The following is more specific to getting hired at Twitter than the universally applicable career advice you’ll find in my SLN interview version.
This is an interview with Justin Vandenberg, Twitter’s Canadian Account Executive. Interview time was 47 minutes. The transcription was close to 5,000 words. Some soundbites just didn’t make it into the SLN interview, so here are the outtakes.
You’re an Account Executive at Twitter. What does that mean you do?
That means dealing with Bell, Telus, Rogers, Samsung, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Apple, and The Weather Network. So if you’re Rogers, and you’re trying to get new wireless subscribers, how can Twitter (we) help? How can we take the data that we have and sell that back to Rogers? We collect a large amount of data, that’s what makes everything tick around here. I’m part of that revenue organization.
What was the interview process like?
First I was contacted by an international HR person (because Twitter is headquartered in the US), who screened me to get a sense of whether I am right for the position, and whether what I wrote on my resume is in fact true.
Then in-person interviews started. I had a screening call first with another account executive; it was a thirty minute conversation on the phone. Then I had three in-person interviews, and the managing director at that time for Canada, who was my last interview, offered me the position.
I was asked broad questions like “talk to me about hashtags.” I was asked sales-based questions, about how I define my style or how I work with teams. Every interview was different. With some people it was just a conversation, others I was asked about my previous jobs and situational questions. Questions like, “what is the hardest negotiation you’ve had?”
What does Twitter look for in a candidate?
If I’m interviewing somebody, there are a couple things I look for. Number one is culture fit. I spend more time here than I do at home with my wife, so it’s important I get along with the individuals I work with. That’s huge. It could mean things like personality, work ethic, collaboration. On the other side, I look for the person to be somebody I can trust. Somebody that has been put in the same experiences, or different ones, that I can learn from. Twitter is not just looking for people that have worked at other social networks, or just at news outlets. The people around me are the single best resource I have.
What would you tell your twenty year old self?
So many things distract us on our mobile devices or televisions or computers, and sometimes it’s really hard to think about something you’re really passionate about and take the time to learn it. That could be anything from your personal development, or career development, or even personal finances. If I want to know something or I don’t understand something, I can go and learn it. There are a million resources around us to invest in ourselves, whether that’s the internet or individuals we know. There is always somebody you can reach out to, to ask questions and seek out answers. It’s the only way you’re going to learn. You have to put in the time.
And also, make mistakes! I’m not the best sales guy Twitter has ever seen, but I’m really passionate about this brand and our partners and the clients I work with. I think what’s made me successful is I’ve always been really passionate.
There you have it folks, another interview down. If you haven’t read the SLN version, I recommend that you do because you’ll get a fuller picture of what Justin’s advice on success is. Thanks again to everyone involved in this, it’s been a blast.
Have a little more time? Read this: Medella Health CEO Harry Gandhi on Not Taking Advice on Face Value