A First Hand Look at the GBatteries Hiring Process

March 18, 2021

COVID-19 has caused devastating economic damage. Many industries have been decimated and hundreds of millions of people have lost their jobs, globally. At GBatteries, we’re exceptionally fortunate that we have been able to continue with our research and development with minimal disruptions, despite the pandemic. In fact, we’ve expanded our team by nearly 50% since mid-2020.  

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By Eric Ebner - Test Specialist at GBatteries

In January 2021, I joined GBatteries as a Test Specialist. As one of the newest team members, I felt like I was in a great position to share more details about my experience with our recruiting process - from applicant to GBattizan!

I first came across GBatteries when conducting a job search on LinkedIn. At the time, I was looking for positions at companies based in Ottawa that checked three boxes: engineering, research, and a focus on sustainability. 

After I found the Test Specialist job posting on Indeed, I jumped on GBatteries’ website to learn more about the company and to make sure it was the right fit before I applied. Specifically, I wanted to get a better sense of their mission. Having liked what I read, I wrote a cover letter highlighting how my experiences and ambitions aligned with GBatteries, then submitted my application.

My preliminary interview allowed me to determine whether this role would be a fit for me.

Shortly afterwards, I was contacted by Tim, the hiring manager, to setup an initial discussion. I knew the email I received was personalized – not automated, which was nice. Tim was very friendly and our correspondence throughout the hiring process was pleasant.

From my preliminary interview with Tim, I learned a lot more about GBatteries and the position that I had applied for. This allowed me to determine whether this role would be a fit for me. After Tim and I spoke, I was super excited! I loved everything that I heard, so I was happy when I moved on in the recruitment process.

Next, I was given a technical assessment. This involved writing a script in Python that had to accomplish a very specific goal. Essentially, I had to create a function that would parse one data format into another. I was provided with the inputs and given a clear endpoint, but how I would accomplish the goal was very open-ended.

Now that I’m in the position, I realize just how relevant the assessment was. It gave me exposure and practice to what I’m doing day-to-day, but more so, it provided a good indication of whether I would like the role. Had I not enjoyed this project; I most definitely was not going to enjoy the job. Fortunately, I really liked tackling it, and now here we are.

It was interesting to have four distinctive interviews, where the discussion ranged from my technical skills to how I would fit into the company culture.

After the technical assessment, I had an interview with Brad, who would be my lead if I was hired; followed by a conversation with two senior members of the technical team – Alex and Nick; and then my fourth and final interview with Kostya, the CEO.

It was interesting to have four distinctive interviews, where the discussion ranged from the technical skills that I could bring to the table, to who I am as a person, and how I would fit into the company culture.

When I was chosen for the role, I was ecstatic! It was an amazing feeling to have secured a job that met my criteria and that I couldn’t wait to start.

My hiccup and a lesson learned about resumes

Although things worked out really well, there was one aspect of the interview process that was so difficult, I was convinced that I dropped the ball and wouldn’t be hired.

During my call with the senior technical members on the research team, Alex and Nick, I learned the hard way that what you put on your resume is very important! I had a section called “core skills.” Under this heading, I listed subjects that I had taken during my undergrad for a semester, or even a half semester, four years ago.

I put them there simply because they were areas that I would be interested in branching into if the opportunity presented itself. The “core skills” heading should likely have read “areas of interest” instead. The list was comprised of topics such as laser optics, physics of nuclear reactors, laser quantum physics and atoms, and many other things.

Out of honest curiosity and the hopes that we could converse on some of these topics, Alex started asking me questions. I couldn’t even answer some of the most basic ones on these subjects, so I figured that was it…I was doomed! I was so focused on batteries and had done some pre-prep on the physics that I thought was relevant, I didn’t even consider what my resume entailed.

That was definitely the low point of the interview process. Luckily,those questions had nothing to do with the work at GBatteries, and I was still offered the job!

I was looking for companies that checked three boxes: engineering, research, and a focus on sustainability.

More about my technical assessment

Between the initial discussion and the technical interview, I was giving a practical assessment. I wasn’t given a deadline per se and my work was to be measured on a functional basis.

I had to write a script in Python that had to accomplish a very specific goal. How I would accomplish that goal was very open-ended. The assignment asked me to create a function that would parse one data format into another.

I took some time, because as I told Tim, I hadn’t used Python in about four years. I asked for a day to brush up on my Python skills but assured him that I would come up with something. Once I did that, I was able to produce a workable solution.

On a side note, before beginning the assessment, I was told that regardless of the outcome, I would receive technical feedback. I thought this was great since it demonstrated that GBatteries recognized and valued the time commitment from my end. Upon completion, I was given suggestions on how I could improve the code, what was done well, and what could have been done better. Even if I hadn’t been hired, it was nice to have direct feedback related to improving my employable skills.

90 days in

Now that I’ve been with GBatteries for nearly three months, I’m happy to report that the job is pretty much exactly what I expected and exactly what I was looking for. There were no surprises and no catches with the hiring process. It feels like the recruiting team provided me with a very good idea of what I would be doing and who I would be working with.

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