Databento job applicant FAQ

October 1, 2023
Title picture for Databento job applicant FAQ

If you've applied for a role at Databento and have questions about your application or the process in general, you've come to the right place!

We've all been on the applicant side of the table, so we appreciate the time and effort that goes into submitting an application, and it's understandable that you're curious about the status of your application.

Since we're a team with fewer than 30 people and no HR department, it can sometimes take us a bit longer to reply than what many applicants are used to when applying to larger corporations. That's because we take care to review every submission personally. We believe that having a human evaluate each resume is more effective and fair than relying on AI. While that may be a bit slower, it enables us to find the diamonds in the rough or candidates with non-traditional backgrounds who might've been overlooked without the human touch.

We created this applicant FAQ to help answer your questions and give some additional context about our hiring process. We hope this helps guide you through the application process. We appreciate your interest in working at Databento, and wish you the best of luck!

Read the article in full, or navigate to a relevant section via the highlighted FAQs below.

1.1 I have questions about the role. Can I speak with someone on the team?

1.2 I'm a senior-level applicant. Can I speak with someone on the team?

1.3 Will I receive feedback on my application?

1.4 What do you look for in an application?

1.5 Why was my application rejected?

1.6 If there is no open role that fits my background, will you create one for me? Is there a secret job posting that I'm not aware of?

1.7 What does your interview process look like?

1.8 Why do you send the take-home assignment first?

1.9 How do you grade take-home assignments?

1.10 Do you prioritize experience or potential?

1.11 If I’ve been rejected in the past, may I reapply in the future?

1.12 Please delete my data from your system.

1.13 I received an interview invitation, how can I confirm it's not a phishing scam?

Our policy is to only reach out to candidates after they've been selected for an interview. We receive thousands of applications in a given month, so this approach enables us to focus solely on the candidates we'd like to interview.

We don't give special treatment to anyone during the application process, regardless of seniority, salary, mutual friends, or network. We'll only contact applicants who've been selected to move forward.

We only provide feedback to candidates who make it to the first round. Due to incidents in the past, and for the safety of our team, we no longer give individual feedback to candidates who don't make it past the initial screening.

If you don't receive an email in 3 weeks, then it's safe to assume that you've been rejected.

We evaluate every candidate individually, and requirements vary by role. That said, there are a few core criteria that are important to us as a small company:

We believe that the quality of one's work is more important than the number of jobs or titles that one may have. How we evaluate quality depends on the role. For example, for internship positions, we look for a candidate's level of ownership in a given activity, rather than how many clubs they're a member of.

Nothing replaces experience. For example, we prioritize candidates who have built websites over candidates who have only read books on how to build a website. The only exception is for entry-level roles and internships, in which case we'll mention in the job description that no experience is required.

We prefer candidates who have experienced the impact of their legacy work over time. Our recruiting data also shows that candidates who changed jobs frequently prior to joining us, also didn't stay with us very long. In our case, the time and cost of searching, hiring, and onboarding a new employee is too high to justify the risk of hiring someone who isn't committed for the long term.

All Databento employees are full-time, and work remotely from all over the world. Some roles may require travel or physical work (e.g., a systems engineer may need to install servers at our data centers).

We also offer summer internships, which run for 10-12 weeks.

We don't hire part time workers or contractors.

Given that every employee contributes to our public-facing product, we cannot afford to have typos and errors on our website, code, CRM, ATS, task manager, social content, etc. As a remote company, employees and users have less headaches when things are well-documented and organized.

For some roles, how you communicate on your resume matters, because it's an indicator of the quality of your work, writing, or code. For writing-intensive roles, typos and formatting mistakes may disqualify a candidate.

We don't care whether you have a plain resume or a heavily-designed resume (the latter is high risk, high reward). But for some roles, we look for consistent formatting or signs that a candidate knows how to use technology and communicate well. Examples of consistent formatting include: consistent fonts, styles, tenses, colors, margins, alignment, and more. As a more specific example, we don't care if the dates of your experiences are on the left side or right side; however, inconsistent formatting means some dates on the left and some on the right, with no pattern or indication as to why.

As a remote-first company, we look for a candidate's ability to communicate well despite the physical distance between us. For example, when you're late to an interview or need to cancel, it's better to communicate and let us know, rather than keep us worrying and wondering what happened. Another example is the ability to be concise. We've seen 20+ page resumes full of word salad and irrelevant keywords, that could've been condensed into a few pages.

  • For internship positions, omitting information that most candidates include (e.g. GPA, anticipated graduation year, school name, major, etc) tells an employer that you're hiding something and that you're struggling in school. It also tells an employer that you're likely to cover up bad news rather than be honest and upfront about it at work. This leads to a lack of mutual trust, which can lead to a toxic work environment. Although many will disagree, we believe that it's better to include a bad GPA than to omit it completely. We have hired college dropouts and people with low GPAs before.
  • We look for the ability to be honest and upfront about bad news.
  • We also look for the ability to use tools for remote communication, such as Slack, email, phone, and Zoom.
  • A note on communication: There is a difference between good communication and English-speaking ability. You can be fluent in English but bad at communicating in a remote work setting, and vice versa. We've hired many people who learned English later in life.

