The content team sat down with Kate Avery, Chief People Officer at Modulr, to ask what it takes for candidates to stand out and what a LinkedIn Top Startup and a 2020 Best UK Workplace is looking for from its candidates.
Do any great interviews stand out?
Kate Avery, CPO - The tables are turned! Usually we're the ones doing the interviewing.
I vividly remember one candidate who we’ve since hired who had to do their video interview in a café, due to unforeseen circumstances. Even in a whirlwind of activity – people having loud conversations, waiters rushing about and a baby crying – they were able to maintain their composure and were completely unflappable. Nothing deterred the candidate and they remained razor focused on the interview, something that was self-proving for the sales position for which they were interviewing.
How do you feel after a great interview?
The feeling I look out for is that I really want to work with that person, and I’ll enjoy working with them. Like many places, we have a no ego policy and at Modulr that translates to a structured debrief involving the members of the candidate’s potential team where we debate if they’d fit in well.
We’re also great believers in hiring someone based on their potential. It becomes a question of ‘six months down the line, will this person be achieving what that role can achieve?’.
If there’s no clear consensus on who should be hired, each member of the team can put their argument forward. And we mean everyone gets an input; for instance, the marketing intern most recently gave their thoughts on a candidate.
When you go into an interview, be it on the phone or in-person, what are you looking out for?
Good question. Let’s count them off.
- Do take notes – it demonstrates you can listen and think at the same time.
- If you’re a graduate, do proactively discuss times you’ve been out of your comfort zone. This is a good indication of how you’d hold up under pressure in a (new) working environment and especially at a fast-growth FinTech.
- Do explain times you’ve set out personal goals and achieved them, no matter how trivial.
- Do ask the right questions. There’s also a moment near the end of interviews where I ask if they have any questions. You can tell from a mile off those who’ve done their homework; you need to ask questions that get answers you couldn’t have just googled.
- Similar to the last but do your research. Connect with people on LinkedIn – we don’t mind! If you’re serious about working at Modulr, you need to know who we are.
- This is the most important of all, you need to be authentic. Authentic means that you don’t hold back. We’ve turned people down based on the fact we think they’re not revealing their real personality.
What is your favourite interview question?
'When was the last time you stretched yourself?' This usually brings up a scenario where they overcame a challenging obstacle by improving themselves under pressure to succeed. My other favourite question is, 'what was the last thing you taught yourself?' This gets people thinking. The last thing I taught myself was how to communicate more effectively after reading the book, Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know.
Assuming a candidate is qualified, what advice would you give them to really stand out?
They need to be self-assured which is a mixture of self-confidence, ability to perform under pressure and having genuine belief in the impact they can have on the role and business. They need to be able to embrace growth and understand how they contribute to Modulr’s success.
Candidates should also understand that the interview process is a two way street. It’s as much an opportunity for them to get to know us and ensure Modulr is the right decision.
How important is personality and first impressions?
I’ll dodge the question and answer with ‘attitude’. We’re all people and we need to know, should you be hired, if we can rely upon you to help out your fellow teammates. It’s great when your attitude and personality can come out in the interview process so we can see you demonstrating the values I listed above.
Interviews at Modulr are a chance to really showcase your experience, attitude and ambition to join a LinkedIn Top Startup.