Launched in 2010, Venice, Calif.-based startup CouponPal is a website committed to putting consumers in touch with the best deals and discounts online. To set itself apart, it focuses on a more youthful demographic than other e-commerce sites and works to better communicate the usefulness of coupon codes while providing effortless interaction between vendors and users.
With a staff of eight full-time and eight part-time, CouponPal doubled the size of its team in the past few months and, says founder and CEO Scott Elling, is never not hiring. “We don’t have a specific number of people we’re trying to hire this year,” he tells us. “We’re always looking for the right people and the best talent available.”
As for needs, Elling says, “You can never have too many talented developers. We’re also looking for great content producers.” Additionally, he’ll soon be seeking out account managers and sales professionals.
CouponPal uses its own proprietary dashboard to monitor and evaluate its campaigns, update its website and perform company-wide tasks. It looks for familiarity with front- and back-end frameworks like Laravel and Twitter Bootstrap, as well as user experience design.
How to Reach Out
If you think you can add value to the company, Elling would love to hear from you. When it comes to recruiting, the company likes to establish relationships with prospective employees, and several of its current team members have come from referrals made by other staff and the partners with whom they work.
“We’re happy to connect with candidates no matter how they contact us – so long as the effort is genuine,” Elling says. “They can find us at local L.A. meetups within the tech community, job fairs and social media.”
How to Navigate a Job Posting
Elling is blunt about what’s acceptable for an application. “I can say that applicants need to pay attention to the details,” he warns. “We build several tests into the process, which we use to filter the candidates. Without saying too much, if we ask for you to put something in the subject line – do it. If instructions say to upload your resume through a specific site, don’t send it as an attachment and expect to get the same response. Following directions increases your odds of being seen and demonstrates invaluable skills.”
The Interview Process
The interview process at CouponPal is informal and conversational. It’s not uncommon for several “Pals” to step in and out. The process is about more than skills and experience: The company wants to know how you’d fit in with your team and the company’s culture. You should be prepared to talk about yourself, ask questions, put your skills on display and meet with multiple people.
When the team recently held interviews for content development positions, interviewees met with four different managers in 15-minute speed-interview sessions. After those conversations, they were given access to the dashboard, a set of instructions and a task to complete. The computers used in the test were connected to monitors in another room so the team could watch how each applicant worked. Elling says it not only gave them a great idea of how candidates approached a task, but also real-time insights into the tools they were using.
What Makes a Good Fit?
Company culture and candidates who fit into it are extremely important to CouponPal. At times, it tries to function like an extended family more than a business, Elling says, so personality goes a long way. In addition to people that perform at high levels, seek to find the most efficient solution to problems and bring simplicity to complex ideas, the company wants employees who can contribute to the happiness and well-being of everyone at the company.
Advice for Seasoned Professionals
Elling wants professionals to check their past experiences at the door. While he welcomes their ideas and expertise, candidates must embrace the startup and bootstrap mentality. He emphasizes that potential employees have to do their homework by learning everything they can about the company’s business model, market and competitors. They should also be clear on what skills they bring to the table that will enhance the business and create growth.
Advice for New Graduates
“Sacrifice money for an opportunity” Elling says. In other words, those with less experience should be willing to work for less money. Elling argues that since CouponPal is a startup with legs the growth potential is there, though it may take a while before the rewards arrive.