How to Get Hired by E-Commerce Leader Wayfair

Founded in 2002, Wayfair is a Boston-headquartered, multinational e-commerce company that sells everything from home furnishings to luggage, toys and pet items from over 11,000 brands. It currently employs more than 1,500 people in eight global locations including New York, London, Berlin and Sydney.

Wayfair LogoWayfair has nearly 300 employees working across its technology organization, and is hiring across the board for software engineering and systems. Kevin Murray, the company’s director of talent acquisition, says his most critical needs are for senior, experienced software engineers and architects who can help lead, manage and scale the business. The company’s looking for “smart people to solve hard problems in order management, financial operations, product catalog, product availability, demand generation and storefront,” he says. On the systems side he notes that, “We have a strong need for our first Vertica database administrator and for a MySQL DBA.”

Murray adds that most storefront positions involve “working with a highly customized modified LAMP stack (CentOS/Nginx/MySQL/PHP),” and that, “Some of our operational engineering roles have teams working with .NET and LAMP stack technologies, including Storm, RabbitMQ, and Solr/Lucene/Python.”

Murray gave us a rundown of what a prospective Wayfair employee should be ready for.

How to Reach Out

WayfairThough all current openings are displayed on the Wayfair’s career site, the company also advertises opportunities on Dice and other job boards. Additionally, its recruiters actively source through Internet research, social networks, in-person networking at tech events around Boston and employee referrals.

Wayfair’s been involved with the Boston Web Performance Meetup, the Northeast PHP Conference and MIT’s Enterprise Forum. It also hosts informal monthly office gatherings where prospective candidates can experience the Wayfair environment, learn about the work and meet key leaders and engineers.

Murray is enthusiastic about Wayfair’s engineering blog. “It’s another great way to learn about the challenges and opportunities we offer our engineers,” he says. “We provide a link to our career site on the blog, so each engineer can check out the roles most suited to their background and interests.”

How to Navigate a Job Posting

When candidates read the job descriptions and then prepare their resumes, they should focus on key phrases including “scalable,” “large complex systems,” “multithreading,” “Web services” and “open source Web development.”

Also, while Wayfair is looking for candidates who are truly full stack engineers, Murray stresses that, “Every Wayfair engineer does some of their own client-side coding, in addition to database work. Wayfair uses PHP extensively and we are very open to candidates who do not know PHP, but have strong object-oriented programming skills with good database knowledge.”

The Interview Process

Typically, a candidate will have an initial phone screen with an engineering recruiter. That’s followed by a more technical screen with an engineer. An onsite interview is usually a one round process, lasting three to four hours. Candidates are asked a variety of coding and database questions and will be asked to write code on a whiteboard. Murray strongly recommends candidates read Wayfair’s engineering blog and the job description thoroughly before their interview.

What Makes a Good Fit?

Candidates should be aware that they’re assessed for a cultural fit from the very beginning of the interview process. For starters, a good Wayfair engineer is someone who enjoys working within the full stack and wants an agile environment that focuses on deploying code over 100 times per day. “They are interested in using the best tool for the job at hand,” Murray notes, “and they always have an eye towards building elegant systems that are fault-tolerant and scalable.”

As for the office environment, the company utilizes an open floor plan, so good communication skills and the desire to work closely with colleagues is important. The company also looks for candidates who take their work seriously but come equipped with a good sense of humor and the ability to have some levity on the job.

Advice for a Seasoned Professional

Wayfair wants to see beyond the resume. Candidates should target a specific role that best fits their interests and goals and state clearly why they feel their qualifications make them the best person for that position. When applying, highlight the scale and complexity of the systems you’ve been building, so the team can better understand your potential to thrive in the company environment.

Advice for New Graduates

The team visits some of the top engineering schools in the fall and spring for career fairs, information sessions, club events and hackathons. Candidates who stand out are those who engage with the team and show a genuine interest in the e-commerce industry, and more specifically in Wayfair. Murray says that they also look for people with strong database/technical experience. Most of their campus hires, both full-time and interns, are sourced from these events.

Image: Wayfair