Companies Hiring, Executive Feature

Assessing for Awesome: Intuit’s Winning Approach to Hiring

Hiring the best is a top priority for every business, big or small. Getting talent in the door and engaging them for the long haul in order to produce exemplary results are two of the most important tasks for any company and every leader. So how can everyone be successful?

The short answer is that not everyone can win. Only a select few companies have what it takes to recruit the best talent and nurture them into a high-caliber workforce. Financial software leader Intuit is one of those select few.

Named one of the 2019 Best Places to Work in the U.S., Intuit insists, “Earning recognition from Glassdoor is an honor because it reflects how employees believe we treat them.” Rick Jensen, Senior Vice President, People & Places at Intuit, continues, “We believe employees come first [and] it’s validating to learn from employees, via Glassdoor data, that we’re meeting our goal of putting them first.”

On the eve of Intuit’s win, we caught up with Jensen to get the inside scoop on how Intuit uniquely hires, what roles they’re specifically looking to fill and what it takes for job seekers to succeed in the future of work.

Glassdoor: Congratulations on the win! What does it mean to have Intuit employees honor the company as a 2019 Best Place to Work?

Rick Jensen: Earning recognition from Glassdoor is an honor because it reflects how employees believe we treat them. At Intuit, we deliver True North outcomes for all stakeholders and that starts with employees. We believe employees come first. We solve for the best employee experience because we believe that enables us to deliver for customers and partners, which in turn enables us to deliver for our shareholders. It’s validating to learn from employees, via Glassdoor data, that we’re meeting our goal of putting them first.

Glassdoor: What are two or three steps your company has taken within the last year to double down on company culture, employee engagement and employee feedback that may have led to this win?

Rick Jensen: A year ago, we unveiled a new mission: Powering Prosperity Around the World and continue to double down on maximizing the potential of our people as we strive for this mission. We are focused on two particular initiatives that are really moving the needle on creating the best possible employee experience and company culture: creating a safe, ethical and inclusive work environment, and investing greatly in building manager capabilities. Employees have already begun to feel the effects of these initiatives. For example, we’ve increased how often we’re collecting employee feedback, and also adding a new “belonging” measurement score, which ensures we’re surfacing gaps in inclusivity across teams. We’ve also invested heavily in training for our people managers to ensure they are leading inclusively and building the best possible workforce to power prosperity around the world for our customers and communities.

Job seekers can get prepared for the future of work in fintech by improving their ability to work across teams with a ‘boundary-less’ mindset. —Rick Jensen

Glassdoor: Why should job seekers apply for an open role at Intuit? What are two to three benefits, practices or traditions that are unique to your company?

Rick Jensen: In the words of a recent reviewer on Glassdoor, “it’s the people.” Intuit has higher-than-industry-average engagement and belonging scores, and we truly believe it’s our people who make Intuit a best place to work. In fact, we have one of the highest internal mobility rates for employees in the industry; 28% of internal positions are filled by our own employees, who often want to learn and grow, but don’t want to leave the Intuit culture. To any job seekers who are considering applying for an open role at Intuit, I can assure you that you’ll work with some of the best and brightest people in your career.

There are two practices that I believe are unique to our company and its culture. First of all, we lean into being a customer-obsessed company. Every employee does “follow-me-homes” to — quite literally — observe our customers in action in order to truly understand and empathize with their pain points. This approach fuels innovation and began with our founder. We believe this truly sets us apart from the competition because every employee can feel and understand the depth of the problem they’re trying to solve. All full-time employees undergo an immersive and experiential onboarding program designed to explain Intuit’s history, culture, strategy, values and customers including hands-on training on Intuit’s “Design for Delight” (D4D) and Customer Driven Innovation methodologies.

Additionally, “We Care and Give Back” is more than our volunteer program at Intuit– it’s one of our values. Employees live and breathe this value and dedicate time and resources to give back in the communities we live and work in and beyond. Through volunteer time, skills-based volunteering and donation matching, Intuit employees prove they really care about the people we serve. In our fiscal year of 2018, Intuit employees logged 14,487 volunteer hours and donated $335,641 to non-profits. Recently we worked with Kiva, an online lending platform for underserved entrepreneurs, on an employee campaign and 50% of employees donated — far exceeding Kiva’s corporate campaign averages.

