How 16 new hires landed jobs at hot Chicago tech companies

Written by Carlin Sack
Published on Jul. 24, 2014

The No. 1 question newcomers to Chicago ask is how to get an "in" on snagging a job at the city's most innovative digital companies. So we asked 16 people who were just hired at Chicago's hottest tech companies over the past quarter, just how they pulled it off:

 

Andrew Kim. newly hired Mobile Product Consultant at Solstice Mobile

How he found his job: "I really wanted to keep a pulse on the tech scene in Chicago and get a flavor of new innovations and opportunities here. The Built In Chicago job board was a great resource for that and where I found Solstice. I sent over my resume and a 'cover letter' outlining the reasons I should be their next hire. I say 'cover letter' because it was really more of a blog post with hyperlinks and sources that I used to make my case - personality profile, fun facts about myself, links to data sources, etc."

His No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Solstice: "Solstice takes their culture VERY seriously so it's important to exude their principles throughout the process. Servant Leadership is consistently preached and practiced by all employees from new hires to the CEO. The firm is deeply passionate about mobile technology and innovation, they are looking for people who share those same values. The hiring process is equal evaluation of the candidate and equal evaluation whether Solstice is a good fit for you so ask lots of questions!"

Andrea Miller, newly hired Mobile Product Consultant at Solstice Mobile

How she found her job: “I worked with one of the directors at Solstice on a client engagement at my previous job. She was a great mentor and we connected while I was I was looking for a new job. She referred me for a functional position,  I interviewed and was offered a job as a Mobile Product Consultant. Solstice also has a lot more female employees than my previous work environment, and it’s awesome to work with women on a daily basis in technology, usually a male-dominated field. The company has a Women in Tech group that meets monthly, which really fosters relationships between all of the women at the firm.”

Her No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Solstice: "Be yourself!  Solstice wants to hire people who are smart and great at what they do, but the company also is serious about looking for a good culture fit.  I was completely at ease during my interviews, and I think it really helped me to land the position."

 

Joanne Nathan, newly hired Sales Development Manager at Hireology

How she found her job: "I actually found out about Hireology from looking at Built In Chicago. Having previously worked at a start-up headquartered in New York, I knew I wanted a smaller company that, not only had the opportunities a start-up has to offer, but also, had that fun, young, vibe you can only find in new companies. After applying online, I was quickly contacted by Hireology and thus began my interview process."

Her No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Hireology: "My number one tip is to be yourself. This company is all about progression and being a good culture fit. If you aren't yourself and honest during the interview, there will be no way for you to gauge whether or not you will be happy working for Hireology."

William Yeung, newly hired Sales Development Manager at Hireology

How he found his job: "I had heard of Hireology before I considered applying for the job, though I only recently found this opportunity through Brill Street. The hiring process itself was quite unique, as they used the Hireology platform throughout the process. This challenged me to find meaning in my academic, professional, and personal experiences, and to think about how they have contributed to my outlook towards the failures and successes I've had, and will have in the future."

His No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Hireology: "My advice for interviewing is to think hard about what you want. What experiences do you want to gain, and what are you willing to contribute? One of the things that drew me towards working for a company in this stage is the mentality necessary for success. I worked in a much smaller startup last year, and greatly appreciated the abundance of learning opportunities that exist in this culture. Also, I love knowing that I can add value to the team each day, and that motivates me to learn and contribute wherever I can. While this is always important to know, I believe it helps guide an interviewee's dialogue throughout the hiring process."

 

 


Valerie Concepcion, newly hired Software Engineer at Enova

How she found her job: “Built in Chicago's list of the Top 100 Digital Companies in Chicago on which Enova was ranked number three. I didn't really know what Enova did, but I had seen their postings come up across a few job sites and decided to research the company a bit. The more I read about the culture and values at Enova, the more I was drawn to it and thought it might be a good fit for me (I also had some experience with Rails and open source tools). It's nice being a software engineer, as your skills are in demand and you have a lot of options you can choose to pursue, but what made Enova stand out for me was ultimately its commitment to innovation, its compelling global mission and its deep involvement in the Chicago tech community.

