The fintech industry is undergoing a rapid transformation, with its services gradually substituting the banking sector’s conventional ones. Fintech includes software and technology that facilitate financial services, such as digital wallets, online trading platforms, exchanges and cryptocurrency platforms.
With the continuous growth and development of fintech, the need for competent engineers is becoming more urgent. For fintech firms that aim to create and sustain their digital framework, they must comprehend the characteristics and features to seek in potential engineers, as well as establish efficient hiring and induction procedures.
In this article, we will examine the key elements of conducting an interview for an engineering position in the FinTech field. We will also assess several factors to take into account while preparing for an interview.
Designing a Job Interview Process for Fintech
Designing an interview process for engineering may present a challenge because of the need to assess a diverse range of technical and interpersonal skills.
To start with, it is crucial to pinpoint the particular technical skills needed. Evaluate the development plan, the size, and composition of the technical team to choose a specialisation that can complement the existing team’s capabilities.
It is worth noting that the fintech industry includes several engineering subfields. The most crucial and desirable engineering specialisations for a fintech enterprise to create, maintain and grow their systems are:
Software Development Engineer
Software Engineers are accountable for employing engineering concepts to create new software. They play a crucial role in designing, building, and sustaining complex systems.
A software engineer’s chance to transition into other technical specialisations is directly linked to their level of mastery.
Software Chief Architect
As a software architect, it is crucial to make informed judgments regarding software design and architecture by comprehending both the technical and non-technical aspects. Furthermore, involvement in software development, testing and deployment tasks is also vital.
DevOps engineers possess a comprehensive knowledge of software development and IT operations. They oversee project management and decision-making, serve as a connection between stakeholders and developers, and are responsible for creating, testing, and launching the product while expanding and enhancing related processes.
Developers are the personnel who design software. Technical skills like problem-solving and programming proficiency are essential for this role.
After identifying the particular engineering field you want to recruit for, you can determine which qualifications are necessary and which are preferred for the job. This will assist you in determining the type of interview and assessment that should be conducted to ensure that the successful candidate meets the necessary criteria.
It is essential to remember that extensive testing and numerous interviews can be time-consuming and challenging for both employers and candidates alike. Conversely, one interview alone may not be adequate to efficiently evaluate a candidate’s aptness for a position that necessitates a broad spectrum of skills and capabilities.
To evaluate a candidate’s technical competency and fintech expertise, it is advisable to employ a combination of a technical oral interview and a coding test. Moreover, it is beneficial to arrange an interview with an industry expert who is not from a technical background to appraise the candidate’s knowledge of the pitch, familiarity with relevant legislation, and interpersonal abilities (such as communication).
Desired Qualifications for Engineers in the Fintech Domain
While hiring engineers for a fintech enterprise, it is critical to consider a diverse range of both technical and non-technical skills. This blog post presents a summary of the key attributes to observe and assess during the interview process, and it also includes examples to ensure a positive outcome.
Problem-Solving and Programming Aptitude
A potential candidate for a Fintech Engineering position should exhibit a solid comprehension of several programming languages, problem-solving, algorithms, design patterns, regular expressions, and coding standards, as well as security protocols that are necessary for operating in the financial industry. To effectively evaluate these abilities, a coding test is the optimal method to appraise a candidate’s programming prowess.
Candidates should be evaluated and tested for both their problem-solving and programming abilities during the interview process through a variety of technical tasks. The difficulty level of the tasks presented should be tailored to the position’s level, with each exercise concentrating on a distinct capability.
Proficiency in Software Architecture
Developing a secure, dependable, and expandable fintech system requires considering the many components involved. Working with such systems necessitates complete knowledge of software architecture, especially in terms of distributed system design and management using microservice architecture.
Professionalism in Safety Practices
Security is of utmost significance in the fintech industry. A security breach or hacking attempt can have disastrous consequences for both your enterprise and your clients.
The implementation of software security strategies and the prevention of vulnerabilities and attacks such as identity theft, distributed denial of service attacks, phishing, and third-party integration security threats must be meticulously assessed.
Awareness of Regulations
Fintech is subject to strict regulations, with constantly evolving guidelines governing how fintech enterprises can operate. Conformity with Payment Card Industry (PCI), Know Your Customer (KYC) specifications, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is vital for any engineer working in the fintech industry.
