Life At Kareo: Show Your Authentic Self, Build Cool Software

When COVID-19 struck, Stefanie Stewart and the team at medical SaaS company Kareo adjusted quickly.

“In my first call with a candidate shortly after shelter in place was mandated, I could hear birds chirping loudly so I asked if he was outside,” the technical recruiter shared. He said, “No, but I did just get six baby chicks. It was a great icebreaker.”

In the months since then, she’s shared her newfound love of puzzles with candidates and heard what they too have been up to in this unusual time (most notably, one candidate flagged pickling as a new pursuit). The pandemic has given the team a way to connect differently, perhaps more authentically, with candidates because - like everyone - they’re all in it together.

Like all companies, Kareo has had to do some quick thinking to reshape technical interviews for a COVID-19 era. Here’s what to know if you go for a job with this compelling medical software startup.

Being human matters

“We have tools like CoderPad that assure us of technical acumen,” said Stewart. “But what we’re equally interested in are those human factors of how you build relationships and connect with people.”

Stewart said a good video interview is generally a positive sign. “If we can build a relationship with you virtually, that’s a really good signal,” she noted. Candidates should feel welcome to give a sense of who they really are as people - and not feel awkward about the inevitable pet or kid noises in the background.

“We don’t think that stuff prevents you from being an amazing hire,” Stewart continued.

Brace yourself for one extra interview

Stewart said that like most companies, Kareo has had to adjust to a remote interviewing process. In this case, they’ve augmented their normal flow with one extra step at the end.

“We do an extra hour at the end of the interview with a cross-functional subset of our team,” she said. “This is really a candidate’s opportunity to ask different team members questions and get some perspective outside the role they want.”

She noted that it is not meant to be a gotcha. “I’d typically do this in person onsite after giving them a tour to help them relax and see our culture firsthand,” said Stewart. “Now I ask them to join early so I can answer questions and help them get warmed up.”

Thoughtful to the next level

“We’ve always been thoughtful,” remarked Stewart. “If we bring someone in, it’s because we want to be confident it will also be a good fit for them too.” She encouraged candidates to ask what they want to know about Kareo, whether it’s culture, the work, the challenges, or personalities, noting the tough questions are good.

Stewart pointed out they’re building on that foundation of thoughtfulness by taking extra time to ensure a truly mutual fit using carefully adapted interview questions and diligent reference checking. “We’re going to invest even more time in people because they are now working remote,” she observed. “We need to make sure they’re really comfortable doing so and we’re figuring out ways to do that in this world.”

For example, she noted, new hires normally turn to the person next to them on how to do basic things like signing onto a program or asking what’s available for lunch nearby. Now they’re identifying folks who will be a new hire’s go-to person for basic - but important - questions.

Be comfortable with communication

What happens if you make it past the hiring hurdles?

Kareo lends itself well to people who enjoy connection, communication, and transparency – and they use a variety of tools to make it happen and look for people’s participation. Perhaps most importantly, Stewart said, Kareo’s leadership has committed to holding a weekly townhall for its employees.

“Our CEO, Dan Rodrigues, goes over company updates in detail so people are completely up to date on what we’re learning and what we’re seeing in the market, with our customers, with the product, you name it,” she said. “The last 10 minutes are always reserved for questions and people feel free to ask what’s on their minds, which is cool.”

She added that other tools help fill in where needed to knit the team together in a now-virtual world.

“Slack has been great for quick, casual collaboration,” said Stewart. “People love how you can call someone and highlight things on their computer as you’re working.”

They’re also looking for ways to mimic the natural ebb and flow of the office, including standing lunch and learns, to get creative juices flowing as well. Virtual coffees help team members who might only have run into each other in the office kitchen keep up with each other’s lives.

Stewart said that although there’s been a shift in how they conduct hiring, they’re still focused on growth. “At the end of the day, we’re not going to slow down the number of people we talk to if the need is there,” she said. “So, candidates, don’t give up – connect with us!”

If you’re interested in joining Kareo’s team, check out their Careers page here.