but at Monzo we prefer to default to transparency, so we want to talk about how we hire in Data, and why we do it this way.

We hire lots of different people in Data - Machine Learning Scientists, Analytics Engineers, Data Scientists and Data Analysts who join us to work in a lot of different teams, from Financial Crime to Personal Banking.

Our interviews are designed to do two things: teach you about Monzo and capture information that tells us the role is right for you. In general, all our individual contributor roles in Data follow the same structure:

  • Recruiter call

  • Initial call

  • Take home task

  • Final interview

  • Decision

Most of the interviews will be conducted by other Data Scientists or Data Managers, including your future teammates, but we also make sure that you get the chance to meet some of your potential team mates like Product Managers and Engineers, so that you can really get a feel for who you’d be working with.

Getting into the process

We have a career site where we regularly update our open roles - the best way to apply is through this page. We’re generally very good at spotting relevant applications, so rather than applying to every position that you think could be a match, it’s better to select one or two that you’re especially interested in and apply to those. If we think you’re a better fit for something else, we’ll let you know.

Like most companies, our recruiters also send out a lot of messages on LinkedIn, so having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile (and even noting that you’re ‘open to Opportunities’) is another great way to get into process.

Recruiter Call

The majority of our hiring processes start out with a 30 minute recruiter call.

This is a chance for you to chat with the key person in our hiring team who will be with you along the entire hiring process, and find out about the roles we have open and what your hiring process will look like.

The recruiter will ask some questions about your experience and what you’re looking to get out of a new role. The purpose of the call is to ensure you’re both comfortable that the role you’ve applied for is definitely the best fit for you. The role of the recruiter is to be as candid as possible, supporting you on your interviewing journey.

Initial Call

There are two key elements to a first stage call: finding out more about the skills you’ve described on your CV, and telling you more about the impact we think you could have at Monzo.

For the most part, in the first call we just want to focus on the essentials. Your interviewer will introduce themselves and tell you what they do, and then give you a chance to introduce yourself. Think of this part as a highlight reel - we’ll ask some specific questions too, so don’t worry about telling us everything up front. For the main part of the interview, we’ll ask you some general questions - some behavioural, and maybe some light technicals questions, and we’ll also ask you to talk us through a project. This project deep dive is a chance for you to tell us what excites you in your work. In data at Monzo, we care a lot about making an impact and diving into a project that you feel good about, helps us to understand what this means for you. We know that interviews equal nerves, so feel free to take a few moments to gather your thoughts; we love hearing a story when it comes to data. When you’ve finished this, we’ll ask our follow up questions.

We might ask about something that you haven’t done in this project, but have done in others. Don’t panic! We know that not every piece of work requires you to flex all of your skills - so we’re happy for you to talk about different projects during these questions.

We’ll also talk more about Monzo. We’ll not only tell you about the role, but about the team you’ve applied for and how they impact the rest of Monzo (including our customers). We’ll help you understand how we structure our teams and some of the different areas we’re hiring into as well, in case there’s another role that you find more interesting. Lastly, we’ll leave some time for you to ask all your questions. We love to talk about what we do, so ask away!

Technical take home task

After the initial call, we usually move into a take home task stage. We’ve chosen to use take-home tasks because it enables people to take a technical problem away and have the time and space to think about it (instead of being presented with a technical problem in front of a panel of interviewers); equally, this means that the subsequent stages of the interview can go into more depth, because we can use the take home task as a starting point.

We don’t set a time limit or ask you to answer textbook-style questions. Instead, we’ve designed exercises that are role-specific: they allow us to see both your technical skills, and your critical thinking - how you approach a problem. We find that this gives you a chance to really jump in and get a feel for the type/structure of problems that you’d be working on with us. While the problem isn’t always an exact match for the type of things you’d be doing if you join us, it lets you understand more about how we solve problems and how we use data to impact our customers. It helps you get a feel for the type of work you’d be doing at Monzo.

We do provide some guidance around what you’ll need to do during the task, such the type of output we’re wanting to see (usually something like a slide deck or presentation), but in terms of the specific approaches, we leave some things intentionally vague because we want to see the decisions that you make along the way. You have the flexibility to make some assumptions/use your insights from the data, to decide what's best to do - it’s always fun seeing which route you decide to take.

We may do a follow up interview to this task to talk through your solution and thinking. We understand there are multiple approaches to everything and if elements of the task aren’t clear we’ll walk through it with you. In some cases, we just want to hear more about the decisions you’ve made, or about how your approach would have been different if we changed something about the problem, so that we can see how deeply you’ve thought about the implications of your choices. Your recruiter will always let you know what to expect from these conversations.

Final on site interviews

Our final interviews vary across roles in Data, but they tend to follow the same breakdown. There are two key components:

Case studies

Our case studies give you the opportunity to get a feel for the structure and scope of the problems we solve. These don’t focus on live coding; the interviewers will share a document with you and give some context around a use case. This is often something that we've solved (or need to solve) at Monzo and is a great chance for you to get your teeth into the type of impact we're having. You'll have the opportunity to ask any questions, and then the interviewers will give you some time to prepare your answers. They can even leave the call for a few minutes— this is just so that can start formulating your ideas, without the pressure of having people watching over you!

Once you’ve gathered your thoughts, we’ll come back together and have you talk us through your proposed solution. This is really more of a conversation, where you’ll share your ideas and we’ll guide the discussion to allow us to dig deeper. We’ll never try and trip you up - we might try to challenge your assumptions, or prod you in the right direction if you’re missing something, but our interviews are designed to let you show what you do well, and what you enjoy.

Business Fit/Collaboration

This interview might have a slightly different name depending on which role you’re interviewing for, but across all roles it’s a really important element of how we interview.

At Monzo, we care a lot about impact and collaboration, and being able to work in a cross-functional environment is a really important element of success. That means that during the final interview, we believe it’s important that you get to meet some of the people that you’ll be working with outside of the data discipline. This might be a Product Manager, Business Analyst or Engineer, depending on the role you’re applying for.

This is a much more situational interview. We want to hear about what you’ve done and about what motivates you. We’ll ask to hear about some of the key things you’ve delivered over your career - both your successes and your challenges.

Final Decision

We usually aim to make a decision and let you know within a week (and quicker when we can). To make this decision, we get everyone who interviewed you together in a room - virtual or otherwise. We look at all elements of the interview process and discuss your strengths (as well development areas) with your hiring manager, and ultimately make a decision. To hold ourselves accountable to good interview standards, we have a ‘Hiring Mentor’ (or Bar Raiser as they are sometimes called) review the whole interview packet to ensure we have gathered clear signal we need to make a decision. They also help spot, remove and educate on things like bias, tone of voice and values/behaviours alignment, ensuring Monzo continuously improves the interview experience.

By doing this, we not only ensure that we can make a fair decision, but that we are able to get a really measured view of which team within Monzo will best suit your skills and needs. We want to make sure that you’re in a space where you’ll get to work on the things you enjoy doing and are passionate about, but where you’ll also get the support and guidance you need to help you grow and develop at Monzo.

If we feel like there’s a good fit, we’ll make an offer 🎉

Interested in knowing more about our process or roles? That’s great, because we’re hiring 🚀 take a look at our open roles here -