A Deep Dive Into Mercari’s Frontend Teams: Their Unique Challenges and Overall Hiring Process

Hi, everyone! I’m Victoria from the Talent Acquisition Team.

Currently, Mercari’s frontend engineering teams are looking for new members. For anyone out there looking to join our engineering organization, we thought it would be an opportune time to give a peak at what it’s like to work at Mercari as a frontend engineer, right here on Mercan. In this article, I sat down with some of the members from the frontend teams and asked them about their work, the unique challenges they are facing, as well as their experiences relocating to Japan.

If you are interested in joining us, we have also included information about the overall hiring process, in addition to a link to the job description and application at the end of this article. We hope you enjoy reading!

Featured in this article

  • Yi Li (@yi)

    Born in Taiwan, Yi has been working on frontend development since the beginning of her engineering career. In her free time, she also enjoys writing some Rust. In June 2020, Yi joined Mercari and contributed to the two-year project codenamed “GroundUp App.” Currently, she is part of the Web Architect Team. At Mercari, her work mainly focuses on setting project guidelines, designing new integrations, and improving the developer experience and performance.

  • Erika Takahara (@erika.takahara)

    Originally from Brazil, Erika started her career as an art assistant, before soon switching to development. She has worked at several tech companies, such as Elo7 and Nubank, where she was involved in the areas of development, web application maintenance, performance, and accessibility. She joined Mercari in November 2021 as a software engineer and is currently part of the Product Growth Team.

  • Huang SHUO-HAN (@arvinhv)

    Arvin is a frontend tech lead who has a strong passion for UI/UX, web animation, and data visualization. He also loves empowering his fellow colleagues to deliver top-notch value to users. Arvin started his career in Taiwan before moving to Japan and joining Mercari in 2019. At Mercari, his main focus has been working on the CRM Tool and designing and implementing strategies to increase productivity and enhance the user experience. In 2023, he moved to Merpay and now offers a wider range of support as part of the Growth Platform Frontend Team. In his new role, he ensures a seamless workflow process for the different teams at Mercari Group.

  • Ben Hsieh (@ben.hsieh)

    Ben moved to Japan from Taiwan to join Mercari in February 2020. He worked at various companies in Taiwan and China, including startups and large companies such as Alibaba. Ben also has experience as a freelancer, which has allowed him to gain extensive experience in different areas such as video streaming, fintech, and e-commerce. Currently, he is part of a team at Merpay that builds an organizational cross-platform marketing operating system, and is also actively contributing to the company’s LLM-based application. Ben likes the openness of Mercari’s engineering culture, and he embraces the “Go Bold” mindset by actively seeking out opportunities to explore and contribute to projects across various departments.

For starters, what are some of the projects and challenges that your teams are currently working on?

@ben.hsieh: My current team is dedicated to Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Our main objective is to create a user-friendly platform for marketers to develop high-quality content and efficiently manage user-engagement operations. It’s a daunting task since we strive to design a platform that does not require coding yet remains highly adaptable to our marketing users’ needs, all while ensuring that the generated content performs well. Our goal is to empower marketing users by reducing their dependence on engineers and speeding up their time-to-market for all their initiatives and experiments.

To achieve this, the team must have an in-depth knowledge of frontend technologies and a strong desire to create tools with excellent user experience, usability, and performance. While it is undoubtedly challenging and there is always more to learn, this is by far the most fascinating project I have ever worked on.

In addition to the challenges mentioned earlier, another significant aspect of our team’s work involves fostering horizontal integration across all departments within the company to achieve our goals. In the past, each organization had its own specifications and operations when it came to marketing, but our platform aims to improve this by promoting collaboration and achieving the value of “All for One.” Working together with other departments is critical for the success of our project, and we are committed to building a culture of cooperation and inclusivity throughout the organization. Despite the complexities involved, we are excited about the potential of our platform to revolutionize our marketing operations and drive positive results for the company.
Ben Hsieh (@ben.hsieh)

@yi: Seeking continuous improvements is our team’s philosophy toward our product. For example, we have recently been working on improving the performance of Mercari web. The current website is client-side rendering with prerendering, but this does not go very well, which is hurting our SEO results. In order to mitigate this issue, we are planning to change our rendering strategy to server-side rendering.

