12 Chicago Tech Companies Hiring Right Now

There is always something happening in the tech industry.
Written by Rachael Millanta
March 31, 2022Updated: March 31, 2022

There are few professional fields that experience change at the rapid rate of the tech industry. With large funding rounds, ambitious executives and groundbreaking designs at the ready, it can seem like startup companies appear from nowhere and take on the world overnight. Even for those moving at a slower pace, the reality is that change and growth are inevitable — especially in tech. 

So what’s the secret to taking all this change and growth instride?

According to Emily McCann, the director of people and culture at consumer brands agency C.A. Fortune, long term success requires people who can adapt and roll with the punches. “We look for more than problem solvers — we look to hire talented people who proactively take action to deliver the results,” she said.

Morgan Oakes, the paid media director at website development and digital marketing agency Marcel Digital, expanded on McCann’s sentiments. “Our team must deal with an industry that is constantly changing,” she said. “It is important for us to find individuals who are inquisitive, always curious about the latest technologies and techniques, ready to question insights and results, and who are hungry for new challenges.”

Built In sat down with twelve industry leaders in Chicago to discuss how their companies have evolved over time, the most exciting challenges they face and what they look for in candidates for new positions. 

The best part? They’re all hiring right now.

 

Asana colleagues standing around a table with laptops having a team huddle
Asana

 

Julie Dragon
Enterprise Customer Success Manager, Chicago

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

I was attracted to innovation and growth within the work management category, so Asana frequently stood out to me. It was hard not to notice Asana as a mission-driven company, as well as the product continually shining through as a leader within the space — with business growth, customer expansions and being named a top workplace by Fortune for six years in a row, it was clear that there was something special happening at Asana. Having spent over 10 years in enterprise sales and customer success, I experienced first-hand the challenge that companies face due to limited visibility and a lack of clarity around who is doing what and when. Asana’s ability to solve this acute issue for millions of teams made me confident that I could have a direct impact on the transformation of enterprise organizations. When I learned that there were plans to open a Chicago location, I immediately applied. After an incredibly thoughtful interview process, I was thrilled to officially join the team!

Since hopping on board, my admiration for Asana has grown even more. Asana’s commitment to its values drives me to contribute and make an impact on the business for our customers, all towards achieving our mission.

I find that curiosity unlocks potential across so many dimensions.”

 

When you’re looking to grow your team, what’s a quality that you look for in candidates and why is it important at your company?

We have a saying at Asana — “above the line”  — which comes from conscious leadership training that all Asana employees are invited to participate in. According to the framework, we may find ourselves above or below the line at any given time, the former being a responsive role with the latter being a reactive one. When we’re below the line, we’re closed off and defensive, but when we’re above, we’re open and curious — that’s where the magic happens.

I’m in the process of building a customer success team across the revenue organization and I look for people who are committed to being above the line whenever possible. We have an ambitious vision that requires us to innovate at great speed in order to thrive within the competitive landscape. I find that curiosity unlocks potential across so many dimensions. Being open and curious with our customers allows us to better understand their business objectives and how we can help them achieve their missions. Being open and curious with our teammates allows us to better understand and celebrate individual identities, ultimately strengthening our culture of inclusion and belonging.

 

 

John Breen
Director of Talent Acquisition

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

I applied to SMS Assist because I was impressed by their values-based culture! SMSers demonstrate their values in many ways and thanks to them, I didn’t feel like a new hire for very long after my first day. The robust training I received from orientation, my department leader’s passion for people and my amazing team’s unquestionable integrity made me feel like I could hit the ground running. My department leader created and maintains a strong culture that is inclusive, collaborative, accountable and positive, and my team embraced me instantly. They were eager to drop whatever they were doing to help me find success in my new role. I feel fortunate to be a part of a talent acquisition team that truly inspires me. All the people at SMS Assist are authentic and that has been consistent from my interviews to today.

I look for candidates who are innovative, open to change and passionate about people.”

 

When you’re looking to grow your team, what’s a quality that you look for in candidates and why is it important at your company?

