Cloudflare TV

Latest From APJC Engineering - Interview, Onboarding and Career Growth

Presented by Ayako Kobayashi, Renlord Yang, Elvin Tan, Zena Soans
Originally aired on 

In this session, our APJC Engineering team will be sharing more about the interview process for their team, how they are set up for success during the onboarding process, as well as opportunities for growth in their careers.


Transcript (Beta)

Hi, good morning and good afternoon everyone at APJC. We are very, very excited to introduce ourselves with this latest from APJC Engineering.

Today we are talking about interview, onboarding and career growth in Cloudflare team.

And then this is a live broadcast and you can also submit the questions at live, so feel free to drop me or drop us a message what you want to know from us.

But having said that, I wanted to quickly introduce about myself and the team that's here today.

So my name is Ayako, I'm a recruiter for APJC team.

I've been Cloudflare for almost three years and hiring for various teams in APJC.

Engineering team is one of my favorite teams to work with and then also the team is like one of continue growing and evolving.

So today we have three team members who are joining this episode. I would like them to go through, introduce themselves to the audience.

So let's just go through from perhaps Elvin, just introduce yourself, your role at Cloudflare, how long have you been with Cloudflare and your background prior to Cloudflare, what attracts you to join Cloudflare and how's your Cloudflare journey?

Hi, good morning. So my name is Elvin, I'm a system reliability engineer on the Edge team.

I've been in Cloudflare for around two and a half years. Before Cloudflare, I was actually in the hospitality industry doing high-speed Internet access and IPTV services to hotels all over the world.

What attracted me to Cloudflare?

I would say the mission, Cloudflare's mission of making a better Internet has always been attractive.

We have always been using Cloudflare products all through before I even joined Cloudflare.

So yeah and with the Cloudflare journey itself, I have actually seen now within the company how we've worked together to further the mission of the company itself.

Thank you, Elvin. So over to Zina.

Zina, it's the second time, like last episode she was joining our latest from APGC and then she's coming back to us to share about her personal story.

But yeah, just go ahead. I'm glad to be part of the sequel. Thanks for the invitation as well.

Good morning, good evening, good afternoon to all those who are watching us.

I'm Zina Soans. I'm an engineering manager for the data center's engineering team within the infrastructure organization here at Cloudflare.

I've been with Cloudflare for exactly four years now this month and now that I'm just speaking about it, time surely, surely flies.

It feels like just yesterday that I was interviewing with the SRE team in San Francisco and with all these four years that I've been with Cloudflare, I've changed positions, I've changed teams and I've even had the opportunity to change countries.

And this has been absolutely career changing for me professionally and also life changing on a lot of aspects.

So what made me join Cloudflare is and also what keeps me at Cloudflare, if you may ask me, is that when I interviewed about four years ago in Cloudflare's HQ with the then SRE team, I also had a competing offer at the very same time and I decided to go with Cloudflare just because of the fact that the folks who interviewed me, A, they were extremely passionate, like they were extremely passionate for what they did.

And the second thing that they were extremely passionate was for the mission, just like Elvin said, they just liked to be a part of the mission that is basically to help build a better Internet.

And I even till date when I speak with them or when I just go say hi to them, which is quite infrequent now that I have to be in touch with them, that reminds me, I still see that passion alive in them.

And I think that's something truly special that if something stays with you for four years, it has to be pretty special.

And now, if you say, why do I still am a part of Cloudflare even after four years is because of the people that we hire.

I think the people that we hire also, we try to imbibe that quality and that culture within them.

And that's basically why I'm here and I'm continuing to be here. I think all of us here feel very strongly about the Internet and want to continue to be a part of the family that makes it better.

Thank you so much for sharing your personal story.

We are going to deep dive into interview process and also career growth.

So stay tuned. We will cover that part and ask more questions to Zena. And then last but not least, Renlode is the most new among us and joining Cloudflare.

Just introduce yourself to us.

Hey, everyone. I'm Renlode. I just joined the systems reliability engineering team on the edge in Singapore just eight months ago.

And so my story is I actually relocated from Australia, Melbourne, Australia to Singapore during COVID as well in June.

And yeah, it's been really interesting and fun so far the journey.

