Help Scout Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Help Scout Interview Questions

Interviews at Help Scout

19 Interview Reviews

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  1. Helpful (5)  

    Java Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Help Scout (Boston, MA) in May 2016.

    Interview

    I applied for a position as a Java software engineer. I have experience at a public company working on terabyte-level Oracle data warehouses, Oracle Exadata, and an ecosystem of Java web services. Since Help Scout only has 6,000 customers, I thought I'd be a fit for the requirement of "building RESTful APIs and other web services at scale".

    The online application requires coding a simple Java method to determine if a string starts with an uppercase letter. I provided 3 options for the solution: 1) using isUpperCase; 2) using an ASCII char code range; 3) using REGEX. I unit tested the solution (just to be paranoid) and it worked fine.

    Two days later they emailed me stating that I didn't make the next round of their search, and that "sometimes it's simply not the right combination of skills/experience". I had just started my job search and was eager to improve my resume, so I sent several followup emails asking for constructive feedback on how I could have stood out more. My emails were ignored.

    It's a negative signal when a company isn't transparent about their hiring criteria and is unwilling to provide any feedback for a candidate. I've hired numerous candidates into senior engineering roles and I always provide constructive feedback when requested, since I feel that flat-out ignoring candidates is rude and unhelpful.

    It's worth noting that immediately after I applied, Help Scout emailed me an Equal Employment Opportunity form requesting my ethnicity, gender, and disability status. I declined to provide that information. This practice is common at larger companies, but Help Scout is a small 18-person engineering team. Whether my refusal was a factor in their decision is unknown, since Help Scout has refused to respond to any requests for constructive feedback.

    Perhaps it's a great place to work, but not a great place to apply.

    Interview Questions

    • Write a method to determine if a string starts with an uppercase letter.   1 Answer

    Help Scout Response

    Feb 2, 2017 – Engineering Coach

    Thanks very much for taking the time to leave this feedback. While we try to provide candidates an excellent experience, it sounds like we came up short. I wish I could provide concrete feedback to... More


  2. Helpful (4)  

    Java Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 5 days. I interviewed at Help Scout in June 2016.

    Interview

    After filling in an application form on their website with basic questions and a simple coding example, I was contacted to begin remote interviews over video (using appear.in). This happened fairly quickly.

    I interviewed with (who I believe would normally be called) the manager and then a developer. The questions were solid and meaningful (no goofy, unhelpful teasers). Both people were sharp and friendly, the kind of people you would like to work with.

    After I passed that round, I had a remote video discussion with their People Ops (HR) representative about the process. I learned my next step would be a small software project to be submitted and judged. If I passed that round, I would then interview with another developer and then someone like a CTO/VP IT/etc (they have a flat org structure).

    The project given to me took more time than was advertised but I didn't mind. However, I did run out of time personally as my family was struck by illness. So I didn't complete everything I should have. I also took shortcuts and wrote experimental modules that you wouldn't for a real project but I assumed they just wanted to see my style, to see how I thought out problems in real time, etc.

    However, I was mostly wrong. I misjudged the goal and thus did not effectively use the little time I had. I can't say exactly what they were looking for since I didn't achieve it, but I would say focus on completing the requirements, keep everything standard and clean, and show your mastery of the technology.

    So I failed the project portion and that was the end. The developer sent back thoughtful and accurate critiques of my project. They were kind and professional in their resolution.

    I'd recommend applying to Help Scout. They seem like a great company and everyone I talked to was spot-on someone I want to work with. But learn from my mistakes and set aside ample time for a complete, clean project submission.

    Interview Questions

  3. Helpful (14)  

    Javascript Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took a week. I interviewed at Help Scout in February 2018.

    Interview

    I interviewed with engineering+product executive and we did not mesh well in our communication style. It wasn't a technical nor behavioral interview.

    First, he was adamant about using this appear.in site to do video chat. It didn't work for me the first time and he immediately went on the offensive to say that it wasn't his issue. Even if his computer is perfectly configured for appear.in and mine is not, this negative comment wasn't necessary. I had been on google video chat twice earlier that day and it wasn't fine, and of course I wasn't so rude as to point out may not be me (it could be that the issue might be coming from appear.in). He did not want to call me on my phone because he needed to take note while talking to me.

    When we met the second time, I used my boyfriend's computer and also bought a new headset, just in case. Unfortunately, the video wasn't working and we again had to reschedule. As I was speaking and trying to wrap up our call, he cut me off by saying, he needs to get off the call and he sensed some push back from me. His negative perception of people is simply warped.