Oral interviews should include queries about the aforementioned regulations, as well as general questions regarding the current government and banking regulations relating to fintech. Additionally, it is advisable to inquire about the measures an engineer should adopt to guarantee conformity with the relevant standards.
Adaptability in Technology
The Financial Technology (FinTech) sector heavily relies on software advancements. To stay competitive, businesses must be adaptable and flexible to accommodate quick advancements, such as the advent of new technologies, scalability needs, and the requirement to work with external Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
For a successful candidate, having a flexible mindset, a readiness to learn new skills, and the ability to keep up with the dynamic technological landscape are crucial. It may be advantageous to inquire about the candidate’s most recent advancements in honing and augmenting their relevant skills and technology knowledge. Responses to these questions can provide an invaluable insight into the candidate’s technological adaptability.
Skills in Project Management
Applicants for positions beyond entry-level must have a background in project management. They should also have knowledge of various project management tools, such as Jira, Basecamp, and ClickUp, as well as a grasp of Agile methodologies.
Comprehensive, Insider Industry Expertise
Candidates must possess not only technical proficiency but also an understanding of industry-standard products and protocols, such as payment methods, payment verification processes, and target markets. This understanding will shorten the time spent on training new hires and facilitate efficient communication between technical and business personnel.
Problem-Solving Skills beyond Technology
While recruiting the perfect candidate, non-technical problem-solving skills can hold just as much significance as technical capabilities. Evaluating a candidate’s ability to handle non-technical problems can be achieved by testing their proficiency in non-technical problem solving.
Conducting a verbal test on non-technical problem-solving ability is crucial to evaluate the interviewee’s analytical, communication, and decision-making skills. Inquiries should delve into how the engineer would respond to circumstances they may face in the business, such as when a change in legislation necessitates an immediate software update or when they need to communicate with a financial industry expert with limited technical know-how.
Skills in Communication and Independent Work
Miscommunication can result in various software problems, including bugs, security vulnerabilities, and delivery delays. To determine a candidate’s communication skills, it is necessary to evaluate their verbal comprehension of the communication protocols and software that your organisation uses.
When hiring for remote work, the candidate’s availability and response time should be taken into account. Even if the employer does not allow full-time telecommuting, engineers may need to work from home occasionally. Therefore, it is important to make it clear if an engineer is expected to respond to unforeseen issues, such as system outages or major product defects which were not identified before release.
Tips for a Successful Interview for a Financial Technology Industry Position
After exploring the sought-after qualities in fintech engineering candidates, let’s explore the best practices for conducting interviews.
Minimize Time Spent on Test-Taking Tasks
Assessing technical proficiency through a single exam can be challenging. Hence, it is beneficial to employ various coding assessments, each of which can measure an array of technical abilities. These short coding tasks can test an engineer’s programming, problem-solving, best practices, coding, encryption, and security knowledge.
To prevent candidates from getting fatigued because of prolonged testing, it is crucial to make sure that the tasks assigned in the examination do not demand an excessive amount of time. It is recommended to set time restrictions for each test.
Technical interviews can conduct coding tests on either the organisation’s system or external services such as Codility and CodeSignal. It is crucial to keep any test data secure and accessible only to authorised personnel. Care must be exercised to avoid disclosing sensitive information, such as segments of the software’s source code, unintentionally.
Communicate Clearly and Concisely
In communication, it is recommended to use simple language and avoid complex terms or phrases that are not commonly used in your field. It is also useful to avoid discussing topics that are not directly relevant to the position you are applying for.
By using plain and simple language, the interviewee is more likely to feel comfortable and open in sharing their knowledge and expertise.
Protect the Confidentiality of Sensitive Data
It is crucial to recognize that confidentiality is not confined to technical data. Accordingly, it is essential to exercise caution when disclosing any internal business information. While evaluating a candidate, it is recommended to allow them to ask questions about the company. However, it is worth noting that the responses to these inquiries may reveal details about unreleased company products, software, or features.
Crafting an efficient hiring interview process to employ the best engineers can pose a challenge. We have identified the engineering subfields that are sought after in the fintech industry, along with highlighting the technical and soft skills that employers should look for in potential engineers. Moreover, we have offered recommendations on how to conduct effective interviews.