What Constant Contact Looks for in New Hires
As head of product design at Constant Contact and an instructor at the Startup Institute, I am involved at both the beginning and end of students’ journeys through the curriculum. I am given the opportunity to educate those in the program on product design and strategy, and then work alongside the alumni that find their way to Constant Contact.
Because of my unique position, I have come to appreciate so much of what the Startup Institute offers, and over the years I have seen first-hand core qualities students develop that make them particularly successful in their new workspaces.
Those qualities are: versatility, experience, and the ability to make an immediate impact.
Some of the recent Startup Institute alumni we have hired at Constant Contact include an industrial designer who converted to web design and a former marketer who turned his focus to product development.
Bringing together people from a host of different backgrounds adds versatility to any team, and particularly to product design. Having outside perspectives based on previous experiences brings diversity to our design practice, allowing us to see things and make connections that we might have missed otherwise. For example, with a marketing viewpoint now intertwined in our thinking, we can pinpoint areas where they may be opportunities to introduce our customers to other products and services.
Additionally, I’ve noticed that people who come from different backgrounds often display a talent in communicating with other departments. Say we had a former customer engagement specialist on our staff — they would be a great fit for speaking with our customer support team about product updates we implement.
The type of experience I look for in job candidates often comes from two areas: a former position in a business setting, or experience with Constant Contact itself. Startup Institute alum will almost always have one or the other.
Many students at the Startup Institute are looking to pivot their careers, meaning that they may have experienced success in a previous job, but are looking for something more professionally and/or personally fulfilling. That previous success gives me an additional degree of confidence to hire them.
SI also offers “partner projects,” where 30% of the students’ time is devoted to working on a project within a company and seeing it through to completion. Constant Contact is one of those partners. If the students enjoy their time with Constant Contact and the results of their project are up to par, then we already know it’s an excellent match before the interview process even begins.
An Immediate Impact
In January Constant Contact announced the Small Business Innovation Program, an “accelerator” program designed to support entrepreneurs as they solve problems for small businesses through the development of new products, features, and services. One of the most important players in managing and coordinating the program is C. Todd Lombardo, a graduate of the Startup Institute.
C. Todd was hired by Constant Contact only one year prior to the program’s launch. With the kind of “startup mentality” that is fostered by the Startup Institute, C. Todd was able to join Constant Contact’s internal innovation team and help get a huge project completed in a short amount of time.
Now, we at Constant Contact get to shape and influence our own products as well as offer counsel to the first group of startups that will be ushered into the Innovation Program this summer!
When it comes to forming teams here at Constant Contact or really at any company, it can be tough to guarantee that new members will be a good fit. Interviews and sparse time at the office is often not enough to guarantee mutual success and happiness. However, in hiring from the Startup Institute, with alums uniquely prepared for the ways innovative companies work and create, we’ve had considerable success.
This post was written by Giles Phillips @gilesphillips, Chief Product Designer at Constant Contact. To learn more about his experience as a Startup Institute instructor read his interview with Course Report.