Skills Only Get You So Far. Here’s What These Austin Tech Leaders Really Look For

August 26, 2019

Skillsets can often be duplicated, but you know what can’t? Potential.

It’s qualities like this, along with self-ownership and passion, that separates one candidate from another for these Austin tech execs.

We asked the following leaders to share how they’ve hired for success and the role they play in supporting each team member. 

 

medici
image via medici

Healthtech startup Medici implements a “No Egos” hiring strategy that's laced with empathy. VP of Operations Charlie Kolb said this approach helps their team quickly get to the biggest pain points experienced by medical professionals. 

 

When it comes to hiring, what characteristics do you look for in candidates and how do you ensure they’re a great culture fit?

We look for candidates who are adaptable, resourceful and humble. There are no egos on our sales floor, and we want people who are quick learners that thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing environment. Empathy is also critical. Doctors face all kinds of challenges that stand in the way of providing high-quality medical care to their patients; our team has to cut through the noise by identifying their biggest pain points and finding a solution.

 

Doctors face all kinds of challenges that stand in the way of providing high quality medical care to their patients; our team has to cut through the noise by identifying their biggest pain points and finding a solution.”

How do you set your team up for success and support them in reaching their goals?

Medici has dedicated, experienced full-time training resources to help new teammates reach their full potential quickly. Our training program is highly organized and well documented, and our more experienced team members spend a portion of their time coaching new employees on the nuances of the healthcare industry. Telemedicine is new to most salespeople, so this peer-driven support system is key to improving ramp time and unlocking the full potential of our new hires.

 

red ventures austin
image via red ventures

For Red Ventures VP of Engineering Emiliano Delucia, hiring for potential and excitement are key. He then helps keep that passion alive by coaching to people’s strengths and leading with optimism. 

 

When it comes to hiring, what characteristics do you look for in candidates and how do you ensure they’re a great culture fit?

I look for people who are passionate and enthusiastic about what they do, candidates who are able to showcase potential as long-term hires and who are influential communicators. We start evaluating candidates from the very first point of contact. Have they researched Red Ventures? Are they excited about our unique culture? Those are big ones, because we believe that excitement and passion carry over to job performance. To get those answers, I typically ask questions like, “What kind of work environment enables you to perform at your best?” and “Give an example of when you had to collaborate to solve a tough problem.”

 

My team is paramount. I work for them, and I'm constantly focused on how we can continue to build on their strengths.”

How do you set your team up for success and support them in reaching their goals?

My team is paramount. I work for them, and I'm constantly focused on how we can continue to build on their strengths. I’m also always looking for the big picture to make sure we're prioritizing meaningful work that will make a real impact on the bottom line of our business. Empowering my teams to take ownership of their projects, leading with optimism, unlocking interesting challenges, communicating constantly and celebrating success together — those are the most critical aspects of my role as a leader at Red Ventures.

 

chive media group hiring
image via chive media group/atomosphere

Not everyone thrives in what VP of HR Gillian Wilson describes as “controlled chaos,” but those who do will excel at Chive Media Group & Atmosphere. She and her team look for candidates who flourish in team environments with the ability to adapt on a dime. 

 

When it comes to hiring, what characteristics do you look for in candidates and how do you ensure they’re a great culture fit? 

Adaptability and teamwork. Chive Media Group & Atmosphere are always looking for team players who are helpful, proactive and eager to learn on their own — but adaptability is essential for every hire. Products and deadlines are always changing, and we want someone who does not get overwhelmed and can operate in controlled chaos. Someone who says “That's not my job” and isn’t willing to direct a colleague to the right answer isn’t going to survive here.

 

As long as employees are learning from their mistakes and growing their skills, it’s OK to fail forward”

How do you set your team up for success and support them in reaching their goals? 

It’s OK to fail forward. We don’t demand perfection and understand that not every project is going to be a success. Atmosphere exists today because of Chive Media Group’s experience creating KCCO beer. Our brewing days only lasted a few years and could’ve been a failed experiment, but that experience opened our eyes to the opportunity that became Atmosphere, which is now carried in bars and restaurants across the country. As long as employees are learning from their mistakes and growing their skills, it’s OK to fail forward. Everything is a learning opportunity to get better at your job.

 

360training.com austin
image via 360training.com

Trust and communication go hand-in-hand, and it’s these two pillars that 360training’s Kristen Hess leans on to sustain high performance on her team. But when it comes to hiring for success, the email marketing manager cares primarily about one thing: passion. 

 

When it comes to hiring, what characteristics do you look for in candidates and how do you ensure they’re a great culture fit?

Passion is the number one quality I want from someone on my team. When people are passionate about their career and the work they are doing, it’s infectious. It influences everyone around them. So, when you can assemble a group of passionate people with complementary strengths, you naturally end up with a high-performing team and a fantastic culture.

 

When you can assemble a group of passionate people with complementary strengths, you naturally end up with a high-performing team and a fantastic culture.”

How do you set your team up for success and support them in reaching their goals?

Your team’s success is rooted in their trust of leadership. You gain that trust by setting clear goals and communicating effectively. You also need to spend time coaching your team and providing them with constructive feedback, best practices and actionable advice. And while the timing of this communication might be different for everyone — weekly, bi-weekly, or even daily — the key is that it happens on a consistent basis.

 

adaction interactive
image via adaction interactive

AdAction Interactive may be a small team, but they are not to be underestimated. VP of Media Operations Max Shill and his colleagues have methodically brought together a group of individuals who thrive on getting better and taking ownership.

 

When it comes to hiring, what characteristics do you look for in candidates and how do you ensure they’re a great culture fit?

Besides all the great stuff any employer is looking for — work ethic, analytical thinking, problem-solving skills and teamwork — we really value candidates who have a history of and desire for continued learning and a strong sense of self-ownership. As a relatively small company in a fast-paced industry, we rely on each of our team members to strive for their own development and own the impact they can make on our team. These characteristics not only show they can do the job but also show they will be a great culture fit as well. It’s easy to fit in with our group if you're willing to continually learn new skills and are excited by the opportunity to own new responsibilities and projects that will push the team and company forward.

 

We rely on each of our team members to strive for their own development and own the impact they can make on our team.”

How do you set your team up for success and support them in reaching their goals?

It all starts with taking the time to connect with the team and clearly outline our objectives, define what success looks like and how each team member and role fits into this goal. After that, the team is empowered to own their individual efforts and impact on the mission. Along the way, myself and other team leaders take a hands-on and collaborative approach to highlight the wins as we progress and dive in on issues that are holding us back. We also try to ensure we're not using the same cookie-cutter approach for all goals. There may be projects that team members can completely own with little monitoring, and we regroup afterwards to assess the wins and losses. There are others that are more mission critical and demand collaboration from myself and the whole team. This approach allows our team to have a mix of opportunities to individually achieve and grow, while not feeling like they're on an island with no support.

 

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