I look for candidates who are innovative, open to change and passionate about people. One of our company’s values is “relentless innovation” and we’re constantly making changes to improve the efficiency of our workflows across the company. People and their time mean everything to SMSers — whether they’re our colleagues, candidates, vendors or customers — and we care about finding ways to provide better interactions and service to all of them. Our success has allowed us to grow quite a bit this year, which has resulted in a lot of openings, which is a great problem to have when you’re leading a talent acquisition team!

 

 

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

I first applied to Alliant back in September 2015 and much has changed since my first day in November of that year. We’ve grown rapidly throughout the years and my individual growth and experience have matured alongside Alliant. Fortunately, I’ve been granted various opportunities as I’ve navigated my career throughout Alliant, initially as a member service consultant in our member contact center to now a scrum master in portfolio management. Alliant has continually championed its employees to unleash their talent by challenging them to truly invest in their chosen career paths. I’ve learned a lot over the past seven years here and the possibilities are endless to continue evolving and expanding my skill set as an asset to Alliant. I’m excited to be an integral part of what we’ll accomplish next!

Alliant has continually championed its employees to unleash their talent by challenging them to truly invest in their chosen career paths.”

 

What’s your most interesting or exciting work-related challenge right now and how are you overcoming it?

Learning how to be a better coach and mentor is my current undertaking. Scrum is all about continuous improvement, but in order to solicit how this can occur, you have to actively listen to what your team members are sharing and work together as a team to determine a solution. Posing powerful questions is an art and Alliant has invested in my training so that I can be the best coach and mentor for my team.

 

 

Monse Hernandez
Corporate Trainer

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

After being laid off due to Covid-19, I looked through endless job postings and spent hours reading different job descriptions. I eventually came across MoLo’s profile and loved the message of not only providing amazing service to their customers and carriers, but also their clear dedication to being employee-focused. I was so interested to learn more that I then went to MoLo’s website and read through the values, only to realize that I personally identified with every single one of them. Clicking into MoLo’s profile was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! 

My experience has evolved drastically, as I came into the logistics industry with zero knowledge of how important our work is to the economy. I’ve learned so much in the time I’ve been with MoLo, and I’m proud to say that in my current role as a trainer, I am now able to pass on the industry knowledge I’ve acquired — as well as continue to instill the culture we are all truly passionate about.

I am now able to pass on the industry knowledge I’ve acquired — as well as continue to instill the culture we are all truly passionate about.”

 

What’s your most interesting or exciting work-related challenge right now and how are you overcoming it?

The most exciting challenge the training team is working on is real-time changes that are happening not only in our operational systems, but also in our current day-to-day processes as MoLo continues to rapidly grow. The entire team is fully equipped to be able to adjust and pivot our processes in order to maintain consistency across the board. We’ve been able to overcome these changes through open communication and collaboration across teams. The ability to be flexible and quick on our feet is definitely one of the factors contributing to MoLo’s success. 

 

 

Chris Barnes
SVP, Corporate Development and Solutions Delivery

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

I was recruited to come to Syndigo, who at the time was focused on digital product content solutions, about five years ago. It was an industry that I knew and understood, but it lacked process and innovation. Since joining the organization, we’ve acquired 13 companies, grown to over 1,000 global employees and expanded our product solutions to include data management, syndication, enhanced content, analytics and more! 

Syndigo is the first active content engine built to power commerce by enabling the continual flow of data and content throughout the entire commerce ecosystem. We’ve established a great place for people to advance their careers and build relationships across many industries. I love listening to our clients and prospects’ business challenges and educating them on how Syndigo’s solutions can accelerate sales across every shelf.  

We’ve established a great place for people to advance their careers.”

 

When you’re looking to grow your team, what’s a quality that you look for in candidates and why is it important at your company?

When recruiting for my team, I focus on their ability to listen and identify business challenges before determining which solutions are the best fit. It’s important to be able to adapt and pivot in varying situations and ultimately not shy away from challenging the status quo. The ideal candidates for our team have a passion for the industry, understand the importance of accurate product information and are eager to learn more from clients and colleagues. 

