Reverse job interviews: 4 Austin tech companies respond to common interview questions

by Kelly O'Halloran
March 28, 2018

Have you ever wrapped up a job interview wishing you had as much time for questions as the recruiter?

Us too. So we decided to turn the tables and ask three fast-growing Austin tech companies to answer common interview questions. Here's what they had to say.

 

shipstation
photo provided by shipstation

Members from ShipStation’s recruiting team likened their company’s culture to what you'd see in a stereotypical 80s movie — like Breakfast Club at the end when everyone gets along. ShipStation develops online shipping solutions that make it easier and faster for online merchants to mail out their goods. While the team moves fast, ShipStation’s recruiting team assured us they have a lot of fun along the way.

We are nearing 200 employees and we're ready for more, but we’re not willing to rush hiring and we want to make sure we get the best people for our mission.”

What attracted you to ShipStation?

Ultimately, we wanted to solve challenging problems while helping as many people as possible. ShipStation has given us the ability to do that while having a really great time. It’s awesome to come to work every day knowing that we’re going to do meaningful work and enjoy it alongside awesome coworkers.

 

What's your company's biggest weakness?

Our company's biggest weakness is the time in the day. ShipStation started in 2011 and has been through a lot in the past seven years. There's a lot to do and a big list of things we'd like to accomplish. We are nearing 200 employees and we're ready for more, but we’re not willing to rush hiring and we want to make sure we get the best people for our mission.


What's your company's biggest strength?

The strength of our organization is driven by our core mission and shared values. Our leadership teams spend a lot of time on aligning each department, which trickles down to the employees. Decisions on what is important and urgent, what can wait, what we deploy and when we market our features are all areas where we have to row together. But we also have the range and flexibility to course correct, if needed. This helps maintain responsibility, ownership of, and pride in all of our work.


Where do you see ShipStation in five years?

The success of our company is related to the increased success of our users. We will continue to grow and thrive with them. We have two awesome products right now with ShipStation and ShipEngine, and we plan on continuing to improve those. We’re also planning to continue our international expansion. We are currently set up in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. We are, and will continue to be, an international force in the shipping industry.


Why should job seekers consider working on your team?

ShipStation offers a chance to help thousands of businesses succeed across the globe. Employees can come in and make a real impact on this company, business owners everywhere and consumers in a very positive way. We take pride in the fact that the same level of importance we place on taking care of our users and partners is also geared toward taking care of our employees.

 

runtitle
photo provided by runtitle

RunTitle recruiter Alexa Piggott joined the company back in 2013 because she saw the startup’s potential for making a large impact in the oil and gas industry. The company is building a database of public and private oil and gas property information. Having been there for five years, Piggott said she’s watched the team grow from five people to 26. As the team has more than quintupled in size, Piggott’s excitement for what’s to come has, too.

If you want to get in on the ground floor of an organization before the major growth hits, now is your opportunity.”

What’s RunTitle's biggest strength?

Our biggest strength is our people. We have a big problem to solve — one that is entrenched in the industry and surrounded by governmental roadblocks and misaligned incentives. To battle this, we have to hire for brilliance and build incredible leaders. We’ve been fortunate to bring in individuals with impressive tech and startup experience throughout our organization. I've helped assemble this team, so naturally, I think we're the best in the biz.

 

And its biggest weakness?

Like for many software companies, building a diverse workforce at RunTitle is a constant focus. A large portion of the hiring pool in software is a bit cookie cutter, and oil and gas doesn’t usually draw a ton of diversity. But one of our core values is irreverence. We view diversity as a long-term differentiator for us, and it is something that we have to work to promote.


Where do you see the company in five years?

RunTitle is targeting a small segment of the oil and gas industry that we believe will have significant effects. In five years, I hope to see that our company has delivered on our vision and that the 12 million mineral owners in the United States have the resources and tools they need to manage their investments. We remain keenly focused on bringing in the best and brightest in order to accomplish this task.


Why should job seekers consider working on your team?

We are still a smaller team with a lot of room for each employee to significantly impact the trajectory of our business. If you want to get in on the ground floor of an organization before the major growth hits, now is your opportunity.

 

securelink austin
photo provided by securelink

Founded in 2003, SecureLink provides a platform for remote support in regulated industries like finance, government and healthcare. Natalie Wenske joined the company for its openness to new ideas and to take on the challenge of building a brand new department within an established company. To Wenske, it was a “no-brainer” opportunity that she couldn’t pass up. Here’s what else Wenske had to say about SecureLink’s growing team.

We decide, along with our teammates, what success will look like, and we plan how we're going to get there.”

How would you characterize your team's culture?

While we have all the perks that make up a “work hard, play hard” environment, I think there are some things we do really well in terms of culture. For one, we set our own goals. We decide, along with our teammates, what success will look like, and we plan how we're going to get there.

We also celebrate our successes. We have a “Wheel of Glory,” similar to a Wheel of Fortune, that employees can spin for cash rewards, based on a recent achievement. If I had to define our culture in a few words, I’d say pioneering, collaborative and rewarding.

 

Where do you see SecureLink in five years?

The sky really is the limit, but in five years I'm hoping to look back and be proud of the team we've helped build, which in turn created a larger customer base and even better product in the market. We are definitely on our way.


Why should job seekers consider working on your team?

There’s a great balance that can be felt day to day at SecureLink. There’s time for heads-down work and strategic planning, but also time to sit and enjoy lunch with coworkers or an end-of-day volleyball match. It all comes down to our mission: having fun while creating value over the long run. People are treated like adults, and trusted to do their work and manage their time efficiently. It is a place where you can really have an impact and have fun doing it.

 

social solutions
photo provided by social solutions

Recruiter Frank Vanco signed on to Social Solutions two years ago largely due to its mission. The company develops software tools tailored to nonprofits that help organizations maximize support to those they serve. Vanco said that while the Social Solutions team takes their work seriously, they regularly find ways to make the workday fun. 

 

What attracted you to your company?

I was initially attracted to Social Solutions because of the people and mission. I had met or worked with several employees prior to coming on board, and they did a great job of selling me on the work that the company does for its clients. As I spent more time with these folks I could see how passionate they were about the mission, and I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.

 

I’m proud to work with such intelligent and adaptable people who come into work each day to leave this company in a better place than they found it. 


What's your company's biggest strength?

Social Solutions’ biggest strength is our adaptability and refusal to be bound by the past. To grow at the pace that we’re targeting, we often need to change existing processes to make them more scalable. I’m proud to work with such intelligent and adaptable people who come into work each day to leave this company in a better place than they found it. 


What's your company's biggest weakness?

Our biggest challenge is that we’re still very new to the Austin market. We’re a growing company with an incredible mission but being new to Austin means we have to work harder than the more established organizations in town. We’re not afraid of hard work and are proud of the progress we’ve made towards being a company that candidates seek out.
 

Where do you see the company in five years?

I expect Social Solutions and its products, Apricot and ETO, to be household names for non-profit organizations and government agencies. When organizations are discussing the work that they do they’ll say phrases like “Let me Apricot that.” Social Solutions will have further established itself as the industry leader and a top employer of choice. 


Why should job seekers consider working on your team?

Any job seeker who wants to work for a company they can believe in should consider Social Solutions. Our software products help non-profit organizations to transform lives. The folks who will be most successful here are data-driven and thrive on getting stuff done.

 

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