Her No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Enova: For those seeking a software developer position, make sure you have an active Github profile or examples of past work ready to share. Like many top tech companies, Enova has a comprehensive interview process with a succession of interviews that help find the right fit for each position. I would set aside a full day without other planned activities to make sure you’re prepared and can fully focus on your interview.

 

Kenwan Cheung, newly hired Marketing Analyst at Enova

How he found his job: "I was doing business analytics on a marketing team at a Fortune 50 company and was looking to make a move to a smaller company. I started reading Built in Chicago and attending Startup Weekend events in order to connect with the local tech scene. I saw the Enova job posting on Built In Chicago and did additional research through LinkedIn and review sites. What intrigued me about Enova was that it felt like tech was a very integral part of the company and that I would have the opportunity to work across multiple functions. Also, there was a consistent emphasis on performance being measured by tangible results and people being given the opportunity to be true owners."

His No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Enova: Demonstrate that you are a proactive self-starter who takes full ownership of results and who is not afraid to offer an opinion. A part of the interview process involves case studies, so be prepared to clearly articulate how you would think through and solve problems without having all the facts on hand.

 


Chris Stahlberg, newly hired Director of Admissions at Everspring

How he found his job:  “I knew of Everspring since 2012 when they were first getting started.  The Chicago area Education Management industry is close-knit and you wait and watch to see who will succeed and build the right team/platform/foundation to change the paradigm in higher education and education management through best practices and innovation.  Accretive builds their companies for purpose and Everspring is one of those companies who got the right executives in place to build an outstanding foundation for the company to grow on.”

His No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Everspring: “Be open, humble and willing to wear multiple hats. Understand the roles of other departments and enjoy helping others succeed.”

Miriam Ofstein, newly hired instructional designer at Everspring

How she found her job: "I applied for and found my job at Everspring through LinkedIn; I had heard of the company through my network of Instructional Design peers and coworkers. I was in graduate school when the company was founded, and by the time I graduated, Everspring was expanding. Everspring appealed to me for a plethora of reasons, including the fact that they are cutting edge and are known in the community as a company who is working to create truly innovative products that will change higher education for the better."

Her No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Everspring: "I would suggest that any prospective Everspring employee be prepared and well-versed in the current trends and happenings in the Education Management industry in Chicago and around the country. My other suggestion is to be open to all opportunities. Everspring has a lot going on and there are a lot of roles that need to be filled; which lends the way for a lot of new experiences. There are never dull moments!"

 


Christine Wuertz, newly hired Local Search Marketing Associate at SIM Partners

How she found her job: “One of my first stops in finding SIM was Built in Chicago’s Top 100 Digital Companies in Chicago on which SIM was listed. I shipped my resume off to several companies on the list.”

Her No. 1 tip for people that want to work for SIM Partners:" Do your research and be prepared to ask questions about what really matters to you. Coming into the hiring process both at SIM and others with a solid background about the company demonstrates your interest in working for said company. One of my favorite questions I was asked during the interview process here at SIM was “What is your favorite core value?” Not only did this question give me the chance to demonstrate that I had in fact done my research, but it also gave me the opportunity to be myself and dig deeper into why I valued a position at SIM."


Greta Schoon, newly hired patient engagement strategist at Emmi Solutions

How she found her job: “I learned about Emmi Solutions via ChicagoHealthTech.org and began networking to open the conversation. After my first discussion with their SVP of Research and Analytics, I was sold. I was asked back for an interview and in preparation, I researched every bit of information I could get my hands on. Additionally, I talked to doctors and friends about Emmi with the hope of gaining insights and intelligence that research couldn’t provide. During the interview, I was genuinely excited for the opportunity to present my qualifications. Despite an overly zealous response to an interview question causing me to fling my pen halfway across the CEO’s office, I was offered and gladly accepted the position.”

Her No.1 tip for people that want to work for Emmi Solutions: "Critical to landing the job was being able to clearly articulate why I was interested in Emmi and its mission, what I would bring to the table and how my industry knowledge and skills would be valuable."