Given the size of our company, most of our job openings are individual contributor roles. Thus, we prioritize candidates with experience doing IC work over candidates who spend most of their day managing others.

On a related note, we sometimes prioritize candidates from companies of a similar size as us. For example, in sales-related roles, we look for candidates who have sold against the incumbent without relying on brand reputation. In marketing-related roles, we look for candidates who have worked with a small budget to promote an unknown brand.

The reason for rejection is likely related to our team size of under 30 people and application pool of 1000+ new resumes per week:

  • We may have filled the role or have a full interview pipeline already.
  • Your background might be too similar to an existing teammate's background, and we need more orthogonality on the team. For example, our design team needs a UI/UX designer with good visual skills because that's something we're currently weaker at.
  • Some criteria are subjective. For example, your definition of good visual design may differ from ours.
  • There's a mismatch between your expectations for the role and what the role entails.
  • We can't afford you based on your salary, bonus, equity, and/or benefits expectations.
  • You failed the take-home, or your take-home wasn't strong enough to justify your expected salary range.
  • Refer to the section above ("What do you look for in an application?") for details on what we look for beyond the job description.

Databento does not create unique roles based on an individual's background, no matter how talented they may be. This includes everything from full-time roles to advisory positions. As such, we do not respond to these types of inquiries.

There is no secret job board or back door into the company.

Most interviews consist of 2 rounds plus a take-home assignment. Each round lasts 30-60 minutes but may sometimes be shorter or longer. Interviews are 100% virtual and take place on Zoom or Google Meets. As we near the offer stage, we'll reach out to 2 professional references (usually former managers). The total process takes 3-4 weeks on average.

It's a lot easier to evaluate a person's work, rather than their personality: our behavioral interview isn't as effective as a take-home assignment. We used to evaluate work samples in lieu of a take-home; however, not every candidate has a portfolio to share, and candidates have raised a point that this is unfair. Thus, we've decided to even the playing field with a short take-home assignment as the first round for most non-technical roles.

We designed the take-home to last no more than an hour (similar to our behavioral interview). Please note that, also similar to our behavioral interview, some candidates may take more or less than an hour.

At some point during the interview process, almost every candidate does a short take-home assignment. We recognize the importance of a skills-based test, but we want to respect your time and thus have tried our best to implement something short but with enough writing to be evaluated fairly. The company will not use this assignment outside of the interview process, and only interviewers can view submissions.

The specific grading criteria is listed at the bottom of each individual take-home. Below are some general criteria which apply to most jobs:

  • General writing skills: spelling, grammar, appropriate tone, and style.
  • Organization: structure, design, and consistency in your work.
  • Correctness: do your suggestions make sense?
  • Ability to conduct research and acquire relevant domain knowledge within a limited timeframe.

It depends on the role. Entry-level roles are evaluated more on potential. We don't expect entry-level candidates to have working experience.

Senior-level roles are evaluated more on experience. Have they earned their position over time, and have they realized their potential?

Yes. Keep in mind that all companies use an ATS (applicant tracking system), and that our ATS may automatically flag a candidate as spam if they apply to too many jobs at once or at too high of a frequency.

We recommend re-applying 6-12 months later, or if a relevant position opens up.

By submitting an application, you agree to abide by the terms of our ATS. Your data will only be used in the hiring process and will NOT be sold or abused. For legal reasons, we are usually required to retain a record of your application.

If you care deeply about privacy, then we recommend the following:

  • Only submit applications directly on the company's website. Never submit applications via third-party vendors like Indeed or Google Careers.
  • Only put information that you're willing to share to the public on your resume.
  • Don't contact a company via their sales, support, or chatbot channels. This is completely separate from the hiring database and will likely flag you as a prospective customer rather than an applicant. This also makes it harder for teams to address real customer questions, which could negatively impact your application.

Reminder for applying to Databento As noted above, we also ask that you don't use our support, sales, chatbot, or Slack channels to ask job-related questions. Please see question 1.3 for more information about job-related questions.

Recently, we've seen an increase in phishing scams, impersonating companies of all sizes. The scammer will send someone an email offering a job interview, and will request that you purchase a company laptop, bitcoin, giftcards, or something else from a phishing link.

All official Databento emails come from databento.com. On occasion, an email might be sent from us.greenhouse-mail.io as Greenhouse.io is our ATS. Any other domains, e.g. databento.online, databento.io, databento.us, etc., are fake.

Databento is not responsible for a candidate's actions or consequences affiliated with scammers and phishers. Please exercise extreme caution when sharing your information with anyone.

By submitting an application, you agree to abide by the terms of our ATS (applicant tracking system). Your data will only be used in the hiring process and will NOT be sold or abused. We'll only retaina record of your application when we're legally required to do so.

Here are a few tips for submitting job applications safely:

  • Only submit applications directly on the company's website. Don't submit applications via third-party vendors like Indeed or Google Careers.
  • Don't contact a company via their sales or support channels (e.g., email or chatbots on the site). This typically will add you as a potential customer but won't connect with your application, which is managed in a completely separate system.

Reminder for applying to Databento Please don't use any of our support, sales, chat, Slack, or help desk channels to ask job-related questions. Only put information that you're willing to share to the public on your resume. Any questions you may have will be addressed if you're selected for an interview.