The Bay Area has long been positioned as the go-to hotspot for hungry talent looking for new opportunities or a launchpad for their own ideas. And while San Francisco continues to lure ambitious talent to Northern California, it’s not the only location where savvy tech professionals can build their careers.
Instead, smaller cities are becoming powerful innovation hubs — often, with a more realistic cost of living that enables talent to tackle meaningful projects without compromising quality of life.
Take Charlotte, North Carolina. The city has seen notable arrivals from companies like Apple, and with a booming tech scene run by plenty of talent, it’s becoming an increasingly more attractive area for companies to set down roots. It’s why Credit Karma selected the Queen City for its second-largest office outside California: Its East Coast headquarters.
The fintech company, recently acquired by Intuit, is now hiring over 600 new employees in Charlotte to drive innovation and fast-track its product roadmap. What that looks like in practice, said Ashleigh Anderson, vice president and head of talent acquisition, is that incoming talent will have plenty of opportunities to tackle fun projects and build exciting tech.
“These are meaty roles,” Anderson said. “Our Charlotte employees will be building scalable systems to support new product features, designing and developing new microservices, launching experiences on both desktop and mobile web platforms and extending Credit Karma’s platform to new industries and verticals.”
Aside from a fulfilling professional experience, Anderson is looking forward to sharing the vibrant culture of Charlotte with the influx of new “Karmanauts.” To her, Charlotte is the perfect city for those looking for all of the offerings of a major city — with a little added stability.
“I’ve personally lived in Charlotte for 15 years, and can tell you it’s a wonderful place to live with good people, great energy and exciting growth,” Anderson said. “It is so rewarding to work for a company investing in talent outside of the Bay Area for a change.”
What is Credit Karma’s mission, and how will the increase of employees to the Charlotte area help propel it?
Credit Karma’s mission is to champion financial progress for all. We are a mission-driven company, which is why we all come to work every day: to help our more than 110 million members make financial progress. Credit Karma started 14 years ago offering free credit scores. We’ve expanded our product suite to include credit cards, mortgage, auto, tax. We’re able to recommend the best financial products for our members thanks to Lightbox and data modeling.
Now, we’re offering Credit Karma Money, which is a new money experience that’s already helping our American members make financial progress. We see Credit Karma Money as our biggest accelerator to date. It is an instrumental piece in bringing our mission to life, and we need top talent to help us get there. Much of the team working on Credit Karma Money is already based in Charlotte, and we look forward to building that team out further with these new roles.
As many people look to leave huge, traditional tech hubs, what can Credit Karma’s Charlotte office offer techies?
When we started in Charlotte over four years ago, we were just a few employees in a temporary office space. But we came with a vision to recreate that Bay Area startup workplace in Charlotte; to create an office to draw in new talent and offer current and prospective employees the ability to move to a region with a fantastic quality of life, great schools and universities, more affordable housing, and all the other things we love about the Carolinas.
What kind of projects await incoming talent at Credit Karma?
Our mission is not just something we talk about — everyone at the company really believes in helping our members. Credit Karma is the un-Silicon Valley company using technology to solve hard financial problems for more than 110 million members.
The Charlotte office is responsible for helping build some of the most important products for Credit Karma, including Credit Karma Money. Beyond that, Charlotte is home to some of Credit Karma’s key product and engineering teams, as well as members of the talent, marketing and member support teams.
What are your hopes for the Charlotte office in terms of ERGs, equity, and inclusive hiring practices?
At Credit Karma, we promote and implement policies that find, grow, support and retain diverse talent. Our goal is to create a sense of safety and belonging for all of our employees and potential employees. Our DEI team partners closely with our talent team to identify and implement DEI best practices for sourcing, interviewing and candidate selection. In addition to making sure we have a diverse talent pipeline, we’re implementing processes to help limit unconscious bias that may exist within the interview process.
Specifically, Credit Karma has introduced structured interviewing (SI) across all teams. SI reduces bias and increases diverse perspectives by standardizing interviews and the interview process for all candidates. Teams and hiring managers build an interview process workflow including focus areas, question banks, and hiring and leveling rubrics so that every candidate has a fair and equitable interview experience. Beyond that, we have implemented diversity interview prep, which includes unconscious bias training for hiring managers.
How salaries in Charlotte stack up
Once at the company, how does the culture support new talent in finding belonging?
We are focused on ensuring every “Karmanaut” feels supported and represented at every level of the business. We currently have 18 active employee resource groups (ERGs) that fall within the following categories: Shades of Karma, Women of Karma, Lives of Karma, Faiths of Karma and Parents of Karma. Together, these employee-led groups work to unite and support historically excluded and marginalized groups so that everyone’s voice can be heard.
In addition, we offer DEI workshops and classes throughout the year including unconscious bias training, individual training and development, outside speakers and events that celebrate the many different religions and cultures that represent our employee base. We are constantly listening, learning and making improvements along the way with how we can best support our diverse talent.
What kind of professional growth opportunities are there for those joining the Charlotte team?
In addition to working on some of Credit Karma’s most impactful products, each employee at Credit Karma is given an annual $5,000 personal development budget to spend on learning experiences to drive their professional growth. Professional growth is important at Credit Karma, and we encourage all of our employees to focus on the skills and projects that are most meaningful to them.
Now is the time to be a part of Credit Karma. Our business has significantly rebounded from the pandemic and we are on an upward trajectory we have not seen before at the company, with many of our verticals tracking triple-digit growth with no sign of slowing down. There is a buzz within the company that I have not experienced before.
We are investing in new products that will help further our mission of championing progress for all — and in the employees who build them.