Beyond the bullet points: Here are the traits 5 Chicago startups look for in new hires

by Michael Hines
October 25, 2017

Tech companies seldom make hiring decisions based strictly on resumes. Education and experience certainly count, but startups also want to know whether a candidate’s personality matches the core values and mission of their company. Since culture is king in the startup world, we asked leaders at five Chicago tech companies what traits they look for in candidates.

 

Hireology team photo Chicago

Hireology’s data-driven hiring platform makes it easier for businesses to find and onboard new employees. The company also offers solutions for time tracking and managing payroll and benefits. CEO Adam Robinson said Hireology looks for candidates who are eager, accountable and focused.

What traits make someone a good culture fit at Hireology?

Everything we do is rooted in our core values. If you're full of optimism, eager to improve professionally, accountable for your own outcomes, focused on delivering great experiences to customers and you value a respectful and diverse work environment, then we'd love to talk to you.

How do these traits reflect your culture and mission?

We wake up every day focused on helping business owners succeed, and we do that by delivering technology that helps them build their best teams. Our values dictate our approach to delivering on this mission. Our tactics might change, but our mission and values are our North Star.

How do your current employees stand out as examples to follow?

I could pick anyone from our organization and take you through all that they're doing to help build a strong business. One person who comes to mind is Hannah Pigman, who runs our events operation. We lead or participate in over 70 events a year, and Hannah runs them like a Swiss watch.

She's perpetually focused on the positive aspects of challenging problems and constantly seeks out new ways to grow her contribution to the success of our company. Every time she takes on additional responsibility, she delivers. It's energizing for everyone to work with someone like that.

 

UrbanBound team photo Chicago

UrbanBound builds software that makes it easier for companies to manage and optimize their relocation benefits. While its software makes moving less stressful, relocating for a new job is never easy. That’s why co-founder Jeff Elman said UrbanBound looks for candidates who are empathetic and eager to solve problems.

What traits make someone a good culture fit at UrbanBound?

Knowing that the users of our software are pressed for time and experiencing a big change in life, we strive to hire employees who can relate to our customers. Therefore, being empathetic, responsive, and eager to help solve problems makes up the fabric of UrbanBound team members.  

How do these traits reflect your culture and mission?

Our users rate their satisfaction with both our software and team members. Consistently receiving praise and high scores from our customers feeds our company's mission of eliminating the stress and chaos of moving. We receive letters and emails from individuals about how they could never have moved without us.

How do your current employees stand out as examples to follow?

Our relocation consultants create thousands of "wow moments" throughout the year. It could be as simple as sending a family with children coloring books for them to use during a move or sending an avid biker a map of local trails in their new community. We treat each move as if we are helping our own family members, and that drives us to perform at a high level.

 

SpotHero team photo Chicago

SpotHero’s mobile app makes it easier for drivers to find, book and pay for parking. Director of people Leah Potkin said the company looks for candidates who embody its core values and are excited by all the challenges that come with working at one of Chicago’s fastest-growing startups.

What traits make someone a good culture fit at SpotHero?

Many of our most successful team members are proactive and voracious learners. They're excited about taking on new challenges and are constantly seeking feedback so they can improve in the process. Another trait we look for is a high level of adaptability. Things change frequently in a startup environment and candidates who, despite these pivots, can bounce back to accomplish their goals are the ones who flourish at SpotHero.

How do these traits reflect your culture and mission?

Our mission is to help people get everywhere easier, and our core values were established with that endgame in mind. What we value internally translates into what we can accomplish as a company, so it's important for us to hire people who embody these traits through and through. Collectively, we're excited by the challenges of our industry and we eagerly seek feedback from our customers and partners.

 

4C team photo Chicago

4C helps companies run better marketing campaigns by providing multi-screen analytics. The company’s cloud-based platforms let marketers better engage audiences across everything from televisions to tablets. Lead development engineer Trevor Borg looks for candidates who thrive in a culture that values independent thinking.

What traits make someone a good culture fit at 4C?

We work together in a large number of small, relatively autonomous but interlocking teams. We value independence and the ability to understand problems and pursue their solutions without stuffy and strict hierarchy standing in the way. We look for people who can thrive in this environment.

How do these traits reflect your culture and mission?

As a company, 4C is growing fast, but we're moving even faster. New partnerships, integrations and features create new opportunities constantly. 

 

SilkRoad team photo Chicago

SilkRoad’s talent management software makes it easier for HR teams to manage and engage employees, from the recruiting phase all the way to offboarding. According to inside sales director Michael Gospodarek and EVP of sales and marketing Mike DeVries, successful “SilkRoadies” have a creative and entrepreneurial spirit.  

What traits make someone a good culture fit at SilkRoad?

Gospodarek: Someone who is passionate, enthusiastic and a resourceful sales professional who takes pride in their work ethic and ability to drive results. Successful SilkRoadies constantly seek new ways to provide creative and impactful solutions specific to our customers’ needs. SilkRoadies collaborate as a sales team to push each other to improve skills and strategies.

How do these traits reflect your culture and mission?

DeVries: As an organization, we’re not interested in transactions, we’re invested in transformations. We’re looking for the right people to help us make that a reality for our current and prospective customers.

How do your current employees stand out as examples to follow?

Gospodarek: Courtney Oiler is a great example of a model SilkRoadie. She started as a sales development rep and then became an inside sales rep. Courtney’s methodical, yet personalized approach to consultative selling helped her to create impactful and value-based relationships with prospective clients. She exceeded her goals and has continued to find success at SilkRoad.

 

Images via participating companies.

Know of a company that deserves coverage? Shoot us an email or follow us on Twitter @BuiltInChicago.

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