On the Job Hunt? Look No Further.
Once you’ve found a company that fits your interests and goals, what makes for a winning interview strategy?
For Sam Lahti, director of infrastructure at Avant, it’s being unafraid to show unique thought.
“Curiosity can come in a lot of flavors, so I always like to see how it emerges; either in the way a person solves an interview question or how they share an interesting story about their background or career,” he said.
“If someone is curious enough about something, they will learn regardless of the challenges along the way,” she said.
That curiosity doesn’t just move a company forward — it also drives initiatives and resources for employee growth. When opportunities for growth are available, a successful new hire is someone who has the interest and know-how to leverage them.
To learn more about what makes a match, we rounded up nine local leaders to hear what attracted them to their roles and learn about new projects they’re tackling. We also got insider tips on what they look for in new hires. If you’re ready for a new opportunity, one of their open roles may be a match.
What they do: Aptitive is an IT consulting firm with solutions focusing on the management, design and development of data-centric projects.
First impressions: “I applied to Aptitive because it looked like an opportunity to stay very tech-forward in my career, and that mindset continues today,” Marsh said. “We’re encouraged to not focus too much on any particular technology stack, but rather experiment and network with any technology that interests us and is demanded by our market. I’ve learned everything from PowerShell to R, depending on different clients. Aptitive is great about using your natural curiosity and problem-solving skills to build your breadth of knowledge while also meeting our client’s technology needs.”
What they look for: “When hiring for team members who are earlier in their careers, I tend to focus on technical and problem-solving skills. Ultimately, I find the most successful people at Aptitive are people who continue to be passionate about technology and excel at solving complex, ambiguous problems for our clients. If you keep growing those interests and skills, you’ll fit right in at Aptitive.”
What they do: Box is a single cloud platform empowering organizations to manage the entire content lifecycle, work securely from anywhere, and integrate across best-of-breed apps.
First impressions: “It’s been almost five years since I joined Box,” Miles said. “I was asked to build a team from scratch, which in some ways sounded a little scary, but also very exciting. When I started, I had no sales reps on my team. Now I am leading a team as a director. I was one of the first woman leaders at the time with a team of all men. I like the fact that I’ve been able to voice my opinions on things like writing the handbook and cultivating a diverse workforce. Although a lot has changed, I still feel that my opinion matters and is valued, which allows me to continue to grow and create opportunities for other people.”
What they look for: “I look for what candidates can bring to us that we can learn from. I try to encourage people to be vulnerable and speak out. I also like when we have people from different backgrounds — we look for diverse life experiences, thoughts and perspectives.”
What they do: Centro provides enterprise-class software for digital advertising organizations.
First impressions: “When I first learned about the data science role at Centro seven years ago, I was really excited to work on projects that would keep me intellectually challenged,” Myo said. “Data science is an intersection of many different fields including machine learning, mathematics and statistics. I have learned over the years that although being skillful in all these areas is great, that’s not enough to be a great data scientist. There are non-technical skills that are as important. Intuition and empathy are as important as machine learning and statistics. And let’s not forget about common sense. It’s hardly advertised as a needed skill, and probably one of the most critical skills that is often undervalued in the data science community.”
What they look for: “If I was asked this question when I first joined Centro, I would have said intellectual curiosity. Fast forward seven years, and I’m happy to drop the intellectual part — now, it’s just curiosity. Be curious about the challenges we face as a company. Be curious about people and their backgrounds to understand different perspectives. Be curious about things that are unanswered. If someone is curious enough about something, they will learn regardless of the challenges along the way.”
What they do: Paro helps businesses unlock growth by providing flexible finance and accounting solutions via a network of highly-vetted freelance experts.
First impressions: “I was drawn to Paro based on the impact and opportunity in front of us,” Kamhi said. “We are focusing on what our experts need to exceed their personal and professional goals, and I love the talent-centricity. I am relatively new to Paro, but I actually started as a customer and an advocate. Since joining the company to lead our customer experience teams, I’ve noticed a few things that drive Paro’s success. I quickly realized the team has great chemistry. We have healthy, data-driven debates that result in making decisions based on our core values. There is also significant trust and ownership across the team. That ownership starts at the top and cascades across the entire organization. Everyone feels empowered to own their domain.”
What they look for: “Passionate and professionally curious candidates. We are looking for great people with consultative mindsets who can help us continue to grow into the enterprise space. Most importantly for my customer experience teams, I am excited to find candidates who are truly customer-obsessed.”
What they do: Avant’s goal is to become the premiere online bank for the middle class consumer through use of digital products.