    When we chat for the third time, he asked me to describe my background. While I was talking, he appeared immediately annoyed and cut me off by saying "You cannot go into that level of details. You only have 2 minutes to talk about your background." I looked at my time stamp at it was 9:43AM, 13 minutes into our interview. Why would you interview someone if you have absolutely zero interest to get to know them?

    I question why would this person want to interview me in the first place. He wasn't minutely interested in my background - both as a startup founder and engineer. He didn't ask about what I technologies I had worked on. I had managed to raise $250k the past year for my startup. He asked condescendingly if it was from friends and family, which isn't the case. None of my angel investors is related to me.

    My conclusion after this interview was that this work environment is full of negative energy. Impatience, rudeness, rigidity, and disrespect make up the culture of this company. Two things I expect if I were to work here:

    1. expect to be cut off while speaking because my voice doesn't matter.
    2. If bug occurs and things don't go as well as planned, expect myself to be on the receiving end of the blame.

    Here's a suggestion to Help Scout: You are not required to interview every candidate you see on paper. But if you do, treat us with respect. It's only basic common courtesy.

    Help Scout Response

    Feb 15, 2018 – VP Engineering

    I’m so sorry you had a negative experience interviewing with me. I admit that the technical difficulties did put a wrench in the works for me in terms of making the most of our time together and I... More


  4. Helpful (6)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Interview

    Going through the resume. The interviewer is pretty rude and condescending. Asks if you have any questions, but then immediately responds with "it's in the ad description" or "we have a blog post about that". Doesn't seem to be a great work culture.

    Also, they mentioned they would move to the next step in the interview process and never did. Very unprofessional.

    Interview Questions

    • go through every job in your resume in order   1 Answer

    Help Scout Response

    Mar 3, 2018 – Head of People Operations

    Becca here. I'm the Head of People Ops at Help Scout. I'm so sorry you've had a negative experience interviewing with us. :( We do sometimes refer to blog posts so candidates can get a deeper... More


  5. Helpful (4)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Phoenix, AZ
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Help Scout (Phoenix, AZ) in January 2018.

    Interview

    Online video call. Interviewer was condescending and didn't really listen to any of my answers. Was interviewed by a non engineer. After the interview I did not want to pursue the job anymore. Would not interview with this company again. Would not recommend to a friend.

    Interview Questions

    • What have you done to help a customer directly with a software issue?   Answer Question

    Help Scout Response

    Jan 25, 2018 – Head of People Operations

    Becca here. I'm the Head of People Ops at Help Scout. We're always looking for ways to improve our hiring process so thanks very much for your feedback - I appreciate it.


  6. Helpful (3)  

    UI Designer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 5 days. I interviewed at Help Scout (Boston, MA) in January 2017.

    Interview

    I got an email to request a time for a video interview. I met with the head of design. We chatted for about an hour about my skillset and how the company works. He gave me a good sense of what the culture was like at HelpScout. He was open about the hiring process and that there were a lot of qualified candidates that had also submitted applications.

    Interview Questions

    • They asked about the kind of design software I prefer.   1 Answer

    Help Scout Response

    Feb 15, 2017 – Head of People Operations

    We did have a lot of applicants for this role which made it tough to choose who moved on to the next step. We really appreciate the time you spent interviewing with us and thanks for your review!


  7.  

    Account Executive Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Help Scout.

    Interview

    Call with hiring manager, followed by calls with VP, COO and presentation portion. I made it to the hiring manager call, then pulled out.

    It was a big plus to speak to the hiring manager so quickly instead of jumping through hoops first. It was quite was refreshing and I applaud HelpScout for eliminating that barrier, at least for their sales hiring process.

    
That being said, a 30 minute interview is not enough time to do anything more than mechanically sort through a pile of applicants with templated questions. I do wish we had more time to have an actual discussion about business challenges in more depth. It came across as less of a conversation to mutual benefit, and more of a "read your resumé to me and I'll sort you into a bucket" call. Frankly, I expected more from a company with a really good (though limited in sample size) Glassdoor score.

    WHAT MADE ME PULL OUT-- was that the hiring manager seemed wholly unqualified. I actually made (much) more money in my last salaried role as compared to their last salaried position prior to HelpScout. This normally wouldn't be an issue or even worth mentioning, but is a massive red flag for leadership in a sales organization. It also struck me as potentially nepotic given nearly every subordinate member of the team came from that exact same past company. Certainly do your own research, but be cognizant of what seems like a peculiar political dynamic.

    Interview Questions

    Help Scout Response

    Jun 28, 2018 – People Ops

    Hey there! Thanks for this feedback. I’m glad that you feel that there is a lot of value to speaking with the hiring manager first thing. We’re experimenting with different processes, but I agree... More

  8. Helpful (4)  

    Software Developer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Help Scout (Boston, MA) in July 2016.

