Jason Concepcion is a Sr. Talent Acquisition Specialist at CU Direct, a technology leader that delivers lending solutions to financial institutions, auto dealers, retailers, and medical providers nationwide. As a progressive company that looks for the best diverse talent, CU Direct prides themselves on seeking and taking care of their employees.
We sat down with Jason to learn about CU Direct’s hiring process. Keep reading for his top 6 tips to put into practice when interviewing with CU Direct.
Tip # 1 Do Your Research
While it may seem obvious, learning about the company you’re interviewing for is crucial. “Before the interview, do some research on CU Direct, our products and services, and even our subsidiary companies,” says Jason. Doing the research will show the interviewer that you are highly interested and that “you did your due diligence in getting to know the company.” Check out their About page to get to know CU Direct and its various projects.
Tip #2 Ask Questions
It’s important to be transparent from the first point of contact with the company, which means asking questions to clarify and gain more information. Jason suggests, “when talking to the recruiter, ask questions. Go into that interview confident and prepared, making sure you have questions for them to figure out if you can succeed, have fun, and prosper with CU Direct. As a recruiter, we gather information and we want you to gather information, too.”
Tip #3 Take Your Time
Pace yourself in the interview. Jason explains that “it’s okay to pause, regroup, and answer questions. When asked about your experiences, taking your time will allow you to think of the situation, how you solved it, and what was the outcome.”
Tip #4 Ask Yourself, ‘What Do I Want to Do?’
Take inventory of what you have accomplished or learned in your professional trajectory so far. “We’re not just looking for what you’ve done, but we are also looking for what you can do and what you want to do,” says Jason. He believes that “those things are just as important as what you’ve done in the past. Your drive and determination will show us where you want to go and ideally, that will organically align with the positions we have here at our company.”
Tip #5 Understand the Job Description
With your resume in hand, consider what experiences best align with the job description. “Valuable work experience can be found almost anywhere. It can come from your first job or it can come from your most recent job,” Jason explains. Whatever small or short experience you have that matches the job description is worth mentioning and explaining, depending on the job you are applying for. Jason explains, “a good understanding of the job description you’re going for, and related positions within the company will give you a greater insight as to what we’re looking for and what you want to highlight or present in regards to this role.”
Tip #6 Don’t Be Afraid to Get Personal
One way to stand out in the interview process is to show that you’ll be a good values fit, so intentionality throughout, and after, the interview can go a long way. Jason suggests sending a thank you email after the interview. “This will make sure that you stand out in front of thousands of applicants,” he says. “Don’t make it generic, tailor the message including details mentioned in the interview, this will show the person that you were completely engaged throughout the interview.”
CU Direct’s personal and careful recruitment process is a reflection of their fun and innovative atmosphere, their value of team members, and commitment to growth. They offer several benefits to their employees, such as a flexible working environment, paid time off, 401k match, college tuition reimbursement, and an exciting company culture. Because of this, they want to make sure people are treated with the same kindness and positivity from the start. As Jason reiterates: “We want to make sure you are prepared and ready for each step of this process, from interviewing, to asking questions, and to possibly onboard in the future,” says Jason.
Are you interested to find out more about working at CU Direct? Check out their openings here!
Watch this free recording featuring leaders from PowerToFly, 15five, Lever and Crosschq
Has the Great Resignation impacted your workforce? PowerToFly's Global Director of DEI Sienna Brown joined leaders from Lever and Crosschq for this special webinar hosted by 15five, a human-centered performance management platform, to present a free webinar on the practices and pitfalls of talent acquisition and retention through a diverse lens.
Sienna and her co-panelists discuss common talent acquisition mistakes made in 2021 and how to build stronger strategies for 2022. Learn what top talent seeks in a company and what will set up your organization for long-term success when it comes to recruitment and hiring.
What You Will Learn
- Which stages of the talent acquisition process you need to re-evaluate
- Best practices for identifying and filling talent gaps in your organization
- How to hire more diversely and inclusively without bias
- What resources and technologies can boost your talent acquisition efforts
Presented in partnership with 15five
If you are in talent acquisition or you are a hiring manager, you probably already know that it's a candidate's market for the foreseeable future. The world has changed forever over the last two years and that includes the talent acquisition space.
PowerToFly has partnered with 15five, a human-centered performance management platform, to present a free webinar on the practices and pitfalls of talent acquisition and retention through a diverse lens. This is a great opportunity to start setting clear goals for 2022.
Join us Thursday, November 4th at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific)? RSVP HERE (It's free!)
PowerToFly's Sienna Brown, Global Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will be joined by Mike Fitzsimmons, CEO & Co-Founder at Crosschq; Shweta Jacob, Recruiting Team Lead at Lever and moderator Polly Stocks, Human Resources Business Partner at 15Five for an honest and interactive discussion on all things talent acquisition and inclusive hiring.
