How Lazada hired 30 developers in 3 months

The Story

When Lazada got a $250 million investment from the British supermarket giant Tesco, bringing the total investment up to $486 million, it was clear something big was happening, and Lazada needed a bigger development team to support the ambitious dreams of the management.

They wanted to hire 30 more developers. This meant hiring more developers than the size of their entire development team at that time. It was a huge challenge for the recruitment department, and for the development team too (as the technical leaders had to perform the interviews).


The problem

To reach deadlines, they had to perform at least three to four interviews each day. There were more than 200 interviews, 500+ CVs screened, and countless long hours from the recruitment department. Yes, it was a mass hiring process.

In the second week it became clear that something was wrong. The success rate was catastrophic. They found only two good developers. At that speed it would take six months to hire the required number of developers. Moreover, the developers who performed the technical interviews wasted too much time by interviewing the candidates because they had to do one or sometimes two interviews each day, and an average interview lasted an hour and a half (including paperwork and preparation). The project was also late.

They realised most of the candidates failed on the programming questions. Developers, tech leaders with amazing CVs, failed on the most basic programming questions. You may say, “OK, but why didn’t they start the interview with the programming questions?” Even if they do the programming test at the beginning, the interviewers still have to prepare for the interviews and the recruitment department has to schedule the appointments.

The solution

Instead of doubling the number of interviewers, Lazada chose a more efficient solution. Fortunately, one of the developers knew about They quickly set up an interview and started using it. The process was simple. Each candidate had to do the online interview before the personal interview. The online interview included questions on PHP, MySQL and, most importantly, two programming questions – one easy and one of medium difficulty. Each developer who passed the online interview qualified for the second round. The online interview evaluation was automated, so no additional human resource was involved.

The result

The result was persuasive. The number of unsuccessful interviews dropped dramatically. From 15:1, it decreased to 3:1. So one in three interviews was successful. It reduced the stress and pressure on the recruitment department.

There was also another unexpected side effect. Before, candidates with bad CVs had been turned down automatically. With the new hiring process, everybody got a chance. They could hire several developers who had “boring” CVs.