Anyone can run a standard demo, but not everyone can connect with the client, personalize the conversation and highlight real-time growth potential. That’s what excites our team and should excite the ideal candidate!

 

 

Emily McCann
Director, People and Culture

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

I first learned about C.A. Fortune through a network connection who had been working here for a few years. What first attracted me to potential roles within the company was working in the natural food space. Making healthy choices for myself and my family has always been important to me and I was curious to learn more about the system that powers some big brands in that space. What sold me was the opportunity for career growth — not only was C.A. Fortune growing and attracting larger clients, but seeing how my network connection’s role had developed alongside the company was great. It seemed like a place that honored hard work and where people leverage their passions. I’m thrilled to have seen that career growth and development continue to run parallel at C.A. Fortune. We’ve been able to grow our list of clients and I’m so happy to have been able to build out the people team and develop meaningful people programs that align with our business needs.

I’m so happy to have been able to build out the people team and develop meaningful people programs that align with our business needs.”

 

When you’re looking to grow your team, what’s a quality that you look for in candidates and why is it important at your company?

C.A. Fortune is constantly evolving and we’re perpetually in building mode. As a result, we look for people with a track record of “creative creation.” This goes beyond the entrepreneurial spirit and self-starter phrasing that gets splattered across most job descriptions. We look for more than problem solvers — we look to hire talented people who proactively take action to deliver the results. If they have built something with limited resources and were able to adapt with change in the midst of standing up and strengthening solutions, that’s even better. These are the types of individuals we seek at C.A. as we’re continually evolving our people and processes to build better. Better for our brands, better for our communities and better for the industry we play in.

 

 

IMO colleagues having a team huddle
Intelligent Medical Objects

 

Kristin Carey
Senior Director, Talent Acquisition

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

IMO’s talent story has certainly evolved through my over two years leading the talent acquisition function. I was introduced to the company through a close professional acquaintance and fell in love with IMO’s culture, fast-paced environment and the ability to grow the talent acquisition team to help build out IMO’s next chapter of great talent. 

One of the things our team has focused on is attracting a wide variety of talent, backgrounds and experiences to IMO. We have revised our job descriptions to say, “Research shows that women and underrepresented groups only apply to jobs only if they think they meet 100 percent of the qualifications on a job description. IMO is committed to considering all candidates even if you don’t think you meet 100 percent of the qualifications listed.” We mean this! We want to talk to candidates who might not check all the boxes of a job description, but have the aptitude and core skills to be successful at IMO. 

This strategy alone has introduced us to candidates that we maybe wouldn’t have talked to previously as they may not have felt like they were a fit for IMO. We’ve gotten to see and talk to so much unique talent that we’ve ended up considering for a range of roles — and hired! 

We want to talk to candidates who might not check all the boxes of a job description, but have the aptitude and core skills to be successful at IMO.”

 

What’s your most interesting or exciting work-related challenge right now and how are you overcoming it?

The most interesting work-related challenge we’re facing right now is simply the war for great talent! IMO is hiring for a variety of technical positions and so are many other organizations, so we’ve had to re-think our hiring, marketing and interviewing strategies. It has been a unique and fun challenge as even though IMO may not have the same name recognition as some large organizations, we have a ton to offer. We’ve found the best way to highlight this is to show people who we are. Whether it’s a video on social media or employee testimonials on our careers page, showing people who IMO is has been our greatest recruitment tool.

Another thing we’ve been working on is expanding our internship program. This coming summer, we’re looking to hire over 15 interns into IMO’s supporting teams from marketing to software engineering to data engineering. Our intention is to bring these interns on as full-time employees after graduating. Our interns come from all different schools and backgrounds and we’re excited to bring in IMO’s next generation!