A proposal like this is very challenging. Not merely because of the volume of the work, but also because Mercari web is a big application maintained by several teams—every decision must be discussed and agreed upon by the contributing teams and stakeholders. With that being said, it is also a good chance to get opinions from different perspectives and reexamine if there is a better approach to solve the issue.
Yi Li (@yi)

@erika.takahara: I work on data-driven experiments in a cross-functional team. We analyze user flows and run A/B tests to improve buyer engagement. The experiments can be suggested by any person in the team, so it is really nice to be involved from the ideation until the completion of the experiment.

Our team does not own any specific feature, so there is a need for us to align our plans with many other stakeholders and investigate how the feature works in order to run each experiment, which can be challenging. At the same time, since each experiment is different from the other, we have a different challenge each time and it makes our work that much more exciting.
Erika Takahara (@erika.takahara)

@arvinhv: As part of my work, I develop an internal tool that empowers PMs, designers, and marketers to create modern, interactive, and high-performing websites with a rich editor that requires no coding. Although this is an internal tool, the websites that it generates are public-facing, and thus must be secure, efficient, and high-performing. We invest a lot of effort into ensuring that the UX of the tool itself is user-friendly yet flexible enough to create building blocks that can support new features and requirements. For example, we use Tailwind CSS to enhance performance and the developer experience, but as not all users know how to code, we provide UI widgets and utilities to help them intuitively adjust styles. Under the hood, Tailwind CSS is still used in the final result. Creating such a complex tool within a company is a rare opportunity, and overcoming these challenges is both demanding and rewarding.
Huang Shuo-han (@arvinhv)

Why do you enjoy working at Mercari as a frontend engineer?

@ben.hsieh: The thing I like most is how the people I am working with are kind and knowledgeable. People make culture, and there are talented people who work on various kinds of projects and propose interesting ideas all the time. Also, it is quite encouraged for engineers to initiate things, which is why we have events like HackWeek and HackFest. There have also been projects initiated by our engineers that have eventually become significant products and features that many people use on a daily basis. Everyone working here strongly resonates with the value of “Go Bold,” so overall, there is great support and understanding even for decisions that may appear aggressive or unusual. We trust in each others’ expertise and ability to handle challenging missions.

In addition to this, working at Mercari as a frontend engineer presents a great opportunity for growth, because Mercari is a huge platform that offers us the chance to deal with products that have a large user base. We can learn from people who already mastered some domains, but at the same time, we still have high flexibility to make our own decision to solve problems. It is also up to you if you want to get involved in the development of other stacks and learn something different.

@yi: Personally, I like how at Mercari, there are not many limitations put on the engineering role. Apart from application implementation, we also have the opportunity to propose new feature ideas, give suggestions on the existing designs, or even get involved in other teams’ projects. You can always find new ways to challenge yourself. My manager once said to me, “What a person can do should not be limited to the role.” I often think back to these words, and it motivates me to try new things and grow further.

However, this does not mean that we are constantly pushing ourselves and discouraged to take vacations. You know, actually, I used to feel bad when taking time off. But, it turns out that I was thinking too much. No one is blamed for taking paid leave, because we all know that rest and balancing work and life are incredibly important!

Since others have already mentioned our talented and wonderful colleagues, I would also like to speak about our managers. At some companies, I think there can be some distance between managers and members. However, at Mercari, top-down management is not common. Almost all engineering managers were once engineers, so they are able to understand what engineers need and want. They are more like mentors that give us advice and help us unblock our projects. We can talk to managers at any time—this includes not only our direct manager, but also the manager’s manager. Our voices can be heard easily.

@erika.takahara: To echo what Yi and Ben said, here at Mercari, everyone is open, knowledgeable, and supportive. This creates a great environment to propose and discuss your initiatives, tasks, and any kind of improvement. You are not limited to the everyday tasks you complete for your team—there are also opportunities to work outside your team domain, such as improving the CI/CD, other tools, or even the developer experience.

Besides the technical part of our work, Mercari’s club activities and events like HackFest also help in building relationships with different people, teams, and stakeholders. I think these aspects of our work culture make it even more fun to work here.

@arvinhv: I believe as a frontend engineer, the desire to try new tech is in our DNA, and here, there are not many restrictions on the tech stack you can choose for frontend projects. I also enjoy how everyone is very supportive and willing to listen, so you can always propose your own idea and find people to help you push it forward. I think another unique thing about Mercari is how there are tons of opportunities for you to work outside your domain—whether it is helping set up k8s infrastructure, adding endpoints or features to a microservice, or building data dashboards to help analysts work better, you are able to step out of your comfort zone within the same company.