First impressions: “I initially joined Avant when it acquired the startup I worked for,” Lahti said. “My skill set matched up with the newly-formed platform engineering team where the pace was quick and the tech stack was entirely different. The company was experiencing a huge period of growth, so I got to take on new responsibilities at a pivotal time. Avant has always given me an opportunity to participate in all stages of product development and design, as well as put my skills to the test solving problems affecting a platform serving millions of users. While my role has varied greatly over the last three and a half years, my focus on problem solving, delivering scalable solutions, and practicing great engineering has not changed.”
What they look for: “There is absolutely one specific trait that I look for over any other: curiosity. Curiosity can come in a lot of flavors, so I always like to see how it emerges; either in the way a person solves an interview question or how they share an interesting story about their background or career. My own career experience is a little non-traditional and some of the best engineers I have worked with have non-traditional backgrounds. We try to make sure we don’t impose a strict CS or finance standard for candidates. Instead, we focus on their engineering mindset and what they are looking to do in their career. Given the diversity of my experience with the company, I want to give any of our engineers the same opportunity to explore all different parts of our business.”
What they do: Hudson River Trading is an algorithmic trading company that brings a scientific approach to trading financial products.
First impressions: “I applied to HRT searching for a firm that promoted a positive work-life balance and in which collaboration among interdisciplinary teams was encouraged,” Thiel said. “I was somewhat apprehensive about onboarding during the pandemic, but have found everyone I have worked with to be welcoming, helpful and supportive. The tools HRT has put in place have made it easy to collaborate on projects regardless of whether my colleagues are working in the same office, at home or halfway across the world.”
Who they hire: “People who can communicate and collaborate well. Technical prowess is certainly important, but especially in the current climate where team members are splitting time between home and the office, being able to coordinate tasks effectively and efficiently is essential. Sometimes, this is as simple as being open to suggestions from others and not letting your ego get in the way of choosing the best path forward for the company. Everyone on our team contributes in their own way, and only by working together can we solve the technical challenges we face each day.”
What they do: Morningstar is a fintech platform that offers services that connect people to the investing information and tools they need.
First impressions: “My initial experience at Morningstar was sink-or-swim,” de Jong said. “After some pretty significant tech lead turnover, I finally got a tech lead who stuck around about three months into my tenure. Nonetheless, I learned what a supportive group of people work at Morningstar, and it really pressed me to be more outgoing, communicative and entrepreneurial. It gave me opportunities to extend myself, and to be recognized. This led to other opportunities and a steady career progression. Now I am responsible for hiring onto various teams and developing engineers. It’s been a ride!”
Biggest current challenge: “Building a center of excellence and culture around front-end engineering. I manage around 18 to 20 front-end developers (FEDs) across three major geographic locations and time zones. Creating a culture of excellence, a spirit of collaboration and shared sense of purpose is probably the toughest task at the moment. As a result, most of my check-ins are not work-related, but involve how the engineers are doing emotionally and learning how I can support them. Also, I’ve focused on identifying opportunities for FEDs to extend themselves through learning and new challenges, as well as giving a forum for them to present their work (including side-projects).”
What they do: C.A. Fortune is a vertically integrated consumer brands agency that seeks to strengthen brands of all sizes, guided by thought leaders and cutting-edge technology.
First impressions: “I first applied to C.A. Fortune because I was looking to broaden my business development skills,” Mosser said. “As we’ve experienced significant growth, more robust processes and procedures have been put in place across the organization and strong employee benefits have been formalized. One of the highlights, paid parental leave, proved incredibly valuable when my husband and I welcomed our second daughter through adoption. Through it all, we’ve maintained our positive, entrepreneurial culture and are looking toward 2022 with the same can-do spirit that has brought us where we are today.”
Most exciting current challenge: “Filtering out the noise to deliver concise, value-added, actionable insights and recommendations to the clients that I serve. To put it another way — the challenge is to share the right information with the right people at the right time.”
What they do: VTS is a platform meant to replace all other property technology solutions by improving staff efficiency and elevating occupant experience.
First impressions: “I first applied because I thought what the company was doing was completely revolutionary and I could not grasp how this did not exist in the marketplace,” McGee said. “I was enticed by the opportunity to be a part of building the future for VTS. While our team and company has grown, there has been a tremendous amount of pride watching colleagues create the organization culture and dynamic that makes us dynamic, agile and unstoppable.”
What they look for: “The ability to solve problems creatively. We live and breathe technology, which means yesterday will never be the same as tomorrow; those who can test out their solutions without fear of failure will succeed. We believe in the idea nothing is ever final. If you expect to always grow and develop, the challenges here will excite you.”