Over a year ago, the European mobile payments pioneer, Settle Group, a Norway-based fintech, started its expansion to Romania. Being a provider of the mobile payment service Settle in 22 EEA markets, in 2020 Settle Group chose Bucharest to become their second headquarter in Europe after Oslo, and have started to build a talented team there from the ground up.
By now, the team in Bucharest has expanded to over 10 brilliant people, with expertise within technology development, marketing, and UX design. In the middle of a global health crisis, the investors and the creators of this technology kept their vision and commitment of digitizing money and democratizing access to it.
We wanted to dig deeper into the reasoning behind joining a company that, at that point, was not very well known in Romania. Moreover, we had a look at how it’s like to be enrolled in an interview process that went fully remotely, as most countries entered quarantine or implemented strict rules of social distancing.
Alexandru Boasca, now a Senior Backend Developer at Settle, is an example of how Settle Group moved forward with growing its tech team in this new context that has different rules than before.
We are sharing below his experience as a candidate/ applicant for the Sr. Backend position and, afterwards, an employee in order to highlight what to expect, from his point of view, from the interview process with Settle and beyond.
– I’ve been working for Settle for just over 1 year now.
– I’m on the Engineering team, doing Backend Development. I am in charge of making sure, together with my other colleagues on the Backend team, that the money goes from point A to B fast and securely.
– I was really interested in the financial industry and I was looking for a product where I could use my technical skills and learn more about finance. I was also looking for a great work environment, and Settle looked like it ticked both boxes.
– The recruitment process was the best I’ve ever had, hands down. Every step felt purposeful. From the initial discussion, I had a clear idea of the expectations and what I can bring to the table. The technical part was also very impressive because it was tailored in such way that it tested how good you are in a situation that is similar to what the backend team is working on here on a day-to-day basis.
– What I liked the most about the recruitment process was the openness of the people and the laid-back vibe I’ve got. It felt we were just having a discussion and sometimes I forgot I was in an interview.
– What I like the most about its culture is the freedom to approach work in a way you find it’s most efficient, as long as you are productive and you deliver results. If you feel that something can be improved, suggest a change. If a tool is not efficient enough, use something else.
– I made sure I kept the same spirit of the interview when I was on the other side. We don’t focus on keywords and we don’t have hard requirements for the languages and tools which people have previous experience with. Whether you used Asana or Jira, whether you are a Python expert or just familiar with it, it’s not the thing that matters most. We also don’t expect people to have obscure and useless technical details memorized, things that can be looked up with a quick search.
What I am looking for now in a candidate include problem solving skills, good communication skills and the ability to absorb information and learn on the job.
– I joined remotely just at the start of the lockdown last year so I’ve only been working remotely. Although I look forward to seeing most of my colleagues face to face someday, the tools we have in place to interact make me feel very well connected with others. We have formal and informal meetings, and even in the technical meetings we make sure to set time aside for socializing, so it’s been very nice.
– We spend quite a bit of time with newcomers helping them get set up. In the first months, we’re almost daily pair programming and helping them navigate our system.
– I’ve had to work on an accounting report which involves gathering data from all parts of our system, and it has been very interesting to understand how a payments system works.
– Every day since I’ve joined Settle has been a constant learning journey, from a technical to a business point of view. I feel like I’m learning new things every day.
– I suggest they read all the documents which are sent to them as there are a lot of tips about the technical stage which will be very helpful. I also suggest they read about our company and watch a few videos of our CEO, Daniel, as he’s very good about laying out the company vision.