Q&A: Chase CIO offers top interview tips for tech job seekers

Showing intellectual curiosity about technology and industry trends can help you stand out among job candidates.

A man and woman sit on opposite sides of an office desk, in discussion.
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The tech sector has been hit particularly hard by the Great Resignation, leaving organizations facing a dearth of qualified job candidates for more than a million job openings.

At the same time, CIOs and CFOs have started to slow the rate at which they’re creating new IT jobs and hiring due to inflation and recession fears, according to a recent report from job research firm Janco Associates.

Nevertheless, US tech firms added workers for the 22nd consecutive month, and companies in a range of industries hired an estimated 84,000 new tech workers in September, according to the latest Tech Jobs Report from CompTIA.

The pandemic-induced Great Resignation, however, has led to another work-related phenomenon — skills-based hiring; companies are focused less on diplomas and more on real-world experience-based knowledge and expertise.

Even with a surplus of tech jobs out there, interviewing for a new company or new position within your existing organization can be nerve-wracking, both for workers entering the industry and for technologists who have worked in the industry for years. Honing your interviewing techniques will give you an edge the next time you’re sitting in front of a hiring manager.

gill haus headshot preferred 3669 Chase

Chase CIO Gill Haus

Gill Haus is the CIO for Consumer & Community Banking (CCB) at Chase, one of the world’s oldest financial services firms. The bank currently has hundreds of technology position openings.

Haus offered Computerworld his interviewing technique tips for technologists. The following are Haus's responses to Computerworld's questions:

What’s best piece of interviewing advice you have for technologists seeking a role at Chase — what stands out to you? “We look to hire technologists with software engineering experience. That said, you don’t need to have a traditional computer science degree to get a job in software engineering at Chase. We value many different skill sets, including determination, resiliency, and adaptability. We are actively recruiting for candidates with diverse skillsets.”

What are the top three to five interview tips you can offer a job seeker? “I believe it's critical for all applicants to educate themselves about the state of the digital banking sector, current trends, and future outlook. It's always fantastic when candidates show an enthusiasm for the developments we're working on in the digital and mobile banking space and share new ideas of their own. Everyone interacts with money, and many of these interactions happen digitally, so it’s a great time to be in banking.

“However, experience in this sector is not a must. Actually, we’ve benefitted from recruiting individuals from a wide range of industries and backgrounds. This helps us better collaborate and innovate as a team.”

How has the pandemic changed where Chase seeks its talent? Do you care less about finding talent that can work in person? “Since the pandemic began, we have gained a lot of knowledge about remote work, including how to onboard new employees. Today, our technology team uses a hybrid model where technologists split their time between remote and in-office work. Hybrid work is the best of both worlds because it allows for flexibility, and in-office days are fundamental to build team culture, whiteboard together, brainstorm, and build relationships.”

How does the percentage of remote interviews you perform today compare with before the pandemic? “Videoconferences have become more popular during the pandemic. The widespread adoption of this technology has made it easier for us and for candidates to schedule time for interviews. We have also continued to conduct in-person interviews.”

Are there any suggestions you have for managers and perspective employees in terms of preparation and conducting a remote interview versus face-to-face? “Be present and engaged. Do your homework before speaking to an interviewer or a candidate. Most importantly, be yourself. This is much of an opportunity for a candidate to get to know you better as a leader as it is for you to get to know a candidate.”

What is more important to you, the skills an employee can list on a resume, or the degrees and other education? “It’s less about what you know compared to how open you are to learning new things and growing as a technologist. We look for candidates that have the aptitude and attitude to learn and collaborate with their peers. 

“However, there are some traits that can help a technologist stand out. Hard skills [such as] financial literacy: Take the time to learn the core fundamentals of finance and learn industry terms; this will serve as a valuable foundation as you start your career.

“[Another hard skill is] AI/ML knowledge. Learn how this applies to finance and explore the use cases. By no means do you need to be an expert, but ensure you can speak to this at a high level and be open to growth and training opportunities.

“Soft skills: Intellectual curiosity about technology trends and what is happening in the industry is very important. But it is also about curiosity when it comes to how your friends and family use technology and interact with it. What is missing? What can make their lives easier?”

In what ways have Chase’s job qualifications changed for tech roles, especially in light of the Great Resignation? Are college degrees no longer required for more positions today? “With the pace of technology moving faster than ever, we continue to build out our technology recruitment pipelines. We welcome early career tech talent from a wide variety of backgrounds — traditional universities, coding boot camps and workforce development programs — and we provide development and training programs to fill any technical skill gaps.

“Our Tech Connect program is a great example of how we’re reaching talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Upon completing the rigorous, full-time training program, participants transition to our Software Engineer Program, and then can expand their career by moving into software engineering roles. In addition to technical skills, the program offers workshops, alumni panels, peer mentorship, and a guest speaker series to further professional development and emphasize community.”

What boot camps or certifications stand out among job candidates? “Candidates who come in with experience and skills in data science/analytics, AI, etc. are a plus, but we also offer learning opportunities for those who do not.”

What are the hottest tech jobs at Chase or the ones you need filled the most? “We have hundreds of open roles across the country, so our teams are actively reviewing candidates’ job applications to help meet the talent needs of the firm.”

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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