Hacks to Land a Job at an Awesome Tech Startup, from CB Insights

CB Insights’ tech market intelligence platform analyzes millions of data points on venture capital, startups, patents, partnerships and news media to help clients predict their next market, acquisition, investment or their competitor’s next move.

Meet top companies and startups, like CB Insights in-person at our epic networking night, Hustle Summit. In the meantime, get tips on how to land a role on their acclaimed team from Lauren Dadigan, Sr. Manager of Sales Development at CB Insights, in her Facebook live interview with FindSpark.

Be sure to check out CB Insights’ open roles on our FindSpark job board at jobs.findspark.com/cb-insights

Have (or want to have) what it takes to land a job at an awesome tech startup? That company that’s actually doing something new, and awesome, which you just have to be a part of?

We asked Hustle Summit employer and market intelligence innovators, CB Insights, what it takes to stand out and land a position on their awesome, idea-driven team.

Menaka Chang, Director of People Ops, Amanda Gerhardt-King, People Ops Manager and Lauren Petersen, Recruiter at CB Insights, gave us the low-down on what candidates should (and shouldn’t) do in order to impress them, and how to succeed on this innovative team of marketing techies.

What can applicants do to stand out when applying for a position at CB Insights?

Amanda: Research us and weave your findings into an effective cover letter. (We do actually read them!)

Menaka: Definitely! Crafting a great cover letter that explains why you’d be a great fit at CB Insights and the job you’re applying for will help stand out.

What’s one thing applicants should know about CB Insights before applying?

Amanda: We really do have an amazing culture! We are also a product-focused company, and love what we do. Knowing that before you interview is key.

Lauren: Know what we do! Even if it’s just a high-level, one-line overview. Take time to review our website and research our work.

What’s the most memorable thing an applicant has done to stand out?

Amanda: One applicant customized their cover letter to look just like our daily newsletter! Another marketing candidate revamped some of our website–it was awesome.
Lauren: One PR candidate wrote a cover letter in poem form all about CBI! It was clever, made the candidate stand out, and showcased his writing skills, which is crucial in PR.

What makes a candidate stand out to you when you meet them at an event?

Amanda: A firm handshake, direct eye contact, and having previous knowledge of the company and what we do.

Lauren: When they do something beyond just handing me their resume. I really appreciate when candidates make eye contact during an introduction. It’s also a bonus if they’ve heard of CB Insights and know what we do.

Menaka: It’s always great if they check out CB Insights jobs page prior and review the open roles to determine where they’d be a fit. Then at the event, introduce themselves and share their excitement for the open role and the organization.

What’s the worst thing a candidate could do when applying to or interviewing at CB Insights?

Amanda: Acting as if they’re annoyed to be here or as if doing us a favor.

Lauren: Come unprepared to an interview and not be able to articulate why they want to work with us. Also, I couldn’t agree more with Amanda.

What’s your best piece of advice for an applicant?

Amanda: Showcase your talents. Tell us about all the amazing things you have done and what makes you unique.

Lauren: Don’t fluff your resume and put things you didn’t do, or tools you haven’t really used.

What can candidates expect when interviewing at CB Insights?

Amanda: They can expect great candidate experience from first point of contact through hire! We strive to be consistent, transparent, and set realistic expectations of when you’ll hear back from us. We also update candidates if we’re moving slower than usual with their application, and always let them know what to expect for their in person interview.

Lauren: They can expect transparency. From the first email to schedule a phone interview, they are told what to expect from our interview process, like an on-site meeting with the team, an assessment, etc. We like to lay it all out there so everyone knows what to expect.

People throw around the word “culture fit” frequently. What are some unique elements of your company’s culture, and how does that play into the interview process and what you look for in candidates?

Amanda: We really love our values the four H’s–happy, helpful, humble and hungry–and every person who works here encompasses all of them!

Lauren: To decide if someone’s a great culture fit, we rely heavily on our core values, the four H’s. We look for these characteristics in all candidates during the interview process.

What’s a question you like to ask in interviews, and what are you trying to learn from the answer?

Lauren: “What is something you are doing in your current role, that you do not want to do in your next role?” It makes candidates think for a second. Their answer can be very telling, because their answers show their self-awareness. For example, if a candidate answers “In my next role, I can definitely live without cold calling every day” they probably wouldn’t be a fit for the sales role I’m interviewing them for.

Menaka: A few questions I always ask are:

  • Tell me about a recent project or problem that you made better (i.e. more efficient, smarter, less expensive, etc.)?
  • Why are you the best candidate for the role?

What’s a unique element of the hiring process at your company?

Amanda: We have an assessment for each role, something indicative of the type of work they would do on a day to day basis.

Lauren: Our Co-Founders speak with every final candidate. I think that says a lot about our leadership and culture.

Can you share examples of impressive questions candidates have asked you during the interview process?

Amanda: I always appreciate the more generic questions like what brought you to CBI and what makes you stay. I actually believe they’re more insightful than other questions a candidate can ask. Also if they’re deep into their career and can ask very pointed questions towards problems they may anticipate we’re having, I always think that’s a sign that a candidate knows what they’re talking about.

Lauren: I appreciate when candidates ask why I came to CBI or what I like about working here.

Menaka: I like when candidates ask questions about what the team is currently working on and the challenges they’re facing. It shows that they’re thinking about at the bigger picture.

In what ways do you encourage candidates to stay on your company’s radar if they don’t get the job?

Amanda: I appreciate emails every few months if they are still interested with an update on what they have done to improve their qualifications for a role. We have hired people that improved their skills in a few areas and then came back to interview!

Lauren: We always tell candidates to stay in touch! We are growing quickly, and things can change. Feel free to check out our jobs page every so often.

Final interview and career tip?

Amanda: Know what you want and go after it! Being specific in your job search will really help your career.

Lauren: Be yourself. A job opportunity must be a mutual match! Remember, you’re interviewing the company just as much as they’re interviewing you, in order to ensure it’s a fit for both parties.

Menaka: Be prepared when interviewing with organizations, even if you don’t have the most relevant experience. You can do this by knowing why your background would be a fit and by doing your research on the company. Also remember to send a thank you note that mentions something specific that you learned or discussed with the interviewer. It goes a long way!

Want to put your new insights from CB Insights into practice? Meet CB Insights and other awesome companies in-person at our epic networking night, Hustle Summit–in NYC January 19th.

In the meantime, tune in to get tips on how to apply for and nail a competitive sales job from CB Insights Sr. Manager of Sales Development, in our Facebook live interview with her, January 4th.

Finally, want to connect with any of the pros featured in this article? Find them on LinkedIn and tell them you appreciate their career tips!

Amanda Gerhardt-King: linkedin.com/in/amandagerhardt
Lauren Petersen: linkedin.com/in/laurenepetersen
Menaka Chang: linkedin.com/in/menaka-chang-714512a0

About the Author

Recent UPenn graduate from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Background in PR and Media Production. Things I love: bringing bold ideas to life, trolling the web + great sushi. Let's make things happen!

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