So my background prior to Cloudflare was I was actually working in healthcare payments on and also working in uni as well.

And eventually I've always been interested in Cloudflare, always applying since 2016.

And eventually I got a role with the SRE team in Singapore. And yeah, it's been a very fun journey and every day I'm learning something new.

Yeah, thank you so much.

So we also talk about like onboarding experience, what we, you know, after you accept it, what's the next step?

So we will ask more questions to Renlode. But before moving forward, this is a very interesting question that I asked previous episode of the Japan segment with solution engineer.

And I think it's good to hear from all the engineering teams as well as Cloudflare have a lot of solutions and products.

What is your favorite product of Cloudflare? So going with the same order or like, okay, Renlode first.

So for me, I've always known Cloudflare with its DNS service.

And in fact, I think since 2015, I've been starting to use Cloudflare DNS services.

And I've been very, always very pleased and amazed with how intuitive the dashboard design is as well.

And how easy it is to set up records and the DNS records.

So yeah, I've always thought that, wow, if I could work internally, that'd be great, you know.

And 1111 is a very nice product as well. Awesome. Thank you.

Zeena. So the product that I like most is called Cloudflare Network Interconnect.

It's basically CNI.

This is where the user gets to connect their network, like their network that is their physical network in their own premise directly to Cloudflare's network using like personal, you know, dedicated links.

Thereby not only, I mean, this also like in turn helps their customers to have a better Internet experience and even reduce costs.

So my, and this is very specifically special to me is because my team works very closely with this product.

And, you know, in just deploying these CNIs, which is just quite interesting to see how everything unfurls at the user's end and at our end as well.

And just to see the benefits out of it, it's pretty, pretty awesome actually.

Thank you. Oben. Hi. So yeah, my favorite product is the Cloudflare Zero Trust suite of applications.

Cloudflare for Teams was something I used before I joined Cloudflare.

I mean, the amazing part was, it was actually free for a limited small amount of users.

And post joining Cloudflare, of course, COVID struck and Cloudflare for Teams was actually given free for businesses during the Corona period.

I mean, and to me that really reinforces the whole Cloudflare mission of helping the Internet.

Yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much.

So we have a lot of products, but we also have our own website. If you go to, there's like, you know, like a type of solution product and a lot of documentation case study or like why Cloudflare.

So that if you are interested in like one of the products that they mentioned about and then you don't know much about, there's like a very simple, you know, explanation how the Internet works that you can learn from yourself too.

So, yeah. So we wanted to get into the topics of this interview onboarding and carry growth.

But before that, I noticed everyone has a different t -shirts and like background.

So I just wanted to share with them, you know, like everyone that we have, yeah, like a different t-shirts.

Like for example, mine is that we had the IPO in 2019 September. So that's like IPO t-shirts.

So we also have the, you know, like, what is like, what is called a net, which is like, what we are, you know, like stocks, what is called?

This is our stock ticker. Yeah. Stock ticker. So, so that's that t-shirts that we, we wear to sell like IPO.

But like, for example, Alvin has, he's wearing the Singapore office t-shirts.

Each office has representing some of the culture or country.

So we have a red t-shirts for Singapore and Xena has this plowflare t -shirts, which is one of our ERG.

And in my background, it's also plowflare. So we set up like diversity as a company, which is our DNA.

So we will separate some like group activity or like, you know, knowledge sharing or like what we do as communities as well.

And then those t -shirts is, what is this t-shirts? Can you share with me?

The JDC t-shirt. So it's our partnership with JD cloud in China. It looks very cool, that t-shirts.

And then, so we have a lot of t-shirts and we wear this t-shirts for work or, you know, it's, you know, we, we have a very like pride about like our company.

So that's this, yeah, I wanted to let you know. So coming back to the main topics of interview, onboarding and career growth.

Xena mentioned about the, you know, the, one of the reasons she has decided to join company is her interview experience.

And I also get to ask a lot of questions from the candidates.

What's the interview process in Cloudflare? Because all the company has different processes to, you know, identify the candidates.

But first of all, Cloudflare's interview process is like both ways communication and understanding expectations.