Glassdoor: What insights can you share about the interview process at Intuit? What types of questions do you ask?

Rick Jensen: In order to assess candidates fairly and without bias, we created a program called “Assessing for Awesome (A4A).” Candidates are given the opportunity to do a task or strategize in a similar way they would on the job, and then present to a small team that assesses for their ability to think creatively and strategically. This often allows our team to catch a glimpse of the candidate’s soft and hard skills.

More specifically, our A4A process includes four key elements, including:

  • Assessors, who come from diverse backgrounds and departments in order to ensure we avoid groupthink.
  • Key skills and values, where we go deep to ensure the candidate is a fit for the individual team and organization as a whole.
  • Craft demo, where candidates have an opportunity to demonstrate their skills, whether through coding, sharing a portfolio or presentation, or running through a case study.
  • Immediate decisions, which ensure feedback and closure for candidates.

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Glassdoor: How do you screen candidates to ensure that they will be engaged and thrive within your culture?

Rick Jensen: When we’re assessing candidates, we’re never hiring for “cultural fit.” Instead, we look for culture catalysts — individuals who help shape and amplify our culture, and live our company values. We want to know if job prospects have already exemplified our company values — which include integrity, “we care and give back” and others.

Glassdoor: How are you using Glassdoor to attract the types of candidates you’re looking for?

Rick Jensen: In the spirit of transparency, we want employees to have all the information they need to know what life at Intuit looks like. When employees share their experiences via Glassdoor, it gives us the opportunity to continually improve the Intuit employee experience and attract talent who are looking to work at a company like ours.

Glassdoor: Personally, what keeps you at Intuit for the long haul? What advice would you give to companies focused on retention?

Rick Jensen: There are two attributes of Intuit that keep me committed for the long haul: our mission and our culture.

Our mission, powering prosperity around the world, is inspiring because we know the work we do and the products we build are helping millions of consumers, small businesses and self-employed. That is a cause worth getting out of bed for every day.

Since I joined Intuit, the company has gone through many transformations, but the one thing that has not changed is the focus on the “people.”  We have our four stakeholders: our employees, our customers, our partners who serve our customers, and shareholders. We must deliver for all four short and long, but we openly say we are “people first.”  Nothing is possible without employees who are inspired and engaged. You feel that every day and it is not easy to put words against it. I feel “cared for” and that means a lot to me and I believe many others here feel the same way. I’ve always felt that at Intuit, and it has always been more than just about the work. For me, that is special.

For companies focused on retention, here’s my advice: never lose sight that in the end, we are in the people business. Really understand what is most important — then be obsessed with it. Then work to create an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work every day and do the best work of their lives.

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Glassdoor: Besides celebrating your 2019 Best Places to Work win, what’s next for Intuit?

Rick Jensen: If you haven’t heard, we have a new CEO, Sasan Goodarzi, taking the reins on January 1st. We’re excited to see what’s in store for the future under Sasan’s leadership while still maintaining all of the great cultural attributes that make Intuit special.

Glassdoor: Looking ahead to 2019, what Fintech trends do you see on the horizon? How can job seekers get prepared for the future of work in your industry?

Rick Jensen: I’m seeing a few key trends continue and emerge as we look ahead to the new year, including:

  1. The importance of being data-led. As a team, we’re leveraging our data to field new ideas and innovation and inform decisions. We will be doing much more of this in 2019 and beyond.
  2. Customer obsession. Fortunately, Intuit was customer-obsessed before it was popular. But we’re continuing to hire for and teach, capabilities that fall in love with the customer problem – not the solution. We want and need all of our employees to really fall in love with the problem in order to best solve it.
  3. Mission-based teams. Across Intuit, we’re seeing a growing number of cross-functional and cross-company teams coming together with a commonly shared outcome that will deliver huge impact for the business. Diversity of thought,  background, and craft will help us move the needle on solving problems for our customers quickly.

Job seekers can get prepared for the future of work in Fintech, and at Intuit specifically, by improving their ability to work across teams with a ‘boundary-less’mindset. As companies continue to move to platforms with more interdependencies across the entire organization, top talent needs the ability to work seamlessly across the organization.

 

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