Of course, another huge factor for me is the people around me. There are so many talented people that embody our core values of “All for One,” “Be a Pro, and “Go Bold.” The people working here are always striving to make a difference and are supportive of one other. It has been years since I joined the company, but I am still learning so many things from my colleagues.

What kind of candidates do you think would be a good fit for our frontend teams?

@ben.hsieh: The platform that our frontend teams work on (web browsers) is like a bridge of different platforms and services, so it is important that team members are able to work well with others and communicate effectively. Our team has many talented people who are creative and willing to try new things out, which is one of our characteristics and strengths. We always love to try cutting-edge technologies, so it is also important that every team member is able to learn quickly and adapt to new technologies.

@yi: At Mercari, we aren’t always told what to do or how to do things. If you are used to following instructions, you might find our work culture a little difficult to work in. However, if you are someone who is creative and has many ideas, there are no limitations to what you can do here.

Although it is important to be able to work independently, it is impossible to finish a project alone. There are designers, PMs, backend engineers, and people in both technical and non-technical roles that we may work with. Thus, communication and collaboration skills are essential in our daily work.

And, even though we have listed many criteria in our job descriptions, we also know that everyone has weaknesses and strengths. It is hard to be perfect in every aspect. People who are aware of their weaknesses and actively work to improve them can often be some of the most dedicated and motivated candidates that we are looking for.

@arvinhv: If you are tired of just following instructions from PMs and designers and want to work in an environment that fosters creativity and allows you to make a real impact on the products you build, Mercari is the place for you.

As a frontend engineer at Mercari, we want you to share your knowledge with other teams and domains, prioritize user experience, and enhance developer productivity and experience. Furthermore, being able to propose new features and develop tools to help save time for your fellow developers would be a huge plus.

If this kind of work culture and environment sounds like the right fit for you, below is an overview of the hiring process and the technologies that our teams are using! You can find a full list of our tech stacks on this page.

To wrap up, could you tell us about your experiences of relocating to Japan?

@erika.takahara: I’m originally from Brazil, which is basically on the other side of the world, so I was a bit worried about the relocation to Japan, especially because I was moving with my husband and two cats. However, Mercari has an amazing relocation team who took into consideration all of my needs and helped alleviate my anxiety. They kept me up to date for each step of the move, including the complicated changes that were happening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This relocation team helped us throughout the entire process, from acquiring a visa to finding some real estate agents to find a place to live. They also found a temporary home for us that accepted cats, so that our family could comfortably stay there while looking for a place to move.

Another point I want to mention is the Your Choice policy. With this policy, you can live anywhere in Japan, which is great in case you want to run away from crowded cities like Tokyo.

@arvinhv: As a native of Taiwan, I was initially apprehensive about relocating to Japan and the challenges that would come with it. However, as Erika mentioned, the relocation team at Mercari went above and beyond to make the transition as smooth as possible. Thanks to their meticulous planning, I was able to set up my mobile phone number and bank account in just one morning, and quickly move into temporary housing while searching for a permanent residence. In fact, the team even allowed me to fly to Japan a week prior to my onboarding date, which gave me extra time to get settled and feel more comfortable.

Throughout the first few months, there were a multitude of administrative tasks that needed to be completed, but the relocation team was always available to provide the necessary information and guidance. While they couldn’t take care of everything for me, their support was invaluable, and helped ease the stress and uncertainty that comes with relocating to a new country. I’m incredibly grateful for the relocation team’s hard work and dedication, and it’s a true testament to Mercari’s commitment to creating a positive and supportive work environment for its employees.

@ben.hsieh: Yes, I couldn’t be happier with my relocation experience. From the moment I received the offer, various teams, including the recruiting and PX teams, reached out to me proactively and addressed all my queries with kindness and efficiency. Even when faced with additional requirements, they went above and beyond to ensure the relocation process was hassle-free and seamless.

Upon arriving in Japan, the company provided me with a complimentary month-long accommodation and enlisted an agency to assist me in finding permanent housing and handling necessary tasks such as visiting the ward office and setting up a bank account. I think these services are particularly beneficial for individuals like me who are relocating to a new country.

Thank you for reading this article! We hope that it was helpful in giving you a better understanding of the kind of challenges that our engineers are taking on every day here at Mercari.

If you are interested in joining us, please feel free to reach out to our Talent Acquisition Team for a casual chat. You can also apply for a frontend engineering position from this link:

We hope to hear from you soon!

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