 

 

Riccardo Ficarra
Platform (DevOps) Engineer

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

I initially discovered and applied to Vail Systems through a friend and existing employee in January 2021. This person talked about the latest cutting-edge technology he was able to use with existing projects, which gave me the sense that Vail didn’t shy away from trying new things. This included cloud work with Kubernetes, which are powerful and highly scalable technology stacks that I was eager to learn more about. I was told about Vail’s company culture, which focuses on gaining knowledge and experience through the course of one’s career, and that was a big draw for me. 

Once hired, I jumped into learning about Vail’s existing technology, mainly the CI/CD Jenkins stack. I then got increasingly more involved in different parts of the process, like redesigning existing projects or spearheading designs for new projects from the ground up. Fast forward to today and one of my key roles is being a contributor to Vail’s CI/CD platform, something almost everyone at our company uses to accelerate development processes. It’s a big responsibility, so it keeps my work exciting and rewarding.

I was told about Vail’s company culture, which focuses on gaining knowledge and experience through the course of one’s career, and that was a big draw for me.”

 

What’s your most interesting or exciting work-related challenge right now and how are you overcoming it?

Right now my team is implementing Blue/Green using Jenkins, a technique that enables our developer teams to independently deploy updates without any service disruptions. While this concept isn’t new, we built our Jenkins implementation from the ground up and the few teams already using it couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Since this project is successful for current Vail users, our next step is to expand its usability to even more teams. On the backend, this means adding new features to improve the platform’s versatility for multiple teams’ use cases. It also means collaborating with the teams who will be using it so that they feel comfortable trusting the automation process. The goal of Blue/Green is to minimize time spent worrying about deployments so our developers get extra time to develop amazing new features that bring more value to the company.

 

 

Ontra team members in Grant Park
Ontra

 

Patrick Franciotti
Senior Manager of Revenue Operations

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

When I was applying for jobs, I was looking to find a company that offered two things — plenty of opportunities to make an immediate impact and the chance to build something from the ground up. At the time I joined, Ontra had already proven to be successful, despite not having a dedicated ops team in place. I quickly realized that I had the chance to help build a strong foundation of process, systems and overall data analysis.

During my onboarding and first few months, it became abundantly clear that I was surrounded by an extremely intelligent and easy-to-work-with group of employees. Our employees come from a wide range of backgrounds and each person brings a unique experience with them, creating a melting pot of knowledge and learning. This diversity in employee background creates one of the most collaborative and innovative workplaces I’ve ever been a part of. Above all else, each employee at Ontra is given the autonomy and opportunity to really take ownership of accomplishing their goals while having a strong supporting cast to help where needed.

Our employees come from a wide range of backgrounds and each person brings a unique experience with them, creating a melting pot of knowledge and learning.”

 

When you’re looking to grow your team, what’s a quality that you look for in candidates and why is it important at your company?

It is critical that we are very thoughtful about what qualities we are looking for in candidates. One aspect I hope to see in any candidate is the desire and ability to learn. In order to set yourself up for success, the best thing you can do is absorb as much as possible, especially upon first joining. Ramp time can come in all shapes and sizes, but you can maximize that time by being a sponge with everything that comes your way and setting the personal goal to learn more every single day. It may sound simple, but learning something new every day will compound over time as you accumulate experience.

At Ontra, one of our company values is “continuous improvement,” which emphasizes innovation in the way we work. There will be plenty of opportunities to draw on previous experiences to help guide us in the right direction when the time comes. Besides our own experiences, it’s important to keep in mind that at any company, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share those same qualities and goals.

 

 

Marcel team members at a holiday party exchanging gifts
Marcel Digital

 

Morgan Oakes
Paid Media Director

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

I first applied to Marcel while I was still in college. I was drawn to the incredible team and culture, but I was also inspired by their vision to bring more transparency to the agency space. I was quickly able to recognize that Marcel was a company that invested in their employees and provided them with opportunities for continuous learning and growth. 

My experience has grown substantially since I first started at Marcel. I was offered many unique opportunities to learn and contribute which gave me the ability to advance quickly at the organization. I’ve been promoted from an intern to a director in a span of just five years. Marcel really helped provide me with a path to advancement and I’m excited to watch my team and the organization grow in much the same way. 

