Blinds.com, the largest online window covering store in the world, is based on Houston and home to 250 employees, 30 of them working exclusively in IT. CIO Larry Hack says that in addition to its dedicated tech team, the company prides itself “on being fairly tech-savvy in all departments.”
Growing rapidly, Blinds.com now has several open positions including UX designer, senior developer, network engineer and mobile developer. “As we’re an Agile shop, we also look for future teammates that are highly adaptable, collaborative and team-oriented,” says Hack.
On a technical level, Blinds.com looks for people with:
- Strong Web server-side development skills including C# and ASP.NET MVC.
- Experience using ORM technology (NHibernate, Entity Framework) to map against a relational store (SQL Server).
- Strong source code repository knowledge as well as branching strategies. Knowledge of Git is especially nice.
How to Navigate a Job Posting
“Our job descriptions are fairly straightforward,” says Hack. What each listing asks for is what the team needs and wants. However, Hack adds, “we look holistically at each candidate, wanting an insight into the way their brain works and what drives them to do great things. It’s important for our developers to know the why, not just the how.”
The Hiring Process
The company’s team wants to work “with smart, curious and driven people that we like to spend time and collaborate with,” Hack says. So when interviewing, expect the conversation to go beyond what’s simply on your resume. The process is fairly intense: Candidates who make it to an in-person interview are put in real-life working situations. Hiring personnel will request they walk through a position’s applicable processes and explain each of the decisions they make along the way.
Step-by-step, the hiring process looks like this:
- Initial phone screening to gauge general interest, fit and understanding of the company.
- Hiring manager phone interview for more technical conversation and assignments.
- A technical interview, hiring manager interview and code evaluation, either remotely or in-person (usually about two hours).
- In-person meeting with the CIO.
- In-person, final meeting with CEO Jay Steinfeld.
What Makes a Good Fit?
“What makes working at Blinds.com so special isn’t necessarily the products that we sell (as lovely as they are) or the technology we develop (as awesome as it is),” says Hack. “It’s all about our company, and we’ll want to know if the applicant understands our company core values, mission and vision. Are they already learning new skills on their own, solving complex problems, working with a collaborative team? It really matters.”
Among the traits ideal candidates possess is a drive to continuously improve, both themselves and the lives of those around them. They’re also going to be enthused about improving customer experiences and building cutting edge technology that will help sell configurable products on the Web.
Advice for Seasoned Professionals
Fit is crucial. Hack strongly recommends studying up on company culture and history: Watch its YouTube videos, connect on social media and really get to know the brand and employees.
Advice for New Graduates
You can get attention by working on interesting side projects that you can share with recruiters. Hack wants to know if you’ve created a functioning product or are learning a new skill because it interests you. “We get excited about curious minds that like to experiment,” he says. “Let us see the kind of work that motivates you.”
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