Chapter 2. Interviewing Site Reliability Engineers

There are two phrases you continually hear about why projects are successful: “My engineers made it possible” or “My engineers did the impossible.”

Much of this book is about technology and how to apply it to problems. That technology is completely useless without the right people. This chapter is dedicated to the softer side of our jobs: hiring those right people. Every one of these hires will operate and build the technology that is used to solve problems, disrupt industries, and achieve feats that no one thought were possible.

It all begins with the engineer.

Interviewing 101

Before we get into the specifics of SRE hiring, it is useful to build a common understanding of how interviewing typically works. This is a general overview based on experiences working at companies such as AOL, Google, YouTube, and Dropbox.

Who Is Involved

Generally, there is a minimum of three parties involved: the candidate, the recruiter, and the hiring manager.

Industry Versus University

Usually, there are two types of candidate profiles that hiring managers recruit: industry and university (which includes masters and PhDs). Industry candidates are engineers who have worked in similar positions at other companies. University candidates are exactly what it sounds like—students. Compared to recruiting software engineers, recruiting SREs from universities is significantly harder and more specialized. The major reason for ...

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