From application to onboarding: These techies share how they landed their dream jobs

by Katie Fustich
January 18, 2018

Perhaps the only thing more stressful than searching for a new job is starting one. First day jitters? Confusing orientation packets? We’ll pass. Fortunately, the NYC tech world does the welcome wagon a little differently. These six techies, in every industry from real estate to data, shared with Built In NYC how their companies helped them transition from candidates to valued members of the team.

Custora's Lora Lee

At Custora, Software Engineer Lora Lee helps one of the biggest analytics firms create products that allow companies to better understand their customers. Though the job itself may be complicated, Lee told Built In NYC how the company helped her transition into the role with education, support, and Play-Doh (you’ll see).


What inspired you to seek a position with Custora? What inspired you to accept the position?

My highest priority during the job search was a great company culture, so I was immediately drawn to Custora when I saw it featured in an article listing the coolest startup offices in New York.

After I applied, I felt great vibes throughout the entire interview process. Custora really stood out by making me feel welcome, with everything from an on-site lunch to personalized information packets. Once I received an offer, many of the people I interviewed with sent warm and enthusiastic congratulatory emails, all of which pointed to the great culture here. Accepting the offer was a no-brainer.


How did your company and team support you as you came on board? What was orientation and training like?

On my first day, the company provided a 90-day roadmap which included engineering-specific tasks like reviewing the app architecture and shipping my first line of code, as well as fun cultural activities, like carving a pumpkin during a Halloween happy hour. I was also paired with a buddy who was there to answer questions throughout the onboarding process.

In terms of training, I started working on smaller assignments and gradually worked up to bigger projects. Everyone on the team is willing to answer questions, so I always felt supported. I also had — and still do — weekly one-on-ones with my manager. I was also encouraged to share feedback during this time and I really appreciated the opportunity to talk through any concerns. The open dialogue was very refreshing.  

Lastly, we had a two-day orientation for new hires that was informative and really fun as well. We learned more about Custora while also partaking in activities that featured things like hazmat suits, edible art, and Play-Doh — just to name a few.


TransferWise's Amadeus Junqueira De Garcia

When Product Engineer Amadeus Junqueira De Garcia was on the hunt for a new gig, he knew exactly what he was looking for in a company. As it would turn out, money transfer network TransferWise was the perfect match.


What inspired you to seek a position with TransferWise? What inspired you to accept the position?

I was looking for a company that offered a few things: passion about a product's ability to serve its customers, a product with positive social implications, and autonomy as an engineer to directly influence the vision of that product.

During the interview process, it became very clear how passionate the engineers and product team were about what they're working on. One easy litmus test to assess an engineer's relationship with the product is to ask consistently ask "why?" about what they're working on. You can often feel out how much influence they have on what they're working on, and how excited they are to be there. Every single TransferWise engineer I talked to knew exactly why they were working on and the potential impact; it was refreshing to witness that.

Secondly, as I mentioned above, the potential impact is quite large because the North American market is so huge and TransferWise's growth is staggering. As a currencies engineer team, you're responsible for every part of the product that impacts the market. You have to prioritize, and if you get it right you can quickly see your impact. It's a great challenge, and I've grown a lot!


How did your company and team support you as you came on board? What was orientation and training like?

TransferWise is a global company; they now have offices all over the world. All of the "newbies" get sent to their biggest office in Tallinn, Estonia for a week to meet other new joiners across the offices. It's a great chance to meet people, and I'm still friends with the people I started with.

For engineers, there's a bit more training involved with understanding our systems, and then the product team you work on usually has one or two engineers helping you through the first few months of orientation.


Nooklyn's Moiz K. Malik

Before taking on the role of CFO with real estate startup Nooklyn, Moiz K. Malik helped build the company from the ground up, spending his first five years at the firm developing the platform and establishing himself as the company’s first CTO. While less traditional than other onboarding processes, Malik says he wouldn’t change it for the world.


What inspired you to seek a position with Nooklyn? What inspired you to accept the position?

After leaving university, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I watched a lot of YouTube videos of successful people giving career advice. The best came from Sheryl Sandberg, the COO at Facebook. She said “attach yourself to a rocket ship,” meaning pass on the established companies and take a chance on a younger company that’s growing really fast.

When I first met Nooklyn CEO Harley Courts, the company had a small office down the hall from my apartment. A few months later Nooklyn had a storefront. Another few months and Nooklyn had another storefront. So I texted Harley, “Wanna work on this website together?” and the rest is history. The company now has five offices, 25+ employees and 250 real estate agents. At the time I joined, there was only one employee and about 10 real estate agents.


How did your company and team support you as you came on board? What was orientation and training like?