The culture at Marcel is one of encouragement in both personal and professional growth. We are motivated to improve our skills and to follow our passions. There really is no limit to where your career can go.

I was drawn to the incredible team and culture, but I was also inspired by their vision to bring more transparency to the agency space.”

 

When you’re looking to grow your team, what’s a quality that you look for in candidates and why is it important at your company?

When we look for new team members, two very important qualities come to mind. They must be inquisitive and they must be meticulous. 

Our team must deal with an industry that is constantly changing, clients that operate across multiple verticals and numerous digital marketing channels. It is important for us to find individuals who are inquisitive, always curious about the latest technologies and techniques, ready to question insights and results, and who are hungry for new challenges. We need teams that engage with clients and ask thoughtful questions about their business so we can better match our solutions and our targeting to match their prospective customers. 

We also look for meticulous individuals who have incredible attention to detail and are very precise with their work. We deal with a lot of data, information, tasks, budgets and requests. Our team must be dedicated to accuracy and precision in order to build trust in our work and partnership. 

Most importantly, we are looking for someone who is authentic. We believe in letting our team’s personality shine. We want our employees to be genuine and connect with our clients organically.

 

 

CityBase team members shaking hands
CityBase

 

Jack Le
Vice President of Engineering

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

I was referred to CityBase by someone who I used to work with. What really piqued my interest was his description of the company culture, how it was filled with people who are friendly, caring and willing to lend a hand. A team working together to achieve a common goal of making people’s lives easier through technology that helps people access services from their local government — it sounded like something that I wanted to be a part of.

I’ve been at CityBase for six months and over that time, I’ve been able to witness and experience first-hand more and more of the culture that was described to me. There’s a great people-first mentality here that starts with our CEO, Mike Duffy. He is very approachable and I’ve often seen people take advantage of his open door policy, stopping by just to chat. He regularly checks in with people to see how they’re doing and you feel that level of caring throughout the entire company. That tells me that I made the right choice to join CityBase.

Our people are empowered to make changes, so we want team players who are motivated to improve not just themselves, but the people and things around them.”

 

When you’re looking to grow your team, what’s a quality that you look for in candidates and why is it important at your company?

As we grow our team at CityBase, some of the qualities that we look for in candidates are people who have humility, respect and accountability. We look for those who are good communicators and thrive in a collaborative setting.

What really stands out for me in a candidate is intrinsic motivation. In software development, it could be a lifelong learner compelled to learn a new language or the latest and greatest technology. It could also be someone who was motivated to learn how to cook or to play a musical instrument. Our people are empowered to make changes, so we want team players who are motivated to improve not just themselves, but the people and things around them. That’s when the magic happens.

At CityBase, our mission is to develop products that make it easier for people to interact with their local government and access important services. This means that any technology enhancements we make will have a direct impact on the lives of everyone. We’re looking for ideas to create the best solutions, regardless of who or where they come from, which is why it’s so important that we find motivated individuals.

 

 

PSM team members
PSM

 

 

Why did you first apply to join your company and how has your experience evolved over time since you were a new hire?

I first applied to PSM after speaking with the practice director when they reached out to me about an open role. My interest peaked when I learned about all the fun and cutting-edge things PSM was doing with Microsoft 365 and Azure. It was exactly the kind of technical exposure I was seeking at the time. Once I got to chat with my future team, I felt that joining PSM was the right step in my professional and personal growth.

I am very confident I made the right choice. I’ve been able to learn many new skill sets while sharpening existing ones. PSM continues to challenge me in a positive way which results in my being a better individual and IT professional.

I’ve been able to learn many new skill sets while sharpening existing ones.”

 

What’s your most interesting or exciting work-related challenge right now and how are you overcoming it?

The most interesting work-related challenge for me is keeping up with Microsoft 365 and Azure. This is a living technology that continues to evolve and requires me to stay on my toes. I enjoy the challenge and look forward to learning something new every day.

 

 

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