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My hiring process with practical tips as an AdOps Specialist

Posted by David Denes Pall |

Hey! I’m David Denes Pall and I have joined Criteo in February 2020 as an AdOps Specialist. I would like to share some insights with you about Criteo’s hiring process and my learnings along the journey. I hope my tips will serve you well landing your dream job at Criteo.


If you’ve ever been searching for a job you know the circulating emotions that come with it. The adrenaline-rush after you hear the clink of a new email notification. Putting yourself together after being rejected. And ultimately, calling your beloved ones with a chuckling voice: I got the job!!!


My story with Criteo began well before submitting my application through the Criteo Career site. The company organised a networking event in Dublin - the city where I worked at that time for Google as a Product Support Specialist. I really loved my job at the tech giant but my life turned upside down: I met Gloria - my partner in crime and life. Not much later we decided that I would quit my job and relocate soon to Barcelona. The timing could not have been better for the Criteo networking event where I had the chance to learn about Criteo’s business, current challenges and exciting opportunities.

Networking event in Dublin

Even if you are an introvert I encourage you to engage with employees in career events or through social media: their hands-on experience will serve you well in landing your dream job.

The very same night of the event I checked Criteo’s job openings and found a Junior Data Analyst position for which I assumed myself to be a good fit. After spending some time on tailoring my resume I hit the submit button. I went to bed feeling excited, being one step closer to the goal: working at Criteo in Barcelona. 


To my greatest surprise while having my coffee the next morning I got an invitation for an introductory interview. I had less than 48 hours to understand Criteo’s marketing solutions and study its business environment. Despite the short timeframe I did my best to develop a firm idea about the company’s operation.

Sadly, I was rejected straight away. Getting the bad news hurt, however my recruiter cheered me up. She gave me detailed feedback (I did not have enough field-experience) and recommended me other roles where I could be a better fit in the future. I learnt the lesson:

Your practical experience adds enormous value to your domain knowledge. Demonstrate both!

A few weeks later on a cold Saturday evening I came across another job opening at for the Ad Operations Specialist role. After scamming through the job description and ticking almost all the requirements, I instantly tailored my CV to the role and submitted my second application that very evening. Meanwhile, I found out that a friend works at Criteo whose insights and tips helped a lot during my preparation.


The following Tuesday I got an invitation for another phone interview - surprisingly with the same recruiter I met at the networking event. She already knew about my background and motivation, therefore she focused on the skills needed for the job. I had a good feeling afterwards and within 2 days I found myself in the second round of interviews (via video at this time) with my potential future managers.


During the 60 minutes-long manager interview I was challenged on my relevant job experience (e.g. technical troubleshooting, communicating with commercial teams) as well as on scenario-based questions (e.g. Do you prioritise request A or B? Why?) Before finishing the call, I had the chance to ask questions as well.

I highly recommend spending time on preparing at least 3 questions before your interview. This will not only bring you further insights but also showcase your interest in the company.

I had a positive impression after the interview. The next morning, however, I learnt that some other candidates were better fits to the role. This second rejection hurt 2x compared to the first time, however it fuelled my motivation 10x.

After my attempt no 2. I promised myself: I will study even more about Criteo so that when another relevant job offer comes up I will be ready to shoot my application. Surprisingly, this opening appeared during the next week, much earlier than I expected. CV polished, application submitted, let’s do it!


At the recruiter call I was more confident than ever. I focused on bringing practical examples of how I demonstrated the desired skills at my current job on a daily basis. I was also eager to get some information about what I should expect potentially at the further interviews.

Look at the job interview as a discussion rather than a question-answer-question-answer loop!


When I got the good news about my progress into the next round of interviews I decided I would do that in person. This would also give me an opportunity to visit the office. Before my interview, I quickly visited the Barceloneta beach, took a deep breath and started to approach the office building.

thumbs up on a beach

I met my potential manager and a team lead who assessed my job-related skills, as well as challenged me on multiple job specific (e.g. operational) questions. Both before and after my interview I chatted quickly with some Criteo employees - they were all very helpful. Also, the environment felt really cosy. I’ve sensed: I want to come back here!


I was still travelling on the bus when I got a phone call that my morning went well and I would go to the next interview round. Now with the director of the division. I got super excited.

Through the interview, I received questions related to my cultural fit to the team and organisation.

I found it really helpful to have studied the values Criteo stands for beforehand

The director touched on some more casual topics and we found out we both love the music of Pink Floyd. The laid-back atmosphere of the interview could not mean instant success: I got even more nervous if I did well.

In just 2 hours my phone started to ring loudly. My recruiter shared the excellent news: I was now invited to the final interview where my technical abilities would be examined. I felt both nervous and incredibly driven to be at the door of our common goal with my girlfriend. Working at Criteo Barcelona was now one single interview away.


The tech interview was by far the most challenging of all. A senior manager asked several questions about analytical methods and how they are applied in an operational environment. We also discussed SQL on a practical level. Towards the end of the interview he requested me to walk him through a live troubleshooting case which would be one of my core daily tasks. Answering his follow-up questions my heart was beating out of my chest. I had time for one question to ask and with that my interview was complete.


After finishing the call, dozens of concerns were raised inside and I started to recall all the little grammatical mistakes I made (or imagined I had made). The circle of emotions was terminated by an unpredicted call from my recruiter. My hands were shaking so intensely that I could barely press the answer button.

... David, we would like to extend a job offer for you … - the only part of our conversation I remember.

First, I called Gloria along with my family. You can imagine the cascade of emotions we all experienced.

After so many months I finally got the job at Criteo which would enable me to learn a ton of new exciting stuff while further growing in the AdTech business. At the same time, this news meant that we could start to plan my relocation to Spain.


My move to Criteo and the amazing city of Barcelona was smooth – even though it was challenged by the pandemic. I could not feel more grateful having in place both my professional and personal lives at once.

I hope you will also fulfil your dreams at Criteo and we can have a (virtual) coffee soon!

David Denes Pall

AdOps Specialist

The Future is Yours.

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