Jumpstart your job search: 7 Chicago tech companies hiring right now

February 3, 2017

Jumping into the job search can be tough. If you're overwhelmed by options or just wondering which companies are doing the coolest things, a standard job description probably won't woo you. We talked to seven top Chicago companies hiring right now to hear what they offer employees and what they're looking for in candidates.


What they do: To operate smoothly, derivatives markets need liquidity. Akuna Capital helps to ensure that liquidity with advanced trading software. By trading with only the firm’s own money, Akuna is able to move quickly to model and make markets.

Perks and culture: Employee perks at Akuna include annual sponsored weekend trips, happy hours and summer events around the city. Employees also receive gym membership discounts, philanthropic opportunities and tuition reimbursements.

A word from the boss: “We want inquisitive and analytical minds to drive our organization forward,” said co-founder and CEO Andrew Killion. “Akuna values highly motivated people who love collaboration, problem solving and want to immediately take ownership of high impact projects.”


What they do: SMS Assist ensures that property managers have visibility into their buildings. The company helps streamline operations by bringing together service procurement solutions into one spot.  

Perks and culture: With ample paid time off, free gym memberships and a 401(k), employees are kept happy and healthy at SMS Assist. The company also provides clear career paths to ensure that employees have a chance to grow with the growing startup.

A word from the boss: "SMS Assist is developing and expanding at a rapid pace, so we look for high-energy candidates that are excited to grow with us,” said Anne Scharm, Chief Human Resources Officer. “We’ve cultivated a team-oriented environment here, so we’re looking for someone who is willing to check their title at the door and work collaboratively to get the job done.”


What they do: Data is full of great stories, if you know how to spot them. Narrative Science uses natural language generation to turn data into easily digestible stories, pulling out key points and conveying meaning to people who may not have a grasp on complicated data sets.

Perks and culture: Besides the standing desks and free food and drink at the office, Narrative Science employees enjoy a flexible vacation policy and quarterly company outings. Plus, employees have opportunities for professional development and community engagement.  

A word from the boss: "We're looking for individuals with the same passion, loyalty and curiosity that our employees bring to the office each day,” said CEO Stuart Frankel. “We take pride in our mission-driven and quirky culture and have a 'roll up your sleeves, get things done' approach to work. If you're eager to jump into a fast-paced environment with high-caliber team members, Narrative Science wants to connect."


What they do: Rise Interactive is a digital marketing agency specializing in media, analytics, and customer experience. The agency uses data insights to help its clients make smarter investments in marketing buys and manages campaigns across digital marketing channels.

Perks and culture: All employees have complimentary access to Rise’s on-site gym, as well as an abundance of healthy snacks in the office each day. Employees also receive plenty of paid time off and several paid holidays, in addition to “Beer Fridays” and quarterly company social events.

A word from the boss: “At Rise, we look for individuals who are ready to make a big impact on a growing organization. Risers are humble, think analytically, and always have a team-first mentality,” said Chris Juliano, Rise’s talent acquisition manager. “While we’re a diverse company, made up of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, these key attributes help ensure we are best positioned for success.”  


What they do: Technology has the power to vastly alter the healthcare industry. AVIA helps its network of more than 20 health systems select and implement digital solutions. By improving processes, focus and results, the company hopes to transform how healthcare is delivered for the better.

Perks and culture: As a healthcare innovator, AVIA provides full reimbursement for healthcare premiums as part of its medical, dental and vision insurance coverage. The company also offers tax-free commuter benefits, a monthly snack stipend and in-house meditation and yoga sessions.

A word from the boss: “We invest equally in developing our people as we do in delivering results for our client health systems,” said CEO and co-founder Eric Langshur. “Ideal candidates are intrinsically motivated to achieve their personal purpose and are eager to work where they can live in their zone of genius. We value candidates that are team players, results-oriented, and have a curiosity and a passion for transforming healthcare.”


What they do: It can be hard to know where to start when investing. NextCapital builds financial software for everyday investors, helping them build and maintain portfolios without having to pay for financial advice. As the company grows, it’s looking for abstract thinkers to fill openings for engineering project managers, product designers and interns.

Perks and culture: NextCapital has a matching 401(k) program and offers contributions to health, dental and vision coverage. But it also gives employees 120-degree sit/stand desks, stock options and local coffee, beer and cold brew.

A word from the boss: "We deliver digital financial advice through many distribution channels across the world,” said founder and CEO John Patterson. “This requires strong abstract thinkers that are highly motivated."


What they do: Not every company needs software developers on their team. Earlybird Software helps companies without developer budgets still take advantage of digital developments. The company builds solutions for clients that enhance the security, efficiency and quality of their work.

Perks and culture: Earlybird’s self-directed reimbursement allowance lets employees take online courses and get training materials to build things better. The company also offers family-friendly scheduling to preserve a proper work/life balance.

A word from the boss: "Beyond the qualifications for any specific position, we're looking for candidates who share our core company values — things like a commitment to lifelong learning and belief in frequent and honest communication,” said founder and CEO Andrew Parnell. “We introduce these in the interview process and ask what they mean to the candidate, or if there are any stated values they think we might be missing."


Images via featured companies

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