We share with them what we do and what this will require for certain skillset and what's the expectation for this person to do.

So for typically engineer role, you have a couple of rounds of interview to assess certain skillsets, for example, like design challenge, coding, network.

So depending on the team, they have a specific area of the skill that you are going to talk to team member, discuss about how your point of view, how you address certain, you know, issues, how you come up with the solutions so that, you know, you will feel that, you know, like a lot of questions you were asked during the interview is very similar with like, you know, like what, what actually SRE or the team member is like, you know, handling day to day.

So I think that's very like helpful. Like it's more relatable question than like we will ask completely different topics or different coding tests.

So throughout the interview process, you will probably get to know, okay, I will, I would do this when I started with Cloudflare.

This is what my expectations are.

So a lot of candidates toward the end of the stage, they will feel like, oh, I already feel like part of the team and I know who I'm going to work with and what they are doing.

So throughout the interview, of course, you also ask questions, get to ask questions to team member.

If you have some questions to, you know, how they operate or like what their career goals and so on.

So like, that's also it's communication to making sure we find people who are successful in Cloudflare for a longer time, not just only a small role.

And another unique things about Cloudflare is toward the end of the interview process, you get to talk to, you have a chat, a meeting call, final call with one of the C -level executives.

So what that is, is because we are looking for people who are growing with us, you know, working with us a longer time, not just for the silos, like small role.

Our CEO has started to talk to the candidates to address any concern or question they might have to, you know, prior to joining Cloudflare.

So we've been doing for like 10 years, CEO has been talking to a candidate for 15 minutes.

And then now we are about like 300, like close to 300, no sorry, 3000 people globally.

Our CEO, Matthew, cannot do all the final calls. So we have other executives, COO, CTO, SVP of engineer or like a product to talk to the candidates, but same concept, answering any questions they have to ask to the executive team.

So that's a unique thing about Cloudflare.

And one last thing is probably very unique, is our CEO is the one to send out the offer letter.

So all the candidates, you will talk to me about the offer, but in the end, you don't receive the offer from me.

Like Matthew wants to send an offer, so you will receive the personal message from Matthew with your offer letter.

So that's something unique about interview process or like how you get to, you know, like offer with Cloudflare.

And then I was, you know, talking about the final call.

So everyone had, you know, like had a final call.

Mine was three years ago with CTO of John Graham. It was very, I was very nervous because I was not very technical.

And then, but I asked about like people, culture, how's it goes, planning, and then he was very nice to share from his point of view.

And it's also makes me feel very confident about, yeah, executive is spending time to talk to me and answering questions, not necessarily like, you know, their area of topics and then get to know the company better.

So that was my final call. I think everyone had a final call. And then probably rent load, final call was mostly sent.

So let's go with the order of releasing final call.

Who was your final call and how was your experience? Well, my final call was with Michelle, our COO.

In the call, I'm mostly asked about how Cloudflare's culture is like.

And also, I also asked the question about how Cloudflare is able to maintain the diversity because we hire from so many different office locations.

So obviously, the first thing that came to my mind was how do you maintain the kind of cross office culture that I guess many other companies will struggle to keep and maintain because the physical locations are essentially all segregated and separated.

And Michelle actually gave me a really nice response.

Like you can even see in our year meetings, they are all scheduled at different times to accommodate various different time zones between different offices.

So I could see that Cloudflare actually cares a lot about maintaining that diversity across different offices and also accommodating different time zones as well, which is quite unique, I would say.

Yeah, thank you for sharing.

How about you, Alvin? Oh, I was lucky. I got Matthew, our CEO himself. So interviewing the CEO was definitely a very different process with interviewing the engineering teams itself.

So I remember my question was really about how the company would grow and scale.

That was the period where Cloudflare was just going to go IPO.

And so that was the question. And his answer was straightforward. And he actually shared his experiences that he had talking to other CEOs of other tech companies, the old and the new ones, where he explained how different companies strategies are and how Cloudflare itself would scale to the size that he really envisions for the mission itself.

So yeah, that was very, very insightful for me. Thank you.

And then how about you, Sina? For me, it was Michelle too. I think originally, I was scheduled to speak with Matthew and that there was a last minute reschedule and I ended up speaking with Michelle, which is absolutely amazing.