Working with Harley at Nooklyn gave me the opportunity to explore my own ideas. Harley realized he knew how to do marketing/sales and gave me the freedom to develop the technology independently. Instead of someone looking over my shoulder or micro-managing, he instead kept motivating me to dream up and build useful tools for renters. There wasn’t a training program, but instead “here’s the keys to the technology, show me what you can do.” That’s all I ever wanted: a blank slate to create my own ideas.


Shutterstock's Christie Ramsaran

When Software Engineer Christie Ramsaran joined Shutterstock, she was excited to join the ranks of an established, 14-year-old company. While she certainly found the resources of a mature tech firm, she was pleasantly surprised to find the company maintains a startup-like atmosphere when it comes to training; where everyone is encouraged to learn from each other and never stop asking questions.


What inspired you to seek a position with Shutterstock? What inspired you to accept the position?

I applied for a software engineering role at Shutterstock because it was the perfect blend of the two subjects I studied in college: computer science and art. I was inspired by the fact that Shutterstock’s platform allows contributors to make art their living and, as a mature company, I knew Shutterstock would be a great place to develop a strong engineering foundation. What I didn’t realize until I had interviewed and been offered a position was the quality of mentorship I would receive. Knowing that my manager and teammates were excited to have me on board and to help start my tech career ultimately motivated me to accept the position.


How did your company and team support you as you came on board? What was orientation and training like?

My onboarding experience at Shutterstock could not have been better. Most notably, there was no deadline for my training — it was tailor-made to suit my needs. On my first day, I was partnered with a senior member of our team. Pair-programming my first few assignments with him not only allowed me to get comfortable with the code base, but also gave me the opportunity to learn aspects of working in the industry that aren’t necessarily taught in school.

 My training covered everything from setting up my environment to best practices for the coding languages we use. We covered debugging tips and tricks and how to navigate Git in the beginning, but my training never really stopped. Since venturing out on my own, my teammates have always encouraged questions. All of the support I receive at Shutterstock has helped me to develop confidence in my engineering abilities and has set the stage for what promises to be a long and happy career in tech.


Attune's George Hastings

Sometimes, you don’t find the perfect job — the perfect job finds you. That’s precisely what happened to Product Designer George Hastings when he was recruited for the Attune Insurance team. The company’s unique goals allowed Hastings to grow and explore his career in ways he never expected.


What inspired you to seek a position with Attune Insurance? What inspired you to accept the position?

I first heard of Attune when Eli Bozeman, Product Manager at Attune, saw my portfolio on Designer News and decided to reach out. I happened to be job hunting, but hadn't imagined landing in the insurance industry. Still, Eli's note made a compelling case for Attune's mission and I took a meeting. When I learned I would be the first design hire, which would come with a high level of impact and autonomy, that sealed the deal for me. While it's true that "insurance" and "great design" are two terms that seem unlikely to end up in the same sentence, I am excited to be part of a team that's going to change that. With great partners and resources, Attune has every opportunity to make an impactful difference in a process which currently feels anything but human-centered.


How did your company and team support you as you came on board? What was orientation and training like?

I started on the same day as four others bringing the total to 24 employees, the biggest hiring cohort to date. After receiving a warm welcome and publicly taking a stance on whether a hot dog was a sandwich, we got to meeting our teams and getting to know the company. Orientation spread over two weeks so it was a great balance of introductions and digging right into content (I went to an offsite design review on my first day). The environment was friendly and full of the kind of energy I'd expect from a new company with big goals.


HyperScience's Anatola He

Ever flown across the country on your first day at a new job? HyperScience’s VP of Business Development Anatola He did just that. She described to Built In NYC how the slightly unorthodox training process helped her shape the job of her dreams.


What inspired you to seek a position with HyperScience? What inspired you to accept the position?

I met the company during my time in venture capital here in NYC, and quickly fell in love with both the mission and the team. My stint at a big bank enabled me to really comprehend the value of solving the massive problems that HyperScience is tackling.

While normally the result would have been to do a deal and commit to helping the team out any way I could from the outside, I ended up accepting a position within the company instead. I was excited about all the things that still needed to be figured out, and the prospect of doing that alongside people I really like and respect made it an easy decision.


How did your company and team support you as you came on board? What was orientation and training like?

My very first day on the job involved flying out to San Francisco to help pitch a big client, and it's been an exciting ride ever since. While there wasn't formal orientation or training when I joined, I spent the first few weeks getting to know everyone and joining any call or meeting I could to get up to speed. I can't say enough about how helpful and patient everyone was with all my questions and how much autonomy I was given to quickly start making an impact. Now we have a lot more structure for bringing new people on board, but we work hard to preserve that combination of collaboration, ownership, and trust.


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