Tag Archives: interview

How we hired our first software engineer interns and why they’re awesome

Simplicity is key, it all started with a simple image posted to splinter’s on facebook and in less than 24 hours we had dozens of people interested to join.


This was the first time that splinter.me announced its internship program so I was very excited. But the question that most of us face when looking for an intern, especially for an early stage startup with less than 5 employees (or as we call them splinters) is how to make the right choice in selecting them?

We were not looking for your regular type of an intern who has the basic understanding of technology and programming and is willing to learn new frameworks and tools,. Coz lets face it, I don’t have the time to walk the interns through a Ruby on Rails introduction, or MongoDB crash course, or Neo4j and graph database tutorials, and yes we use all of this tools and a bunch more, and on top of that we certainly don’t have the time to walk them through a code base with more than 25K lines of code.

So how should we conduct the interview and decide without the plain old please solve this algorithm for me, or find the bug in this really complex SQL query (we don’t even use SQL in our stack, not yet anyways)?

So me and Marwan, the super software engineer that I’m lucky and honored to have on-board, decided that during the interview one of us will draw the entire architecture of splinter.me on a whiteboard including the various components that are the building blocks of this platform and how these components interact with each other and also giving them a hint about our future plans and what new features or components we would be happy to have them develop.

The key was to see how will they react to the way we designed the architecture. We knew that some of the elements in the stack they probably never heard about before and some they’d love to learn, but we were testing their passion and their way of thinking by simply watching very closely how they react.

And that’s how we selected both Omnia El.Dawy and Ahmed Salah, and we were really confident that they’re fast learners and that they will add great value to the team. But guess what? They over exceeded our expectations, they’re doing a marvelous job so far and both of them deployed new features developed from scratch in less than a couple of weeks.

So what did we learn? It’s not just about what you know, it’s about what you’re willing to learn! And more importantly, your ability to think out of the box, coz that’s how products are built.

Really proud of all my team and can’t wait to welcome more splinters to our team soon :)

Thanks everyone,

Ahmed El.Hussaini