Hiring

DuckDuckGo is made by an awesome set of employees, investors, contractors, open source contributors and community members. We are headquartered in Paoli, Pennsylvania, but remote work is in our DNA and most of our team is scattered around the world.

We are always open to considering new additions. Our core staff is very small (~20) and we would like to keep it as small as possible as we grow because a small team is so much more fun and productive! The only way we can stay small, however, is by hiring people that can be extremely effective in our particular environment. That means company culture fit is the most important thing to us (as opposed to particular experience, skills, credentials, etc.).

This fit primarily entails being strongly motivated by our vision of a search engine that delivers great results and great privacy with open-source instant answers at its core. We think 80%+ of searches can be served effectively by some form of instant answer and we're trying to organize data and APIs around this goal. In other words, for most searches, there exists either a data set/API or a vertical engine/site that would make a great instant answer.

Because company culture fit (and specifically this vision) is so important to us, we exclusively hire full-time people after working with them for some period of time (at least a few months) so we can assess this fit first-hand. Because our open-source side is key to our future, the path to full-time employment usually includes some open-source contributions, followed by a move to contracting as a next step.

This progression looks like:
DuckDuckGo user (for at least a month but often much longer) -> open-source contribution (could be very small, but well-executed) -> contracting (two-three months) -> full-time staff

This process is not about getting free work, and in fact we're quite happy to move to paid contracting very quickly. It's more that we don't have enough extra time to contract with a lot of people we don't know, and so this is the quickest path to get our undivided attention. It's also a recognition that all of the full-time people that currently work at DuckDuckGo were first users, then active in our community on their own volition and then contracted before becoming full-time staff. In other words they were so motivated by our vision that they wanted to be a part of it, and we embraced their unsolicited efforts. In any case, however, we're constantly tweaking and further formalizing this process as we gain new insight from working with others in the community.

We truly believe that this inbound hiring process has been a core reason why our small staff functions so effectively and why DuckDuckGo is both successful and offers unique work experience. That said, we also recognize that this process is very different from the regular resume/phone screen/interview process you generally see. As such, we've found that our process isn't a good fit for those who are seeking immediate employment, but is a good fit for those who, instead, have some time to understand the DuckDuckGo environment and assess if a staff role and its responsibilities would truly interest them.

    In particular, we think our culture fits best with:
  • People that are specifically passionate about what we're accomplishing at DuckDuckGo: delivering a world-class search engine with great results and great privacy with open-source instant answers at its core. That's why we pretty much exclusively choose to work with passionate DuckDuckGo users.
  • People that naturally think from a product perspective (vs pure engineering, ops, etc.). We're a mass-market consumer product company, and making a simple, elegant and useful product is at the center of everything we do. That's why we specifically ask for negative product feedback and are wowed by well-thought out open-source product contributions (and proposals).
  • People that like to work and think across the full stack of the Internet, i.e. from backend to frontend, including data, algo and design (though you're probably better at some things than others of course). We have a lot of moving parts and it helps to at least be interested in and understand what they do and how they work.
  • People that exercise good judgement on what they should be working on, which we refer to as staying on critical path. Quite simply, we don't want to spend any of our time micro-managing anyone, but to make that a reality means people need to understand our product goals and objectives and help us execute them effectively. That's, again, why we like to give people small projects and see how they execute them.

The easiest and best place to get started in our community is DuckDuckHack, our open-source instant answer platform, though we have many other open-source areas and are happy to talk to you about any of them (though GitHub issues are always a good starting point, or even better something that is bothering you personally).

If you have any questions or need directions, you can get in touch with us at iwanttohack@duckduckgo.com, but please keep it short and sweet!

    We'd be particularly interested in:
  • How long have you been a DuckDuckGo user?
  • What product feedback do you have for us (emphasis on the negative)?
  • What do you consider your specialt(y|ies)?

We have a lot of areas in the company right now we could use help on including our backend, systems, design, open-source browser extensions, mobile apps, community platform and DuckDuckHack packages.