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As the Head of Product, Engineering, and Marketing, it’s safe to say Brad Brooks knows how to effectively lead teams. At DocuSign, his teams are responsible for driving innovation across the company through data-driven research, product design, development, engineering, and technology leadership. Read on to see how Brooks builds out his teams by following DocuSign’s core values.

Tell us a little bit about what typical day looks like for you.

A typical day consists of lots of 1:1 engagement with my team and colleagues. I do try to keep “open door” hours most days, in which any members of my team are welcome to pop in and have a conversation. I try to limit both the number and size of my meetings. Sharing of ideas is important, but large meetings are usually a poor way of accomplishing that task. I also intentionally block out specific time for email, and reserve “think time” in my week.

I’ll also spend some time focusing on customer engagement. Whether it’s in our Executive Briefing Center, calls, dinners, or poring through research results, it’s always my favorite way of spending my day.

Getting time to talk with our product leaders and is my second favorite use of my time. Their creativity and passion about where the company should go next is infectious.

What does your company’s technical hiring process look like? How is this different than how you hire for other roles?

All candidates are screened similarly across roles at DocuSign. However, the initial phone interview with the hiring manager of engineering, product design, or other more technical roles often involves technical and coding questions relevant to the requirements of the position. When candidates successfully pass the initial screening conversation, we then invite them to join us on-site to meet with 6-8 people, including the hiring manager, peers, and direct reports.

Our onsite technical interview process includes coding tests, product presentations, and design challenges that offer a platform for candidates to showcase their technical skills. Team members will probe for expertise and core competencies, and also check if the candidate shares our five core values: customer focus, integrity, innovation, passion, and executional excellence. 

The final step, if all systems are a go, is a background check references check. We’re in the business of security and trust, so we take references and background checks seriously. During reference checks, we explore further around our core values to ensure there is a culture fit. We reach out to references – as well as mutual connections that were not presented as references – and ask a series of questions that provide more data about both cultural fit and alignment to the role.

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What challenges do you face while hiring technical roles?

We operate in a very competitive job market and have the same supply and demand issues around hiring engineers and top technical talent as other companies do. Some of the challenges we face in hiring technical talent include:

  • Discovering talented engineers that really know and understand how to build software at scale.
  • Identifying candidates that are passionate about working on enterprise and B2B products, as well as consumer products, because we serve both.
  • Finding technically strong senior-level individual contributors. 

We have a very high bar for our technical talent to reach. We expect our technical employees to have great technical chops, to demonstrate leadership qualities at all levels, and to be collaborative team players. Candidates who possess all of these traits, in additional to matching the technical skills required to be successful in the roles for which they are interviewing, are highly sought after by other best-in- class companies.  

What’s been the most rewarding hiring experience so far?

It’s rewarding to see our engineers and developers’ various projects go live. They work so hard to deliver an innovative product that best serves our customers’ needs that it’s great to see all of the enhancements they make to DocuSign over time and then to hear the positive customer responses.

It’s also exciting to see someone grow their career here. We are growing fast and, as a result, there are tremendous career opportunities to gain experience in new areas of the business and managing team. To see a director become a VP or to watch a junior developer become a manager and build their own team is pretty awesome.

Watching our employees build their skill set, grow their careers, and ship products that impacts peoples’ lives is amazing.

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