O'Reilly Media Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Community Manager Interview (Negative Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at O'Reilly Media in September 2012.
Interview Details – Totally disorganized hiring process. First interview was a panel (surprise!) that they purposely sprung on me to test my public speaking skills. I didn't hear from them for a month and then was called back in to meet one of the higher ups. Another few weeks went by and the panel wanted to meet me again because a couple months passed and they'd obviously forgotten what we discussed in our first interview. At this point I'd found another position and declined. They seem to do everything by committee which was a big warning sign.
Interview Question – Can't remember anything being that challenging. Standard questions. Answer Question
Community Manager, Web Operations & Performance Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at O'Reilly Media in July 2014.
Interview Details – I applied via Jobvite for this role on June 15, 2014 and got my rejection 6 weeks later on July 21st. I got an email for the screening interview on June 30th, and the phone interview happened on Tuesday, July 1st. I got positive feedback and had a phone interview with the manager who would have been my supervisor the next day on Wednesday, July 2nd. I'm thinking great because so many employers drag and don't keep you up to date on the process. O'Reilly initially struck me as a place that was different.
I got through that interview with positive feedback and got an assignment the next week on July 9th. It was 7 days after the interview, so I was getting worried. But with the 4th of July weekend and the hiring process is just slower in the summer, so I was willing to be patient.
They gave me 24 hours to complete the assignment. I'd just gotten back from a road trip, and would have preferred knowing when it was coming. However, I didn't want to come off as unreliable or as someone who can't take something unexpected and run with it. I got to work and got it done. I got great feedback and was invited to come in for an in-person interview with 6 people. I also had to fill out an online application with references and a signature clause acknowledging that, if offered, my employment would be at will.
The interview was in their Sebastopol office. It was 90 minutes: a 30 minute one-on-one interview with the person who'd be my supervisor, a 30 minute interview with a panel of three marketing managers, and a 30 minute interview with two community managers. One community manager asked me to put together some samples of my social media work but never followed up with giving me her email. I sent her a tweet asking for it, but didn't get a reply. I went ahead, got it done, and forwarded what she asked for to the HR manager. That way she would get it ASAP. I get a call the next morning from the HR manager asking me what I thought. She said I got good feedback and asked if I had any questions. She then said the person who'd be my supervisor had a few more questions for me, and asked if I had time later that day. I did, and she said she'd get back to me to let me know when that call would happen.
Instead, I get an email from the manager who wanted to talk to me asking if I had time a week later. That threw me into a bit of a panic because I was now wondering if this was a stall tactic. Who can't carve out 10-15 minutes for a call with a candidate they're seriously considering? I was stuck, but wanted to be a good sport and show that I could roll with the unexpected. I scheduled the interview and set it up as a Google+ Hangout. A week later the call happened. It lasted maybe 15 minutes, and felt positive. Unfortunately, I got an email later that day saying thanks but no thanks.
While I was writing an email thanking the manager for her time, I must have gotten the rejection in my inbox at the same time. Imagine how I felt when I saw that. I replied. Thanking them again and asking what was the reason. I got a reply saying they wanted someone with more community building experience with a large company. None of that came up during any of my interviews because I could have made my case. And, as I know people at big companies who build community, their likelihood of poaching someone from one of those places is pretty low.
Interview Question – What was most unexpected was the second screening call where I was asked questions that I'd already answered (can I work on my own? Yes - proven as much by starting my own business and sustaining it for 3 plus years) and a couple of new ones about professionalism and work-life balance. And, again, it was such a short call that I feel It could have happened days earlier. It gave me the impression that the manager was prone to second-guessing herself, but I'll never know. I do feel like it was random to be cut after a 15 minute final call for a reason that was never discussed during the interview process. Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
Human Resources Assistant Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1 week - interviewed at O'Reilly Media in January 2012.
Interview Details – Brief conversation with H.R. Director followed by a phone call with staffing agency.
Interview Question – None. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – H.R. Director told me the pay, asked if it was OK, and I accepted.
Production Editor Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at O'Reilly Media in March 2009.
Interview Details – Initial phone interview with HR, then an in-person interview with the hiring manager, and then a small group interview with staff members. Also had to take a copyediting test. All employees were very friendly, and the interviews were casual but also serious. The work culture is quiet, laid back, humorous, and serious all at the same time. People are cooperative and willing to listen.
- How would you handle difficult authors? Answer Question
- Give examples of your skills with desktop publishing software. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Not applicable
Production Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at O'Reilly Media in July 2007.
Interview Details – My initial communication was a phone interview with the hiring manager. From there, we had a 1 on 1 interview in which he asked questions about my previous experience and some "personality" questions. One questions was "If you consider two ways of writing code, one where you plan out the entire architecture and one where you just start writing and plan as you go, where would you rank yourself on that continuum?"
The office culture was clearly closed and not friendly; noone noticed me walking in. I wasn't offered coffe or water; I wasn't greeted by anyone but the hiring manager. The interview ended at 12:30 pm and I wasn't offered lunch.
Interview Question – What do you do when you consider yourself "blocked" on a project? View Answer
Negotiation Details – Somewhat; the salary offer was very low and the benefits are poor. I was able to negotiate 10% increase in salary and no increase in benefits.