Joe Rouse, newly hired Lead Front End Developer at Emmi Solutions

How he found his job: "The finding wasn’t too difficult.  I was working with recruiters that place before me a number of potential offers every week, Emmi was one of dozens of opportunities presented.  Right now the market for software developer positions is hot, and finding “a” job is not difficult.  Finding a good fit, and earning a job offer is another story.  For that I found that being very honest of what I am capable of, being as critical of my interviewers as I hoped they were of me, and presenting myself as a pleasant and eager individual worked well with my interview process.  By the time Emmi made me an offer, I had asked sufficient questions and done enough research to know I wanted the job, and I made that clear through every step of the interview process."

His No. 1 tip for prospective employees of Emmi:" There are several phrases that I’ve heard in my life, such as “Fake it ‘till you make it” and “looking for a job is the hardest job” and “it’s not what you know it’s who you know.”  I would advise you do your best to forget those phrases when interviewing.  Ability and attitude sell at Emmi, and while there are employers in Chicago that accept buzzwords and a dazzling display of execuspeak, the process here was direct and honest.  Your goal should be to fill a role that is available, and do so with honest and capable ability.  Most importantly, express that what you don’t know you are willing to know, as enthusiasm and a good attitude go a long way here.  But do not lie, and do not dance around questions hoping you can hide a lack of qualifications."

 


Philip de Guzman, newly hired Executive Business Liaison at ContextMedia

How he found his job: "I had known about ContextMedia for years; our founders, Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal went to the same school as I did, and I always heard good things about their company and the work that they did from my peers.  Over the past 3 years, I had multiple friends join the ContextMedia team, and it always kept my attention because it was obvious that they were working on something important and having fun while doing so. Eventually I saw a job posting on Built In Chicago for an Executive Business Liaison position, and I jumped at it."

His No. 1 tip for people that want to work for CM: "The hiring process at CM is pretty unorthodox - you'll meet people from nearly every single department along the way. My number one tip is to showcase your personality. You'll have many opportunities to show us who you are along the way, so take advantage - culture fit is an enormous factor in the hiring process."

 

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Samantha Muehleis, Product Marketing Specialist  at Sprout Social
How she found her job: When I moved to Chicago, the only thing I knew was that I wanted to work for one of the best companies in the city. So, I started digging into what people had to say about tech startups, Fortune 500's, and other businesses in the city. I saw Sprout’s name mentioned in a number of places and turned to social media to get a better feel for the company. Luckily, there happened to be a position at Sprout listed on LinkedIn that was the perfect fit—I reached out to the talent director regarding the opportunity and am now part of the team!

Her No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Sprout SocialJust tell your story—we are all unique, and you’ll stand apart if you stay true to who you are and what you bring to the table.

 


Bridget Harty, Product Owner at Channel IQ

How she found her job: I was fortunate enough to be in a position where looking for a new job was my own decision, meaning I took my time and was overly picky determining my next career move. I first learned about Channel IQ from a connection who reached out indicating Channel IQ needed a product person and asked if he could make the introduction. I had a breakfast session with Channel IQ’s head recruiter to hear about the company and I was enthralled after the first 30 minutes of information. 

Her No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Channel IQ: Be candid about your goals and interests, passion is a plus.

 

Eric Russell, newly hired software engineer Channel IQ

How he found his job:  I was planning to move back to Chicago from Washington DC, so I sent my resume in response to a few job listings I found online. One was a post from a recruiter for a job with another company, but he suggested I might be a better fit for Channel IQ. I interviewed with Channel IQ and two other companies over spring break. I received offers from all three companies, and I chose Channel IQ because I liked the engineering and management teams the best.

His No. 1 tip for people that want to work for Channel IQ: My number one tip is that, if you’re an engineer, there are a lot more opportunities in Chicago than you might think. Maybe not as many as the Bay Area or DC, but you won’t have trouble finding work.

 


Melodie Tang, Project Manager at GoHealth

How she found her job: I stay active on Linkedin and keep my profile updated. It paid off because one ofGoHealth’s recruiters took notice!

Her No. 1 tip for people that want to work for GoHealth: Be yourself; be authentic. There are a lot of smart people in the tech industry – it is not just about your skills, it is also about fitting in with the culture. Make sure to show your personality during the interview process so the hiring team can tell if you’ll be a good fit.

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