Can't attend our webinar on November 4th? 15five also has upcoming talks on goal clarity, employee recognition and performance reviews with such speakers as Chris Timol, President & COO at PuzzleHR. Your free registration works for all talks!
Remember when, in movies from the late 1990s, characters who were looking for a job would leaf through a newspaper's classified section to see who was hiring?
Jess Scott has been running HR teams and talent acquisition teams since then. "You would circle in red pen the job they're going to go apply for. That's how you applied!" she says, laughing. "Sending emails, especially with attachments, was still a very new thing."
While the industry has changed a lot since then, especially with the data and technology that allows for more predictive control of the process, the fundamentals of how to build a solid team have remained the same. And Jess has been leaning on those fundamentals as she's helped scale VTS, a leasing and asset management platform for the commercial real estate market, from a couple hundred employees to more than 1,000.
We sat down with Jess, who is currently VP of Talent at VTS, to hear more on how she's done it, as well as how she got her start in the industry and what she's learned along the way.
Finding a "real career" in finding people
Jess was a theater major in college when she realized that she couldn't commit to pursuing a thespian's life.
"I dated an actor very seriously in college who was eight years my senior, and I saw his life, and I was like, 'I can't live that life.' Temping forever, not knowing where your next gig is going to come from, it just seemed too erratic for me," she says. So Jess added a sociology and education major and planned to teach, but that didn't quite work out, either.
"I student-taught and found out that I love kids, but I couldn't do that all day!" she says. She got an internship at a retained search firm and figured she'd be there for a little while—and was surprised when she found it really interesting.
"I didn't think 'finding people' was a real career," she says, smiling. "But I was learning how to build an org chart, how to interact with managing directors, how to woo people, how that whole process works."
Jess later joined a search firm, then went in-house at MTV to help build their first internet team. "I got the startup bug then, and really learned about all the moving parts of being an HR generalist," she says. She worked there while she got her master's in industrial and organizational psychology. From there, she went back and forth between agencies and startups before finding her way to VTS.
Jess first heard of VTS from a friend who suggested she come over and consult for the growing company. But Jess stayed because she really believes in the product and the people.
"What we're building makes so much sense. It's so intuitive," she says. "Real estate isn't going anywhere. It's actually a lot sexier than I thought it was going to be!"
The opportunity to run talent acquisition at VTS checked all of the boxes Jess was looking for in a job:
- An opportunity to make an impact
- The chance to work with founders she believes in ("our founders are really good people with really good moral compasses," she says)
- A formal commitment to DEI and ongoing learning and development
And since joining, her expectations have been met. "I've never worked somewhere where our values are truly who we are," says Jess. "We don't talk about culture fit. I think that's so subjective and kind of antiquated and has all sorts of unconscious bias and all sorts of things that creep in. We think about it as: are you a values fit? Are you going to be a good peer and member of our community? We've created a really wonderful work environment, and as we scale, we've been able to keep the things that make us special top of mind for everyone."
Embracing exponential growth: 3 tips for other managers doing the same
As the VP of Talent at VPS, Jess's days are filled managing her 14-person team, directly overseeing a few executive searches, and planning for the future of the company, from hitting next quarter's head count to building a production-driven environment that more systematically manages talent across the organization.
After seeing her team through the pandemic, says Jess, she's more focused than ever about building "true, deep, authentic relationships" and learning how to support and motivate her teammates, both at work and in their personal lives. "I really care about what I do, and I really care about my team, and I want to see us win," says Jess, who adds that her team now has even better unity and cohesion than they did pre-pandemic.
She's now able to channel that shared motivation and dedication into her biggest professional challenge to date: making sure that her team can meet the talent demands of a fast-growing company.
And she has three tips to share on how to do just that:
- Adopt new tools and techniques. Jess is an intuitive manager at heart, but she knew she'd have to step outside of her comfort zone to build something truly systematic and scalable. And now, "we use data to better predict capacity," says Jess. "We know how many jobs we're going to be able to fill based on past performance, broken down by product, engineering, and business, which take different amounts of time." She invested in cleaning up her team's data and building the infrastructure to better predict and track hiring needs. "We're very metrics-driven now. We had to totally rethink and reimagine how we were doing things, because what had worked wouldn't scale."
- Be vulnerable with your team. "Scaling is hard!" says Jess. "You're flying the plane and building the next version of it at the same time. As a leader, it's important to be vulnerable with your team, as it allows them to ask questions. It's about creating that space to make mistakes or to not know."
- Ask for the help you need. "If you don't know how to do it, it's okay to say, 'I don't know how to do it!' and get resources to help you," she says. "There are things that I just didn't don't know how to do, like how to assess whether assessment tests are going to make our top of funnel better." In that example, Jess got around that by partnering with an outside firm to come in and help lead a six-month process to restructure her team's processes and set them up with the metrics-based approach that's currently driving a 33% increase in capacity.