After four years, I probably do not know the exact question.

I don't remember the exact question that I had asked, but it was similar lines of, you know, how do they inculcate just the culture that Cloudflare has and how do they, you know, what are the works that they do towards ensuring that there are equal opportunities across the board?

And I remember Michelle speaking about the bunch of ERGs like back in the day.

And I know that the number of ERGs has just increased exponentially with the four years that I've been here.

And I think that's how I even relate to a few of them very closely.

Like the t-shirt that I'm just wearing, it's for Proudflare, which is pride plus Cloudflare.

Another ERG, another platform just to make Cloudflare more inclusive, to give everybody an opportunity, an equal opportunity.

In fact, I think diversity is an aspect that is ingrained into our DNAs and it's ingrained from top down.

It comes right from our CEOs, right? And it goes on to every single person who is a part of every single Cloudflareian.

And I think that's the best part of it.

And also going back to the question on also why I decided to join Cloudflare is like you mentioned, Ayako, like the email that Matthew sends personally, like there was a last line that there was a small line, which he says, I'm reserving this email for you, let me know.

Like some small details like that, right?

Like that makes a huge difference and that stays with you. So small, small details matter.

And I think Cloudflare really takes care of those. Yeah.

I think that's great. Right. Personal touch. They don't need to do it, but they want to, they're very, very invested to, you know, curious about like people are joining Cloudflare and they care about like culture and making sure people are excited to join Cloudflare.

That's why that we are doing this. And then, yeah.

And then, so I think we only have a 10 minutes, like time fly, we talk about, and then we're having fun.

So we might not be able to get to like career growth part, but like we still going to continue to talk about onboarding.

So onboarding.

So after you received the opal letter from Matthew and then you are going to, you know, start working with Cloudflare.

Very, very unique about, you know, like Cloudflare, we are dedicated starting date to put everyone together for onboarding class.

And then pre-COVID we used to travel to San Francisco to have like onboarding experience between headquarter, Michelle and Matthew BP, like, you know, engineering manager come in and talk about like who we are and what we do.

That was great experience. So I want to like, you know, Elvin to talk about a little bit about his experience onboarding in, you know, like Cloudflare, visit headquarter.

How was your, you know, experience? It was great. I mean, I remember my first day itself at Cloudflare headquarter in San Francisco, I walk in, you know, everybody knows everybody.

So they straight away say, Hey, new guy, you know, orientation group itself.

And everybody comes over to introduce themselves.

I mean, we're talking about everybody, even beyond the engineering teams, you know, they come over, they explain to me what they do, their name, their email, and during the onboarding process itself, of course, after the one week orientation, where people like Michelle actually does the orientation program itself.

I have the onboarding with my team in San Francisco, where we do training, shadowing, where we introduce to the other engineering teams, people who will be working together.

It's great because we get to meet in person, the various members of the team who will be working with, it makes it easier when I come back to Singapore, when I contact somebody, I know his face, I remember how I talked to him before, that onboarding itself was very important, the interpersonal relationship part was really more important within the onboarding itself than the technical parts.

Yeah, it's great. As he mentioned about the one of the session, like Michelle, our COO of Conduct is very, very excited.

I checked with the onboarding team, she has that, like she has been doing for virtual onboarding, which is like, you know, current, like what happened right now, but like a little like this of like, what's happening is Michelle coming to the, you know, training room, there's a whiteboard, so she starts drawing how Cloudflare as a company and all the departments of business and what they're doing to interconnected, okay, SRE connected to data center team, and then that's connected to sales team, and then so she draws out the map of the Cloudflare organizations, then she puts the new hire's name, okay, SRE team is Elvin, welcome to Cloudflare, and then data center, Zina, welcome, so she actually remembers who that, who are, is the new hire, and then which part of the organization they belong, so I was so amazed, and so I think that's, you know, we're also trying to, because of this COVID situation, the safety of employees, the first responsibility for us, but we're also trying to continue the similar experience to the new hire, to excited to start with Cloudflare, so how was your landlord's experience, you're not only the voucher onboarding, but like he also has experience moving from the Melbourne to Singapore during the pandemic time, how was your transitions, the location process?

