🗳️ Recruitment Overview

This document provides an overview of why and how we do recruitment at UBC Launch Pad.

Goals

We have an application and sometimes interview process to join Launch Pad because software engineering is inherently a collaborative process — one that requires every contributor to work well with each other. We want to make sure that every member is committed and has the support required to do so, regardless of what their skill level is. For the most part, this support comes from our leads, who also have to put in a great deal of effort to manage teams, plan projects, provide technical guidance, organize events, liaison with sponsors, and more. Given the small number of people at Launch Pad who have the background, time, and willingness to do all this, we sadly can’t accept and adequately support everyone who applies.

That said, a major goal of Launch Pad is to support beginners and people from a wide range of backgrounds. We want to continue to iterate on our process (for example, our questions and criteria) to make sure that Launch Pad membership is as diverse and inclusive as possible - see improving recruitment.

Technical Roles

When recruiting for technical (developer) roles,

Note: The categorization is by no means the best reflection of applicant’s skills and capabilities, however as we need to have some metric to group applications; we roughly we aim to categorize applicants into the following categories:

  • Beginner: student is in 1st or 2nd year student OR course project OR simple project (hackathon)
  • Intermediate: Completed 1 internship OR a non-course “advanced project”
    • An advanced project meets the following criteria:
      • long-term (for example, at least 1 month between the first to most recent commit)
      • is non-trivial and the product of tangible effort (up to judgement)
      • demonstrable use programming paradigms (even as simple as loops)
  • Experienced: (2 internships OR outstanding project) AND interest in mentorship

To provide support to our less experienced members and ensure a productive environment for everyone, when recruiting we aim to have:

  • around 40% of members be “beginners”.
  • at least 20% of members (including leads) be “experienced”.

Each lead typically leads 1 team. We aim for a club size of 8 developers (excluding the lead) per team, to accommodate for members potentially leaving throughout the semester due to scheduling or personal reasons.

You can learn more about technical roles in the Developer role description.

Design Roles

When recruiting for design roles, it is important to note that most teams will consist of 1 or 2 designers. Because of this, experience levels of designers per team may vary. Our definition experience levels are as follows:

  • Beginner: 1st or 2nd year student OR student from any major/faculty with interest in UX AND 1 simple case study
  • Experienced: 1-3 comprehensive case studies OR 1 or more UX design internships AND interest in mentorship

Both of the above experience levels require at least 1 case study or showcase of design work (for example, a PDF or word document).

To provide support to our less experienced members and ensure a productive environment for everyone, when recruiting we aim to have:

  • around 60% of the design team be “beginners”.
  • at least 40% of design team (including lead) be “experienced”.
  • Dedicated design channels where all designers regardless of team can collaborate with each other

You can learn more about design roles in the Designer role description.

Strategy Roles

When recruiting for strategy roles, it’s noteworthy that this role works with the club leads, and we generally want to recruit 5-6 students.

You can learn more about strategy roles in the Strategy role description.

Recruitment Process

we primarily recruit in September, followed by a smaller round in January with some exceptions. During these dates, we open our applications which you will hear about on our social media and newsletter.

Applications

Once applications open, you can fill out the related forms until the set deadline.

We first open an internal application where returning and former members are invited to express interest in continuing. As per our goals, we will re-recruit from our internal members first.

After internal applications close, we open a general round where all students are welcome to apply. The applications are then reviewed by our leads for the next steps.

Screening Applicants

Once the deadlines close, the leads will go over all applications and sort them in their categories. Each lead takes into account several factors when looking at your application. Please check the applicant screening guidelines if interested.

Ultimately, applicants are considered for only one team; if interest is expressed, it’s factored in.

Next Steps

To provide flexibility, we allow different next steps for our leads based on the project.

  • Returning members: will be sent an email with the project they will be working on
  • Accepted applications:
    • For interview-based applications: an email with next steps will be sent out
    • Otherwise: an acceptance email will await your confirmation
  • Rejected applications: will be notified as soon as possible via email

Frequently asked questions

Experience

Lack of experience does not necessarily disqualify a candidate. In fact, we actively seek to recruit members from a wide range of experience levels - please see our recruitment goals for more details.

Historically, due to the sheer number of applications that falls in the lower experience levels, we interview a higher percentage of applicants that fall into higher experience levels, so please do not manipulate your application to fall into a lower experience level!

Referrals

We do not have a referral process at Launch Pad. Members can advocate on a candidate’s behalf, which could mean that the candidate’s application gets a closer look during screening, but we strive to stick to the criteria and grading we have laid out in our screening criteria and interview guides.

Decisions

All decisions sent out for either the screening or interviews are final, unless a mistake was made by reviewers while sending out decisions. Also refer to our feedback policy.

That said, this does not mean that reviewers at Launch Pad never make an incorrect decision - see improving recruitment.

Feedback

Unfortunately, we do not provide feedback regarding a decision for either the screening or interviews phase of a candidate’s application process. This means we can not provide specific answers to questions like:

  • “Why did I get rejected?”
  • “How could I have answered X question better?”
  • “Should I have brought up Y, Z in response to X question?”
  • “Who graded me?”

However, Launch Pad members should feel free to provide more general advice to candidates that reach out, such as resume pointers or things the candidate can do to round out their skills at their description - keep in mind that this feedback does not necessarily reflect how Launch Pad’s decisions are made.

Improving recruitment

To achieve our recruitment goals, we strive to continue iterating on our recruitment processes. This means in every scenario where something like the following happens:

  • scoring leads to a seemingly suitable candidate being disqualified
  • wording of a question causes confusion
  • a candidate, interviewer, or reviewer has a bad experience

We should investigate what went wrong (for example, why was this person scored incorrectly, or what we could do to clarify a question) so that we can look into improving our process and criteria (for example, by improving scoring guidance, or updating our recommended wording for a question).

These improvements should be submitted as pull requests to our recruitment documentation for feedback and discussion - for all steps up until interviews, that would be in ubclaunchpad/docs, and for interviews and final decisions that would be in ubclaunchpad/leads (private to Launch Pad leads).

Feel free to bring up feedback regarding recruitment internally in #ask-leads or reach out via [email protected].