When it comes to hiring a people or talent acquisition leader for your startup, many of your candidates will have seen every trick in the book. As they interview and onboard, they are simultaneously convincing the existing team that they are right for the job while also assessing the recruitment process that they hope to soon take charge of. 

The nine companies discussed below all recently brought on one or more new team members to lead their people and talent functions. As these leaders settled into their new roles, we caught up to learn what it was about their new companies that made them say “yes” to the final offer, and what their plans are for the year ahead. 


Andii Lee, Director of Talent Acquisition at Komodo Health

andii lee komodo health
Komodo Health

The company: Komodo Health analyzes healthcare information pertaining to certain diseases across huge data sets, delivering insights that life sciences companies, insurers, healthcare providers and others use to inform their work. The company recently announced a $44 million Series D along with its acquisition of life sciences and healthcare platform Mavens. 

 

As a talent acquisition professional, you’ve probably seen every move in the book. What part of your company’s interviewing and hiring processes stood out to you?

“Komodo Health has such a diverse and engaging team. The process that we followed for my candidacy really let that shine and allowed me to truly connect with each of my interviewers. The biggest selling point for me in any opportunity is the team — these are the people you’ll be working alongside through all of the highs and lows.”

 

“It’s a powerful story I can’t wait to tell.”

 

What are your team’s goals heading into 2021?

“We are scaling every part of our company. My biggest goal in 2021 is sharing with candidates our incredible mission — to reduce the burden of disease — and connect that to their future career with the company. It’s a powerful story I can’t wait to tell.”

 

Greg Spaulding
VP of Talent

The company: Boston-based Fairmarkit is overhauling the enterprise procurement process, plugging into legacy procurement software services to automate the process and allowing users to simply input the goods or services they need. Fairmarkit then assesses vendors, places bids, gathers pricing information and can even automate the final decision, if users so desire. 

 

What part of your company’s interviewing and hiring processes stood out to you?

“From my first conversation with Fairmarkit’s COO Tarek Alaruri through my final conversation with CEO Kevin Frechette, it was clear that Fairmarkit understands the importance of a healthy people and talent function and the positive impact the team can have on a company’s upward trajectory. Another thing I look for as a people and talent leader is a strong culture and passion. Throughout the interview process, the team at Fairmarkit conveyed a deep passion and excitement for the work and emphasized the importance of culture and inclusivity.”

 

“My goal this year is to build the foundation of a world-class talent function.”

 

What are your team’s goals heading into 2021?

“My goal this year is to build the foundation of a world-class talent function that is scalable and flexible enough to support the company’s needs as it progresses from stage to stage. This year, we will focus on staffing the internal talent and acquisition team, building structured and equitable interview processes, and developing a modern diversity, equity and inclusion program that ensures we’re engaging as close to 100 percent of the available talent pool as possible.”

 

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Alexa Lane
Senior Recruiter of Go-To-Market

The company: Pendo’s product cloud offers user insight, guidance and communication for digital product teams. Between 2014 and 2019 the company amassed more than $200 million in funding, and it currently employs more than 450 people. 

 

What part of your company’s interviewing and hiring processes stood out to you?

The CEO of Pendo, Todd Olson, interviews every candidate as a final step. This was unique from any other hiring process I’ve seen and speaks to the importance of Todd weighing in on any new hire being the right cultural and team fit.”

 

“Our company will be nearly doubling in size in 2021.”

 

What are your team’s goals heading into 2021?

“We have more than 100 open roles right now, and our company will be nearly doubling in size in 2021. Pendo is in a very exciting spot from a growth perspective, and I’m so excited to be a part of it.”

 

Rohan Vaidya
Head of People and Talent

The company: Ramp offers corporate credit cards based on a cash-back program and tech-driven analysis designed to help businesses spend less. The New York startup publicly launched just under a year ago with $25 million in funding and announced a further $30 million in December. 

 

What part of your company’s interviewing and hiring processes stood out to you?

“Interviewing at Ramp was an exceptional experience for me. What really stood out was the level of thoughtfulness, curiosity, transparency and honesty in how the leadership team approached each conversation. I could tell everyone was really digging deep to understand how we could partner and solve complex problems together for the long term. It was also the most challenging and thought-provoking interview I’d done throughout my job search, which made me even more excited to be part of the leadership team here.”

 

“Our business has grown more than 60-fold in 2020.”

 

What are your team’s goals heading into 2021?

“As we head into 2021, we’re entering a phase of rapid growth. Our team recently raised an exciting round of funding, our business has grown more than 60-fold in 2020 and we’ll be pushing hard on growth again this year. The team is currently at 70 people and set to scale up significantly with a continued focus on engineering and product. There’s an entrepreneurial spirit to our culture, and nearly one in three Ramp employees has previously founded their own company. Our ultimate goal is to build one of the most successful technology companies to come out of New York in recent years.”

 

 

Cassie Inosencio
Talent Acquisition Manager

The company: Spring Health provides what it calls “precision mental health care,” using a questionnaire to screen users for conditions like PTSD, depression and anxiety. The technology — which helped Spring Health raise $76 million in funding last November — then pairs users with a mental health professional to provide remote guidance and answer questions. 

 

What part of your company’s interviewing and hiring processes stood out to you?

