6 of Chicago's fastest-growing tech companies - and how to get a job at them

Carlin Sack

Chicago is known for building long-lasting and fast-growing companies. It's thanks to Chicago that Illinois is the third fastest-growing tech state growing 6.6 percent and adding 4,500 jobs last year. Here's just a few of the companies that are contributing to that growth - and a few inside tips on how to snag a job at them:


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What they do: bswift offers software and services that streamline benefits, HR and payroll administration for employers and public and private exchanges nationwide.


No. 1 thing they are looking for in applicants: "We look for individuals who represent our core values—Higher Standards, Greater Accountability and More Fun—and are motivated to push bswift to the next level and have the commitment to do it," Marketing Director Emma Frutkin said.


Hot hiring areas this year: Development, Product Management and Client Services.


How they hire: "The hiring process at bswift is rigorous to ensure that we are only bringing on hard-working, self-starting, dynamic individuals who will uphold our core values," Frutkin said. "bswift seeks employees who will listen to our clients and meet their deliverables every time."


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What they do: AvantCredit offers individuals the opportunity to obtain personal loans online.


No. 1 thing they are looking for in applicants: "On the most basic level, we are looking for intelligent people who love solving complex problems," HR and Recruiting Manager Jason Pawlak said.


Hot hiring areas this year: Mid- to senior-level Software Engineers plus Data Scientists and Data Engineers


How they hire: "Our hiring process is very collaborative between all business units and also very transparent, we want the candidate to have as much information about Avant as possible prior to making their decision," Pawlak said. "We are looking for people who are fully bought in on Avant's goals, culture, and potential growth opportunities."


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Sprout Social

What they do: Sprout Social provides a platform for businesses to manage social media engagement, publishing and analytics.


No. 1 thing they are looking for in applicants: "Passion. We work very hard to develop a team of people who are passionate about Sprout, our product and people, the work we do and the impact it has on businesses," Jim Conti, Senior Talent Manager, said. "We also want that passion to exist outside of work, too! How do they operate as individuals, what drives them and are they well-rounded with varied interests?"


Hot hiring areas this year: Designers, Software Engineers, Account Executives


How they hire: "Our hiring process is a two-way street," Conti said. "We want candidates to be just as excited about Sprout Social as we are about them. This means that we like to break the interview process up into multiple pieces, giving candidates a chance to meet multiple members of Team Sprout, allow them to show off their skills through some real-world work samples, and feel comfortable that this is undeniably the right place for them. We value the input of every team member involved in the hiring process."



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What they do: GoHealth is an online portal for finding health insurance coverage, allowing users to compare health insurance quotes and purchase online.


No. 1 thing they are looking for in applicants: "We look for applicants who are passionate and motivated self-starters," Lead Technical Recruiter Gina Contella said. "People who thrive in challenging environments and embrace a work hard/play hard mentality will like it here."


Hot hiring areas this year: Engineers, Web Developers, Project Managers, Business Analysts, Automation and Manual QA.


How they hire: "Our hiring process is geared towards measuring a candidate’s aptitude," Contella said. "We are not sticklers on years of experience or tenure as we are more concerned with a candidate’s dedication to learning new things."



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What they do: kCura develops Relativity, a web-based platform supporting the review, analysis, and production of electronic evidence during litigation.


No. 1 thing they are looking for in applicants: "Beyond having the raw talent for the role, we look for applicants that align with our core values and can really live them out day-to-day," Media Relations Specialist Liz Durkin said. "For example, an applicant to our client services team is constantly communicating with clients via email and in person, so their ability to be an excellent, clear communicator is particularly important given their role in our organization."


Hot hiring areas this year: About 45 percent of the 150 hires this year will be on the Product Development team


How they hire: "During our in-person interviews, applicants have the opportunity to interview with a majority of their prospective team," Durkin said. "The first round of questions focus on the applicant’s skills as they apply to the job, and the following rounds are specific to our core values. Overall, it’s a mix of interviewing for cultural fit and professional abilities. There is also some sort of exercise in every interview, such as a 10-minute demo of our software, if you’re applying to a sales role, or a coding exercise if you’re interviewing for a developer role."



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Channel IQ

What they do: Channel IQ is a provider of online retail intelligence, channel management and brand protection solutions to manufacturers and retailers.


No. 1 thing they are looking for in applicants: Culture fit.


Hot hiring areas this year: Technology and Products teams (Software Engineering and Product Management)


How they hire: "Building relationships with candidates is important in understanding their career motivations and how those line up with opportunities at Channel IQ," Director of Recruiting Elizabeth Faddis said. "Mutual fit is key; we take a comprehensive and high touch approach through the selection process. Candidates are exposed to direct managers, peers, leadership, as well as, our investment partners. It's  critical that the candidate be fully informed about the company, the opportunity and the market opportunity ahead of us. We take pride in ensuring a great candidate experience."




Find Chicago developer jobs here: http://www.builtinchicago.org/jobs/category/78

Find Chicago sales jobs here: http://www.builtinchicago.org/jobs/category/85

Find Chicago marketing jobs here: http://www.builtinchicago.org/jobs/category/82

Find Chicago design jobs here: http://www.builtinchicago.org/jobs/category/79

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