tails.com • Richmond, United Kingdom

Mid level Backend Software Engineer

3–4 days/week at home

9-day fortnight

Dog friendly

Job Description

We're open to both in-office (hybrid, anywhere from 1 to 5 days per week in the office) and fully remote, within the UK.

Who We Are

tails.com is an e-commerce platform and subscription business. We deliver tailor-made dog food to over 250,000 dogs every month. Every single bag we ship is unique — which is no mean feat when you produce 11,000+ per day. We own the whole experience, from our landing page to the customer’s front door. We use Python everywhere we can, including in our factory.

What You'll Do

You’ll work in one of our autonomous squads made up of engineers, product managers, designers, and quality assurance. You’ll collaborate with teams to solve difficult problems across the entire company — from marketing and data to the factory engineers. As Python is currently our main language we prefer you to be already familiar with Python or any other web-oriented language (PHP, Ruby, JavaScript, etc).

In this position, you’ll get to:

  • Work with a modern web stack and microservices to deliver features and products
  • Lead best practices ensuring great software engineering and appropriate testing
  • Contribute to the ongoing evolution of the platform architecture
  • Participate in bi-monthly hackdays to build or learn absolutely anything you want
  • Build software in an environment that supports your individual growth
  • Ensure our customers have a healthy and happy dog for life!

We'd like you to be comfortable with:

  • Python 3 (plus Flask, Django or any other framework) or any comparable language, with web experience
  • At least one SQL dialect
  • Writing efficient and scalable code
  • Running Docker locally and on production

Additionally, the following would be useful to have, but are not required:

  • Experience with Kubernetes
  • Experience with event systems, especially Kafka
  • DevOps experience in scaling and running high-traffic software on AWS or GCP
  • Experience working with systems for manufacturing environments

We ship early and often, so we push multiple deployments live per day through our CI/CD pipelines. Our local development environments have setup guides and it’s possible to ship something on your very first day. We like to keep the code review process friendly and supportive so everyone can learn and grow. We also make space in our sprints for learning and development time, and hold in-house workshops on new technologies.

What Makes Us Different

We prioritise work-life balance. We have flexible hours (start 7-10 am, finish 4-7 pm) and if you’re working remotely you’ll have the same schedule. You are never expected to reply to Slack messages outside of your working hours.

Squads are free to choose their technology stack. We primarily use Kubernetes, Python 3, Flask, Celery, and SQLAlchemy for our monolith and microservices. AWS is our main cloud provider and CI/CD is paramount.

We don’t use algorithm puzzles in the hiring process. After a phone interview with an engineer, you’ll get a short take home test directly related to the work we do everyday. After that, we’ll bring you in for a round of interviews. Usually two and a half hours, during which you’ll speak to two pairs of engineers and our head of engineering with small breaks in between.

We like to hear our employees' voices. We also use anonymous polls (we publish the results internally) as well as live anonymous Q&A questions to the CEO. We won “The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work for 2020” award and the survey results are public.

What’s next?

If this sounds like it matches your experience and what you’d love to do, we can’t wait to hear from you! If you’re unsure whether you fit our criteria exactly, please get in touch anyway. And because we believe that diverse teams perform better, we’d especially love to hear from you if you’re from an under-represented demographic.

Here’s a taster of how our recruitment process works:

  • Once you have applied your CV will be reviewed by the Hiring team.
  • If selected, you will be invited to complete a telephone interview with someone in our software engineering team.
  • Should you be successful, you will be sent a tech test.
  • If successful, you will be invited back to complete a 2.5 hour interview - 2x 1 hour interviews with peers and 1x 30 minute chat with our Director of Engineering.
  • You are welcome at tails.com

    You are welcome at tails.com no matter what you look like or where you come from. We are actively seeking a diverse pool of applicants, including those from historically marginalised groups. We believe that a diverse company is a powerful company. It’s through our differences that we will innovate and change the world of pet food for good.

    Read more about Tails Engineering and our working practices on our tech blog.

    What's in it for you?

    • A £2,500 budget to buy whatever development kit you need
    • Competitive salary, reviewed annually.
    • Annual bonus, based on company performance.
    • Flexible core hours, giving you true work life balance.
    • Hybrid/remote role to ensure this role works for you.
    • 25 days of holiday (excluding bank holidays) which increases over time to a max of 27 days.
    • 9/10 day working week - meaning every other Friday off to enhance your wellbeing without a reduction in pay and leave allowance
    • Optional 5 days unpaid leave and 1 paid volunteer day each year.
    • When you need a change of scenery, you can work from abroad 2 weeks every 6 months
    • Health insurance for you, paid by tails.com (starting mid 2023)
    • Extended maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption pay. 6 months at 70% pay
    • Flexible paid care leave to support immediate dependents, people close to you and pets.
    • Electric car lease, through a salary sacrifice scheme
    • An external financial coach to support a range of topics - debt management, savings and investments.
    • Vet service - to support with all pet related questions.
    • In house L&D team, with access to year round courses to help drive your development.
    • 50% discount on all tails.com and 40% on Republic of Cats products.
    • Discounted gym membership.

    Company benefits

    Enhanced maternity leave – up to 6 months at 70% pay
    Enhanced paternity leave – up to 6 months at 70% pay
    Adoption leave – up to 6 months at 70% pay
    Shared parental leave – up to 6 months at 70% pay
    Work from anywhere scheme – work from abroad 2 weeks every 6 months.
    25 days annual leave + bank holidays
    9-day fortnight
    Dog friendly office
    In 2023 we will trial a 9/10 day working week, meaning every other Friday off to enhance your wellbeing without a reduction in pay or leave allowance.
    In house L&D team, with access to year round courses to help drive your development.
    Health insurance for you, paid by tails.com (starting mid 2023) & discounted gym membership.
    An external financial coach to support a range of topics such as debt management, savings and investments.
    Optional 5 days unpaid leave and 1 paid volunteer day each year.

    We asked employees of tails.com how satisfied they were with flexible working, and this is what they told us

    Employees are very happy with their working location freedom
    Employees are very happy with the flexibility in the hours they work
    Employees are very happy with the benefits their company offers
    Work-life balance
    Employees feel that they can find the perfect balance of life and work
    Role modelling
    Employees feel that flexible working is part of the culture
    Employees feel they have complete autonomy over getting their work done
    Working at tails.com

    Company employees


    Gender diversity (male:female)


    Office locations

    HQ Richmond, Factories in Heathrow and Amstelveen

    Hiring Countries

    United Kingdom