“Spring Health is the fastest-growing mental health solution for employers today. Through my interview process, it became clear that hiring is a priority here. Interviews moved as quickly as I asked, at lightning speed. Moreover, every person I spoke with at Spring Health was super transparent about the challenges ahead of me and what was to be expected of me should I join. Their candor went far with me.”

 

“Spring Health is expected to double in size by the end of the year.”

 

What are your team’s goals heading into 2021?

“We know mental health is at the forefront of employers’ minds, now more than ever. Spring Health is expected to double in size by the end of the year to meet this demand. That means we have to design and assemble recruitment processes as a new team, build our brand and hire exceptional talent like hell.”

 

Natalie Rast
Director of People Operations

The company: Stensul’s signature product helps marketers craft email campaigns, with a ton of drag-and-drop capabilities and customizable modules and templates. The New York-based startup raised $16 million in Series B funding last November, and Rast said her team is focused on aligning with their peers in the company’s Buenos Aires office to build a unified employee experience in 2021. 

 

What part of your company’s interviewing and hiring processes stood out to you?

“The part of this process that stood out the most was how stensul approaches references. Instead of just requesting references of my choice, stensul identified specific individuals that came up in my interview process as being key to my development. I appreciated this because it avoids the candidate cherry-picking references that they have a close relationship with, and instead gives us a fuller picture of someone’s background and career history.”

 

We’re really focused on identifying new ways to align with our people ops team in Buenos Aires and create a unified employee experience.”

 

What are your team’s goals heading into 2021?

“I feel really lucky to be our first official people leader in the U.S. and to be joining such an incredible team. As we head into 2021, we’re really focused on identifying new ways to align with our people ops team in Buenos Aires and create a unified employee experience, building upon our existing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, finding ways to more deeply embed our mission, vision and values into everything we do, and above all creating an environment that fosters team growth and development.”

 

Danielle Poonoosamy, Director of People and Culture, and Brigid Wixted, Talent Acquisition Manager at Alma Health

alma health Director of People and Culture
Alma Health

The company: Alma’s online directory and matching support help users find online or in-person mental health services. The tool offers a range of filters to help users prioritize what they want in a provider, while Alma Health also offers a back-end portal to help healthcare providers grow their practices.

 

What part of your company’s interviewing and hiring processes stood out to you?

Poonoosamy: “Honestly, the process was great in terms of speed and communication. I was surprised how fast they moved for a small team. What really stood out to me were the conversations with leadership. They were engaged, genuine and smart, and you could feel their intention. Each of them wanted to be at Alma Health and believed in the mission. It’s rare to see that so honestly and unanimously in an interview process.”

 

brigid wixted alma health
Alma Health

What are your team’s goals heading into 2021?

Wixted: “Our hiring goals are aggressive and exciting. We are poised for some serious growth across all departments. Everything from our tech team to sales ops are high priorities. We’re aiming to build a structured and equitable interviewing process to continue scaling our team.”

 

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Kristina Karcic, Head of People at Axoni

axoni
Axoni

The company: Financial institutions and capital markets service providers use Axoni for distributed ledger technology, workflow automation and data privacy services, along with other core infrastructure, app development and automation tools. The company has gathered investments from the likes of Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs. 

 

What part of your company’s interviewing and hiring processes stood out to you?

“What I appreciated the most, as I was passively interviewing, is that Axoni allowed us to take our time in the interview process. I got an opportunity to meet with the executives and people I would work closely with. The process truly provided time for me to organically feel this was the place for me. In addition, we also did a working session in which we discussed challenges and how we would solve for them. Both parts of the process were critical in making the right change.”

 

“At any startup, you want to do it all and do it now, but to do it well you need to be strategic and lay out a realistic framework for achieving your goals.”

 

What are your team’s goals heading into 2021? 

“Going into 2021, I am hyper-focused on building a strategy and roadmap. At any startup, you want to do it all and do it now, but to do it well you need to be strategic and lay out a realistic framework for achieving your goals. I can share that we are working on leveling and career mapping that will tie into our performance management process. This is a top focus that will also help us shape our compensation philosophy, which we all know is critical to scale in a growth organization when the focus is attracting and retaining your industry’s best.”

 

Maria Dunn, VP of People at obê Fitness

maria dunn obe
obé

The company: Obê instructors provide remote fitness classes across a range of categories, including dance, sculpt, yoga and barre. The classes are then grouped into multi-day programs centered on different themes for users looking to feel the burn or a post-workout endorphin hit. Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, the company offers a tracking tool to help users follow their own progress. 

 

What part of your company’s interviewing and hiring processes stood out to you?

“Getting the chance to visit the office in Dumbo, New York, (which is also where we shoot our live and on-demand fitness classes) was so cool. As I stepped off the elevator I could immediately hear the music pumping and start to feel the energy. Truly a unique environment that I wanted to be a part of right away.”

 

“While some other companies have been negatively affected by COVID, our business has skyrocketed.”

 

What are your team’s goals heading into 2021? 

“We’re entering an exciting year of growth on all fronts. While some other companies have been negatively affected by COVID, our business has skyrocketed. We have plans to double the current team, with a concentration on marketing and tech. My team will also be focusing on creating and building a world-class employee experience, for which we already have a great foundation.”

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