A tech startup is a daunting place for a recent college-graduate to find his first job. I found myself in this position 1.5 years ago. Walking in I had no idea what to expect. Whenever we think of “start ups” we think of great snacks, happy hours, and rounds of darts with the coworkers. Those things certainly happened, and while they were fun those are certainly not the most valuable things I’ve found at SmartRecruiters. The most valuable things I’ve found at SmartRecruiters are three values that I hold very dearly in my heart.
1. Hard Work
Most people know this, but they don’t see it. The people at SmartRecruiters are some of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met. The executives lead by example and a culture of hard work has followed them. Their stories precede them, such as one VP demo’d for 14 hours straight, delaying her flight to a trip where she was supposed to get engaged at, all for the sake of winning a deal. Most of the stories and examples of hard work aren’t as dramatic as this one, but they exist day-to-day.
Being real with myself was something I always strove for. Learning what that looked like in a professional environment was a little bit of a journey. In the corporate environment there is a taboo about admitting to failure. It is understandable. No one likes to fail. But the difference between owning it, and trying to cover it up makes a world of difference to your team. I’ve learned that being forthcoming and admitting to a mistake or knowledge-gap helps people on your team in assisting you. Hiding your own faults to make yourself look better is not the winning strategy to looking good. Looking good is a byproduct of being self-aware of what you know and what you don’t know and embarks you on the path of being brilliant.
Everyone tells each other that clear communication in your team is vital. This is certainly the case at SmartRecruiters. As the only sales operations analyst I work with Marketing, Sales Development, Field Sales, and Customer Success. I had to learn very quickly that in order to do my job well I need to be quick and forthcoming with my communication. I can’t just be quick with the good updates either. I need to be quick and forthcoming with the bad news as well. At SmartRecruiters we have a culture of “As One.” Whenever a team is struggling, or there is someone that needs help we all go to support that person. We have access to the resources and help we need. This is closely related to self-awareness because we need to know when we need help, and be willing to seek it out when we need it.
Looking back at the start of my career, it’s been a hell of a ride. This environment is constantly changing, and we are growing big time. I count myself fortunate to be a part of something greater and being able to work with some of the smartest people I’ve been blessed to know.