10 Things Tech Companies Are Looking For in New Recruits
Over recent years, the hunt for new recruits has swiftly expanded beyond technical ability. Experience and ability still count, but it’s not everything. As a matter of fact, hard skills often don’t even come into the picture until one or two interviews down.
It’s driven by a fundamental change in the market, there’s been an increase in demand for candidates here in Australia as the tech ecosystem has grown. When two roles (or two candidates) looks exactly the same on paper, the one thing that differentiates them is culture. As a result, it’s become a core part of any interview process.
We spoke to 10 established tech companies across Australia to see what makes or breaks a new offer. The answer: the individual components that makeup ‘culture fit’.
Be prepared, be relaxed and check out the below for a behind the scenes look at what’s going through the mind of the person on the other side of the table.
The number one thing companies look for after scanning skills and culture fit is how much energy a person brings into a room. That’s because creating positive energy in the workplace is a major productivity driver. You don’t have to do a cartwheel or parachute into the room (unless you are interviewing at Red Bull), but be interested, physically and mentally. It’s a very fast-moving industry.
“In general, we are looking for enthusiastic, motivated individuals. A positive attitude and adaptability are critical considering travel tech continually evolves and we need people that than cope with change.”
Head of Talent, HotelsCombined.com
How you come across in the interview is a key factor in the early stages of a hiring process. At this time, you’re not being assessed for you on-paper communication skills so listen, be rational in your responses, articulate clearly and, please, do not use buzzwords for the sake of it.
“For me, this is tested simply by the way they articulate themselves in a face-to-face conversation. If someone can verbally communicate in a clear and concise manner you can be guaranteed that this will translate into sharply written messages.”
Angus McDonald, Sales Manager, Hubspot
From the second you put forward your resume, don’t lie. You’ll either look like a bit of an idiot during the practical stages of an interview or end up in a job where you feel constantly out of your depth.
The best thing about modern cultures is they LOVE diversity, so just walk in there and be yourself – let your personality shine through. This will maximize your chances of doing interesting work you genuinely enjoy.
“Don’t be afraid to bring your whole personality to the interview from day 1, we really value diversity and different personalities and interests, that’s really important to the culture. You also need to be a bit of a self-starter, not afraid of change and jumping in and doing things as needed. If you want to jump in and make a change, you will absolutely fly.”
Laura Belfield, Stax Product Manager, Versent
No one likes a showoff. Luckily, there are ways to position how awesome you are without sitting there tooting your own trumpet.
First, demonstrate your outcomes. Go into the detail on how you solved problems and made improvements rather than singing on about the results. And if results are worth sharing, be precise and data-driven about them.
Second, don’t forget to give your previous team a nod by explaining how your key achievements fit into the wider business goals.
“We want smart, passionate people who enjoy sharing their knowledge and are not arrogant in their interactions with others. We look for those who think differently and bring diverse perspectives.”
People and Culture Manager at hipages
5. Personal Drive
We’re not just talking about what makes you get out of bed. In an ecosystem where hiring for culture fit is becoming increasingly important, employers really want to get to know you and what makes you tick.
Demonstrate your passions, share your ambitions and who you really are.You never know – the company culture may even cross over with your personal interests. Perhaps the hiring manager is also a crossfitter (and therefore, loves to talk about it).
“To play sports at a competitive level you need to have a competitive mindset, be a real team player, have discipline and be open to new ways of getting better. If someone has played top-level sports I often a see them striving for the same success in their role.”
James Bergl, Sales Director at Datto
6. Professional Drive
This is a biggie. Fast-growing companies are looking for people who want to come in and develop themselves, not just coast along.
This doesn’t have to be ‘up the ladder progression’. You don’t need to move into a manager position if you thrive as an individual contributor. But you do need to develop and hone on those skills to be the best in your field.
To communicate this, you can share examples of meetups you’ve been to (or run), events you attend, influencers that you learn from or courses you’ve enjoyed. Show you know your space.
“Practice, pay attention to those who do it well, then practice some more.”
Jason Nelson, Sales Manager of Qualtrics
7. Passion in the space
Passion in the space the company is in is a key differentiator and a great signal for long-term success. Particularly with tech companies who have grown in a key niche area, like payments or cryptocurrency.
Show you care: from research, to the very first interviews or suggesting ideas and improvements that could game change the role you applied for. Don’t be afraid act like you are already in the role and be keen.
Plus, it’s in your own best interests. Why work on something you are not passionate about?
“Technology is evolving quickly and we need our new hires to drive be able to adapt and hit the ground running in our unrelenting 24/7 world.”
Matt Cudworth, CTO, TEG
8. Entrepreneurial Skills
Growth often takes a bit of hustle and being a team player, particularly during fast growth. If you join a technology company early on into growth, chances are they don’t have all their processes figured out yet. You need to demonstrate you can navigate the waters and be intuitive in figuring this stuff out.
The best way to do this is to use real examples where you’ve built something from scratch, from a small process that improved efficiency, to the creation of a new profitable team. Demonstrate your thought process, from the end goal.
“We look for candidates who have a wider lens in understanding the impact of their own function, and most of all able to operate in a high growth environment with a desire to grow.”
Monica Watt, General Manager, Elmo Talent Learning
9. Emotional Intelligence
Silicon Valley style companies look very sexy on TV, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. Without a doubt, you will experience highs and lows. EI (Emotional Intelligence), it seems, is far more valuable than IQ. Quite literally, people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money – an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence.
Your ability to perceive your own emotions as well as the emotions of others, and manage both in the most productive way possible, are key factors for your success in the workplace. We’ve created a few practical tips to help with that one here.
“We work in a fast-paced business, and high EI has been tied to high performance in these environments. For us, it’s also about knowing when to take a risk and not, we reward initiative and not results so we look for people who have actively failed and found the determination and grit to bounce back.”
Madeleine Robins – Head of People Operations, Big Red Group.
10. That you fit within the team
Although this is number 10, it’s often the number 1 thing people look for. Being a fit often comes down to personality and working style, and what works for one tech company may not be the style of the other. Some companies may be more competitive, others more entrepreneurial, some geekier and you need to make sure you fit within the group.
We like to think of it like dating, and finding a mutual fit. If you’re getting the sense that you may not be the right personality type for the team, that’s OK. Don’t try to change who you are, accept that it may not be the best fit for you and don’t be afraid to let go.
“Culture is the best way to ensure people automatically make great decisions from leaders to the front line. Culture fit is the most important element for us during the hiring process. We believe we have a great culture in place so, with the right attitude and motivation, you can learn the rest!”
Emer McCan, Talent Acquisition Manager, Deputy
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