Get in the Nest: Tips for Applying to HootSuite
With ongoing excitement about working at HootSuite (especially in light of the Best Place to Work in BC win), I’m often asked for referrals, recommendations, advice, and informational coffee chats about how to get interviewed – and hopefully hired – at HootSuite.
These tips are simply from my experience, having helped hire dozens of employees and recommending many more. While some of these points are specific to HootSuite, most will apply to anyone seeking a job either in social tech or using social media to find a new gig.
Tip 1: Get to Know Us
There’s lots of news about HootSuite in the media, and you might know a few things about our products, but it’s in your best interest to really get to know us as a company.
Start by following @HootHR and @HootClub and read the recent news about HootSuite. I recommend looking at culture pieces, videos, and anything featuring our HR department. Basically, find everything you can get your hands on so you know who we really are. Your most important resource is the HootSource blog – dig in and start reading.
Be especially thorough about learning about the department to which you are applying. Whichever it is, make sure you take your time to see if it’s really the right fit for your skills. When/if you come onboard, you’re going to immediately be working on ongoing projects and you’ll want to add something to the table straightaway.
For example: If you hope to work for Solutions Partners department, learn everything you can about our existing Partner Programs: who they’re for, what’s included, what are the targets, who is successfully onboard, etc.
Tip 2: Be Thorough to Get In
Make sure you read all the requirements of the job postings carefully and don’t let anything slip past you. We wouldn’t want some minor detail to derail you from coming on and being a valuable contributor at HootSuite. Double check. Triple check and adjust your cover letter and resume so that they are an exact fit for the job you seek.
Also, prep your references and include them right from the beginning. We will contact these people, so choose carefully – peer co-workers, college party buddies, and bosses from 8 years ago are poor choices. People to whom you directly reported or collaborated are great, as are professional mentors.
Tip 3: Tell Your Story, Creatively
Many people have applied with fantastically creative resumes and we really enjoy receiving these treats – In fact my office is filled with a little museum of great resume applications – but make sure the creativity is backed up with information about your skills and how you can help HootSuite grow.
One favorite was a personalized, home-made, tea-bag set. Each tiny paper tag had a small owl on one side, and quotes from some of my speeches on the back. It proved the candidate had done her research, ergo: she watched videos to get to know my department and how she might be able to help us with what we do. In the tea box, she listed her different skills and experiences from her resume – only instead of a sheet of paper, she chartered it out in mini infographics and bite-size pieces. She included illustrations of her in a HootSuite T-Shirt, along with an owl magnet-clip and a handwritten note. It is a real treasure and even ended up on the news a few times.
Other notable applications include: a USB key loaded with a resume and supporting materials hidden inside a HootSuite logo made out of LEGO; a longboard/skateboard painted with a HootSuite Owl flying across the deck; a video blog in which the candidate uploaded a daily video explaining the various reasons why she would be great for HootSuite. Plus she conducted an entire social media campaign to promote the series which was a great way to demonstrate her communication skills.
So while all kinds of unique ideas can help you stand out, make sure that you’re using creativity to back up your professional story. The video series is a really good example of a creative application because the candidate was able to show how she can present herself while at the same time conducting a multi-faceted campaign.
Ultimately, while we *want* you to be creative, we really *need* to hear your professional backstory.
Tip 4: Tidy Up Online
It’s really important to us that you have a thorough LinkedIn profile. Be sure to include links to other online presences, too.
We’re a very social and online company so I’d say that your LinkedIn profile is more important to us than your traditional resume. Add links to things that you’ve done online, communities that you’ve contributed to, code you’ve written, successes you’ve generated for a company, media articles, and your blog. These kinds of things are super valuable so be sure to include them in your application.
In other words, if we see that you just signed up for Twitter yesterday or you’re using a competing tool, it’s probably not a good sign ;) Ditto if your LinkedIn profile isn’t up to date or well taken care of - that’s going to be a big “X.”
Tip 5: Get Into the System
You’ll give us all kinds of ways to make yourself known later on, but first you need to get into the system. The delightful Human Resource team use a web-based tool called The Resumator, which lives at: HootSuite.com/Careers. Check it out, and see how you can use that tool to wow us.
If you don’t see a job that looks exactly right for you, apply under “I’m Awesome, Hire Me.” But be sure to make a great case for yourself. This is where everything will start. We want to see your super power, and how you’ll add value to the HootSuite brand.
Keep in mind that all the jobs posted aren’t the only ones that will ever exist, so come back often. Also, our HR team is particularly good at matching up people’s skills with an unexpected department or job. They know the needs and personalities and culture of each team so trust them to help you find a fit.
Tip 6: Patience and Time are your Allies
HootSuite receives hundreds of emails and resumes per week and the HR team fields loads of inquiries from many different channels. We put a lot of resources into finding the right fit for each role, and the process takes time. Be patient, and know that we are going over your dossier with careful attention. Sometimes it takes time for the right role to pop up. If we think you’re great but not a good fit for the role, know that we will keep you on our radar for when we find just the right spot. Remember: we want awesome folks like you.
It is worth noting that some of our highest performing employees interviewed with several different departments before finding the right fit and coming onboard.
We think we’re worth the wait so don’t give up on us and use the time while you’re waiting to learn more about the company and your potential within.
And no, please don’t ever call to ask about the status of your application.
Tip 7: Know The HootStory
If you’re a successful candidate, you’re going to come into an incredible company that’s on a remarkable journey.
Take the time to get to know the backstory of where we came from, not just as a business, but the way that we evolved our role in the social media world. What I mean by this is to look at some of the stories we found ourselves included in, i.e.: our role in the Egyptian revolution, the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami relief efforts, and our role in major political campaigns. Of course we’re a neutral party in all of this but it’s very powerful to understand the change and the power that our tool has effectuated around the world.
Tip 8: Enjoy the Possibilities
Most importantly: Once you get a job and pass probation, you’re in, you’re one of us forever. We’re a unique company, we work hard, and manage to have a lot of fun so remember these tips so you don’t miss out on a great opportunity.
Now that you’re ready, head on over to HootSuite.com/Careers and let us know about you.