Below is my newest recruiting contribution on our Groupon Blog, about a somewhat non-traditional and unconventional candidate journey to fulltime employment here. Feel free to comment and to add your own stories about "outside-the-box" (cliche alert!) hiring!
From Job Fair to Job Offer
“The way I received a full-time position at Groupon was not what many people would consider a conventional career-search process.”
These are the words of Eric Finnegan, one of Groupon’s newest account representatives. You see, our journey begins when Cheryl, from the Loyola School of Communication, approached me with an idea to give away a "free" interview to one lucky student attending the upcoming career fair. I immediately loved the idea and got approval to move forward with the drawing.
As it turns out, Groupon was the only employer willing to offer a "free" interview at the fair and the resumé that was drawn was Eric’s. I introduced myself to Eric and we exchanged emails and immediately began tweeting and emailing each other.
“To be honest, I went into the fair not necessarily considering Groupon as my top choice of companies, but did not leave them out of my mind as a possibility because of their rapid growth.”
With the launch of Groupon Now and communication that we could support up to 300 additional account reps, I put into motion the interview process and called Eric for a phone interview. The phone interview went great, and Eric seemed to have a good grasp of Groupon and was very articulate and quick with his responses (hint for anyone interviewing). We then set up a face-to-face meeting so I could show Eric around Groupon and give him the opportunity to meet with additional sales management.
“Right away I noticed the culture of the company was much different than what I was used to seeing from other companies. People were dressed casual but look comfortable while working. There were drawings of cartoon characters on white boards around the offices but people were working hard nonetheless.”
At the end of the interview, I told Eric to really think about Groupon and the culture and figure out for himself if this was going to be the right decision for him. At Groupon, we believe it is important for candidates to vet us just as we do with them. Eric seemed excited—though a bit overwhelmed—and I told him to follow up with me in a few days to share our thoughts.
“I left the interview, excited to and encouraged to have interviewed. After briefly reviewing other offers I contacted Dustin, informing him of my interest to join the team.”
After reviewing with the other hiring managers, we all agreed that although Eric didn’t have a lot of sales experience, he was a good candidate because of his enthusiasm for the product, understanding of the business model, and overall personality and disposition. I sent him the official offer letter and he contacted me a few days later with some questions.
“One reservation I had was that some specifics in the offer were not laid out in detailed writing as much as I would have liked. After discussing this with Dustin we spoke in greater depth regarding the specifics of the job. I came to the understanding that since Groupon is a young start-up company certain kinks need to be straightened out like any company, old or new.”
Eric had questions about the commission structure and how much money he could make and wanted this to be included in the offer letter. Although the commission structure was laid out for him in detail, sales is truly a role where you get out of the job what you put in. Because of this and because Eric was offered a job working on the newly launched Groupon Now, I couldn’t really give him specific numbers and we didn’t have any data on other account reps.
After a few days, Eric got back to me and let me know that he had officially accepted the job and would be starting May 23, less than two weeks after his graduation from college.
“I chose to pursue a career at Groupon [because] the culture of the company was inviting but also hardworking, and the chance to work for a young, rapidly growing company like Groupon does not come along very often. Sales is an area I can use my communications skills but will also keep me on my toes and challenge me every day.”
Though Eric’s journey is not typical of a Groupon candidate, the process was still the same. Especially in this case, we felt it was very important for Eric to decide if this was the right fit for him. Even though we are hiring hundreds of people a month here, we do our best to make sure we don’t hire quickly and without necessary consideration.
“The opportunity to work for an upbeat and determined company is something that will keep me motivated every day.”
The free Gatorade doesn’t hurt, either …