    Interview

    I applied online. Was later interviewed on appear.in. First round was 2 short interviews with a team leader and a developer. The team leader was nice and friendly. Asked mostly general questions about my background and qualifications. The developer asked me general simple screening questions about databases, Object Oriented design and Solr/Elastic Search.

    Next had an interview with someone from the HR. Again simple questions about the salary and joining date. Was told that a project will be sent that I have to work on.

    The project was actually bigger than what they described. They said it should take a day or two; however, the requirements were actually somewhat vague. They assumed that I already had experience in Solr or Elastic Search.

    I completed the project and received a general email saying that my work doesn't align with their design and testing goals. They did mention some general negatives and positives in the mail, but they didn't discuss anything with me. Due to the vague nature of the requirements I had to assume a lot and didn't pay much attention to the end resulting code which seems was their main goal.

    My advice is to deliver clean code with clean unit tests. Don't over abstract nor chose certain design decisions that has to be explained in person. Go for a simple clean design that satisfies the requirements.

    One thing that caught my attention is that the developer kept over repeating that reviews for the project will be anonymous. I also noticed that no Asians nationalities were mentioned in the development teams favoring eastern Europeans countries.

    Interview Questions

    • Explain normalization vs denormalization   Answer Question
    • Explain a database index   Answer Question
    • Difference between Inheritance and Composition   Answer Question
    • Project: Build a REST API to create, update, select and delete users. Build an end point to return duplicate users using Solr or Elastic Search.   Answer Question

    Help Scout Response

    Feb 2, 2017 – Engineering Coach

    Thank you for taking the time to leave a review on your interviews at Help Scout, and I apologize that your experience was less than stellar. I am always looking for ways we can improve our interview... More


  9. Helpful (4)  

    Content Strategist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Salt Lake City, UT
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took a week. I interviewed at Help Scout (Salt Lake City, UT) in April 2018.

    Interview

    About 1 week after applying online for the remote position of Content Strategist, I received a request to schedule a time for a video conference call interview.

    I was told at the very beginning of the interview that it would be very casual, just to get to know me and everything seemed to go really well. I was even asked to present writing samples to review before the next stage of the process.

    Within 24 hours I had received an email saying that I was not the right fit for the position. The woman I interviewed with was nice enough, I just felt she had me curate my samples with no real interest in reviewing them.

    Interview Questions

    • What's your favorite part of the content creation process?   Answer Question

  10. Helpful (1)  

    QA Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Help Scout (Boston, MA) in March 2016.

    Interview

    I found the interview process to be very thorough and professional. In total I had 5 interviews (via appear.in) and a small project to complete. The first three interviews were relaxed, friendly, informal 'chats' that felt loosely designed to glean whether my skill set and experience was at their desired level for the role, and also to discern whether my personality was a good fit for the company. I really appreciated this - it was quite obvious that the company ethos would be an extension of the interviews, and employment would stretch beyond a simple employer-employee relationship. It felt like you'd be joining a (happy?) family.

    Apparently I was a good fit. After the first three interviews it was time for the project test, which they said would be submitted anonymously to avoid adjudicator bias. This was very encouraging for me. I'm a firm believer in the importance of hiring people based on the quality of their skill set, and that employment candidates aren't unfairly dismissed because of a bias against their gender, race or sexuality. Again, it just made me think that I was applying for a company that really cared. The project was fun, though a little vague in it's requirements. At first, I found this a little disgruntling, but with a little thought, realised that this was likely to be intentional and perhaps a realistic scenario for how remote working might actually be at times. I had a question about the project, so I asked it, got an answer, and then knuckled down for 12 hours. I really enjoyed it - working on a product that was so obviously going to benefit a lot of businesses was great.

    After submitting the project, I then had to wait for a response. I was one of the first to submit - and therefore the one who had to wait the longest. I recall waiting for around 3 weeks before finally receiving confirmation that I'd progressed to the next stage - it felt like a lifetime. I then had another two appear.in chats, one with who would potentially become my manager, and then one with one of the founders. Again, as with all the other 'chats', they were really relaxed, and despite now speaking with more senior employees, the interviews became no more intense - if anything, they were less so. I ended up chatting to the founder for over an hour about a ton of different things, which was something I'd never experienced before in my career, and it simply left me feeling that this would be an awesome place to work. Now, I can categorically state that it is a good as I thought it might be (and actually better). I was offered a position at the company and I'm incredibly pleased that I made the decision to accept it.

    Interview Questions


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