Since 2012, Flatiron School has worked with a lot of hungry software engineering students – and almost as many companies who come to Flatiron to hire technical talent. Sometimes they’re kind enough to pull back the curtain and demystify their hiring practices for interested students. Today, as part of our Career Advice series, we’re thrilled to share our chat with Hayden Hunter, Recruiter at Betterment, the “smarter automated investing service.” Read on to see what Hayden looks for in candidates and his advice for students – including recent grad Jess Harrelson – hoping to work at Betterment.
Thanks for chatting with us, Hayden! First, can you tell us a bit about Betterment's tech stack?
Hayden Hunter, Recruiter at Betterment
We are an entire cloud based (AWS) environment and build all of our apps in Ruby on Rails. Our backend team uses Java. These are the main tools used but we’re constantly exploring new technologies to build great things here.
With that in mind, how do you think about a candidate’s technical language background? What do you look for in candidates when hiring developers?
We’re open to technical experiences but we do have three traits we look for in all candidates we interview agnostic of languages: Horsepower, Openness, and Passion. Through countless interviews, we’ve refined our process to identify these as the key traits to succeed in any department here at Betterment.
Knowing languages and frameworks are delightful but we do not restrict to any particular background. As long as you’re willing and open to learning something new you can come in and succeed.
We work with an open floor plan and by default, we’re highly collaborative. Everyone is constantly working cross-functionally and ongoing constructive feedback is our thing. We’re focused on building software for the long term and your appreciation for craftsmanship and pragmatism are vital to accomplishing that.
What’s your impression of the Flatiron grads you’ve hired or worked with?
My colleague Jess Jaser launched our inaugural apprenticeship program here. She worked tirelessly with our engineering team to refine all the details for the program and get it kicked off this last April. We interviewed many candidates and chose two that had gone through Flatiron School’s NYC Software Engineering Immersive. At the end of our apprentice program, we were very excited to extend offers and have them as the two newest additions to the Betterment engineering team.
Any advice to prospective applicants on the skills they should be building to stand out in the interview process?
It is a competitive environment and knowing a skill is great – but show you’ve gone deeper. Go beyond to understand how a technical language works and can be applied to solve a business problem. Additionally, know why you’re interested in a company: be it their mission, values, etc. Be able to express how that relates to your professional or personal goals and how you can contribute alongside their team.
Interested in more advice on starting your career in tech? Download our eBook, How to Be a No-Brainer Tech Hire, for more advice from Flatiron School and our network of employers.