What New College Grads Should Know About Landing a Tech Gig, According to an Exec Who Is Hiring

It's a balancing act of humility and hunger, says Looker exec

The interview process can be tricky, but Lloyd Tabb of Looker has tips.
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Lloyd Tabb is founder, chairman and CTO at Looker, a software company that gathers data from multiple marketing systems and consolidates it so that the stats can be used to search for trends and insights. He’s also searching for the next big thing—when it comes to talented techies, that is.

Tabb is hiring and looking for college grads who can give Looker an edge to help his company grow. So we asked him to give advice to recent alums on how to get a cool gig with a digital player.

Adweek: How many college grads does Looker hire typically, post-May, every year?
Tabb (pictured below): Looker is on a high-growth trajectory—almost doubling our staff size each year—so no year is typical. Over the last year, we hired five 2016 grads, but we hired a dozen interns.

What does your company look for in a recent college grad?

It really depends on the position, but generally we screen for people who are very smart, nice, hungry and humble. We like people who are intellectually athletic and confident in their abilities, but not arrogant. Also, we like people who have had a history of helping others. These types of people fit well into the culture we have at Looker.

Is it OK for an applicant to say in an interview that he or she wants to launch a startup?
Absolutely. Some of the best people we’ve hired have said that they eventually want to do a startup. It shows a hunger for innovation and success.

How can an interviewee impress you?
We love “makers.” We love people that have had a deep passion to learn something difficult and to build stuff. Want to get hired? Show me a demo of an app you’ve built or the complex sweater you knitted after learning how by watching YouTube videos. Makers and builders demonstrate the next level of passion.

What shouldn’t he or she do in the interview?
If you haven’t done your research … there is no reason to think that you really want to be here. You should have a pretty good idea of what we do, how we do it and why it is important.

Can it be a problem to convince talented college grads that working at a b-to-b company is cool compared to a consumer-facing organization?
Data has become an incredibly valuable currency, and we’re one of the best places in the world to learn about data in a very deep way. So, we have never had a problem finding great people. We have vibrant, inclusive culture of mentorship and lifelong learning. We’re located in Santa Cruz, Calif., which is a beautiful setting. We may not have the glam and glitz of some consumer-facing companies. However, because people who can really understand data are turning into tech rock stars we are attracting some truly amazing talent.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.