I applied to Crossover in December of 2019. A friend had told me about the company reaching out to her on LinkedIn and how great the money was so I decided to give it a shot. I went on their website to see a list of roles they were hiring for and chose the QA manual tester role. I applied for the QA role as it didn’t require any experience but welcomed people with scripting experience to apply. I felt it would be a great fit.
I took the first Aptitude test on the Crossover website(known as the CCAT) and passed that. It’s a relatively easy test but can be a little tricky if you haven’t had any practice taking aptitude tests. You’ve to be in the top 15% of test takers around the world to pass this test.
After passing the CCAT, I went ahead to take the Language test. At this stage I had to do a recording of myself speaking about my previous experience.
Once this got approved, I had to take some basic MCQ(multiple choice questions) — I think they were 3 basic questions that anyone who has used a computer/the internet can answer.
After that, I had to schedule a test called the Free Response questions. This was probably the most important stage of the process. They sent me some practice questions and instructions on how to execute tests in a test environment.
On the day of the test, I got on a Zoom call with my tester and she sent me a list of 5 tests to complete within 1 hour. I completed all the tests within the hour and submitted them. At the end of the test, she asked If I checked that some of the tests I submitted were uploaded to the server — I think I forgot this step. She eventually said I shouldn’t worry about it but it sounded like a serious mistake.
A few (nerve racking)days later, I got an email that I had passed the test and I was going to have an interview.
I spent time preparing for the interview ( you know, reading about the company and stuff). The interview was around 10pm my time. My interviewer was really nice. He told me he didn’t really have anything to ask me since I already passed the test and asked If I had any questions. He mentioned that he’d be sending me an offer at the end of the call(great news!). I asked him about the working conditions and how flexible the work hours were which he responded to.
At the time, I thought that was it and I already had a Full-time role. I was excited to start!. A couple of hours later, I received some emails with my offer and documents I needed to sign to accept the offer. I also received an email about something they refer to as Crossover RemoteU. RemoteU is your first week at Crossover that every new recruit goes through. You are giving a bunch of reading tasks and some excel tasks. The idea is for you to get a general understanding of how the company works and learn the internal tools they use. You’d learn buzz words like TMS, ZBT, FTAR and how to use their internal work tools. You’d also have a dedicated career coach to help you through that week of RemoteU. Your metrics are tracked and your performance is ranked against other people in your cohort. The FTAR is the most important thing Crossover focuses on — it’s a measure of how much of your work did not need to be redone.
This will be your first experience using their monitoring tools — the timer that you start at the beginning of each work day and the tool that tracks your keystrokes, takes screenshots at random intervals of your screen and also a tool that takes pictures of you randomly to ensure that you’re sitting at your desk and working. During this week, you’ll also take the PCCAT — A proctored version of the aptitude test you took the first time you applied to Crossover. i.e there’d be an examiner watching you take the test on your computer over webcam. If you fail the PCCAT, you don’t get to proceed to the next week of the programme and you also do not get paid for the hours you worked in that first week.
I scheduled and took my PCCAT. In my opinion, it was more difficult than the CCAT. At the end of the PCCAT, you continue working on tasks until you receive an email informing you if you passed or failed.
Over half of my Cohort failed the PCCAT. Everyone that passed the PCCAT then had a call with our Cohort lead who asked us what our experience with RemoteU has been like and how the PCCAT went. Everyone agreed that it was a little harder than the CCAT — and not just because someone is watching you.The questions did seem a little more involved.
After passing the PCCAT, you put together and submit a presentation, answering questions about what you learnt during that week at RemoteU. You also run some required tests on your computer and submit those.
At the end of RemoteU, one of the VPs takes a look at your presentation and determines whether or not you will be allowed to continue with the programme.
The next stage was a 3-week long stage where I was assigned 100+ test cases to work with. Your metrics are tracked from Day 1. You also have to learn a lot of the processes for failing or passing tests and how to report them. There is a lot of documentation to read through! Every day, you fill out a form explaining why your submissions did not pass review the first time around and how you plan to fix that. You then discuss all of these with your manager.
Typical Day at RemoteCamp
6:30am — 7:00am —- Get on a call with mentor1 to review work
7:00am — 12:00pm — Work on test cases.
12:00pm — 1:00pm — Work on Daily summary for meeting with daily check-in with manager
1:00pm — 1:30pm — Meet with manager to review document, discuss challenges and show any new information added to presentation
1:30pm — 2:30pm — Break
2:30pm — whenever — Do more test cases. Add info to presentation document.
You also meet with 2 mentors who already work in the production(main) team. They coach you through the process. Both of my mentors were really helpful. You also get an email each morning informing you of all your metrics and how far away you are from hitting the targets.
I got through the first two weeks of RemoteCamp — the term used to describe the 3week training before being fully accepted.I kind of struggled through those weeks because quite a number of my submissions kept failing FTAR and I had to redo them. This stopped me from completing more tests quickly enough. The programme is intense and very fast paced and you’d need to be on your A-game all the time.
I’d wake up at 6:30am my time to get on a call with my mentors(due to timezone differences) and work from that time till around 7/8pm trying to complete as many tests as I can at a high quality so that I do not have to redo them. I was probably working 50–60+hrs a week.
At the start of the 3rd week, I noticed someone on my team had stopped attending our team meetings. I reached out to him and he mentioned that he resigned because he was burnt out — a feeling I could totally relate to and something I was also considering but hey — for someone that lives in Nigeria, the money was great!.
One of the main reasons people do not complete the RemoteCamp is that they resign — which is something you’re told at the very beginning.
By the end of the 3rd week, I was so tired, stressed and anxious that I decided to hand in my resignation. (quick note — you do not get paid for the week that you resign. I only realized this later). Apart from the fact that I wanted to focus on getting a role as a Software engineer, I was really just plain stressed out.
After handing in my resignation, my manager got on a call with me to understand why I couldn’t cope. They take it as a failure on that part if an IC(individual contributor — what you’re called during RemoteCamp) is unable to graduate from the RemoteCamp.
I think everyone was quite helpful, I just think they targets were ridiculously high and except you’re ridiculously smart and can figure out a way to get things done quick, you may struggle a lot.
All in all, it was an intense experience that taught me a lot. I learnt how to work in blocks i.e work for 2 hours straight with 0 distractions, plan my work day, work fast while maintaining great quality of work. And did I mention before? — the first week the money hits your account, it feels really really good :).
Some downsides for me were
- How much work I was expected to complete in such a short space (It’s definitely doable because people do it!)
- Pictures of me being taken randomly
- No overtime! And you’d need to work overtime to hit some of the targets
- No pay for the week you resign
- The pressure!