Finally, Cloudflare sort of chartered, in quotes, a flight for me from Melbourne to Singapore, because I flew right at the, when Singapore closed its borders to the world, and it so happens I was the only passenger to arrive in Changi Airport for my flight, so it kind of was like a private jet, private jet experience for me, yeah, and also Cloudflare also helped set up like a pretty good relocation package for me as well, which took care of quite a bit of stuff, had temporary accommodation in Singapore for a month, and yeah, and I was able to get most of the things done and get myself really settled into Singapore, which is fantastic.

How was joining, your experience joining virtual onboarding?

Yes, so with virtual onboarding, it was pretty good, because most of the sessions were set up like at the end of the day, so we were able to also meet our new colleagues from Europe, and also some of the sessions were also set up in the early morning as well, so we can also meet some of our colleagues from San Francisco, because of that time zone overlap, so you kind of get like a global onboarding experience as well, even though you don't get to meet them physically, at the very least you can still meet some of your colleagues from all around the world, which is pretty nice, I think.

That's great, I think, yeah, I think we have four minutes left, and then just wanted to, you know, like mention about, we wanted to talk about Career Growth last episode, and we had a lot of questions, so we postponed to this episode, so Zena is invited for the next episode as well, but for the audience, feel free to drop a message through live at Cloudflare TV, and then I will read the message, and anything you are, you know, very, very interested to know, particularly about engineering organization in APJC, and we are happy to talk about certain topics.

So next one is Career Growth, and we are also planning to do more like how we work in the different time zone, and then I mean like a global company, how we, how we making sure that we are all aligned, and like what's our effort to, you know, stay connected.

So that's a couple of topics that we are planning for, you know, next month, and then like later on this year, but feel free to, like if you are, like want to ask more about like landlord's experience, or like anything about the teams, feel free to let us know.

Anything, one last message for the audience who are interested to, you know, like know more about Cloudflare, or like interest to, you know, like maybe perhaps try to Cloudflare's opportunity, any advice to the audience from any one of you?

We have three more minutes. I can take this one.

I'd say take that chance, and go for it, and apply, because we, Elvin and a landlord can testify, I can testify from a management's perspective that life at Cloudflare is amazing, and we're not just saying for the heck of it, but we actually truly mean it.

If you want to truly be a part of the mission, and part of the family that actually takes this mission of the, of this company quite seriously, to help, you know, build a better Internet, do it.

Speaking a little from my team's perspective, some of the projects that we work at, work on, is just to be as close as possible to the end users, so deploying POPs in every nook and corner of the, of the map.

If you see our website, we, it lists that we have about 250 points of presence across the globe, and that's pretty much my team's responsibility to take that number from the, we had an internal project of road to 250 in December last year, and we surpassed that numbers with flying colors, and all of a sudden, come January, I see that that internal project has now been renamed to Road to 500, so you know that, what scale I'm talking about, so it's quite fast-paced, it's quite, you know, impactful, and everybody on this, in this company, and everything that they do has a huge impact to the bigger, you know, to the Internet in general.

We're literally helping people have safer, secure, faster Internet at reduced costs, so the impact and the satisfaction that you take at the end of the day is huge, so I feel if anybody is listening to us, has any interests, or even want to know, want to know more, please, please reach out to us, we're all on LinkedIn, you can find us, you can, you know, email at Live at Cloudflare, and or go to our career page, and just apply, and we're more than eager to listen from you.

Yeah, I think we are, you know, 30 minutes is too short, because we are very excited about what we do, and we wanted to share a lot of things, so that's why we are having this, like, series, and then as Zena says, we are growing so fast-paced, and always customer -focused, so we have a lot of roles keep coming up, so not necessarily today, we only have this role, doesn't mean, like, you don't have opportunities that, you know, very much with your career, you know, career plan, so just keep, like, keep in touch with us, if there's opportunity, I will reach out to you, or like, just, let's just have conversations, and then, you know, we wanted to get to know you.

All right. Thank you so much for everyone, and have a great Wednesday, and then hope to see you soon.

Have a good week, everybody.

Bye-bye. Stay tuned. Bye.