Katerina Schneider's resume is impressive. She holds a degree in applied mathematics and economics from Brown University, started her career in investment banking with Lehman Brothers, led global digital innovation at Universal Music Group, and managed an active portfolio of over 70 investments at Troy Carter's investment fund, including Dropbox, Warby Parker, Spotify, Uber and Lyft.
But if there's one thing Schneider has learned while building her team as founder and CEO of Ritual, it's that a resume isn't the best way to determine a good hire.
In fact, she doesn't think a resume is necessary at all to get hired at her wellness company. "I learned early on that I was hiring based on resume," Schneider tells CNBC Make It. "I think that's a mistake a lot of first-time founders often make. I'd say, 'Oh, this person has an MBA and Ph.D. and works for this big company — that's awesome! They're probably great.' And I got burned a couple of times doing that."
These days, educational background and previous experience aren't what catch Schneider's eye in a potential hire. Instead, she looks for people who match the company values she established along with her team when they reached 50 employees.
"I realized that some of the best people we've hired embody the same values as the early people in the company," Schneider says. Those core values include principles like embracing the no's, getting gritty and making an impact.
Ritual was named one of LinkedIn's top start-ups of the year, due to high interest among job seekers on the search platform, as well as the company's ability to attract talent from other major companies.
These days, the applicant pool for the start-up's open roles is "almost out of control." Schneider attributes growing interest in the company to Ritual's creative and visual marketing, which has helped build an engaged audience of both consumers and job applicants.
While applying for an open position online is one way to go, Schneider says a personal referral is the best way to get her recruiting team's attention. It's how some hires have gotten their foot in the door even if they had no relevant experience — or any work history at all.
"I think referral is always the best way to get someone's attention," Schneider says. "It definitely gives you a leg up, because maybe you don't have the right background for a role, but we'll talk to you anyway." In these cases, Schneider and her hiring team are looking for a candidate who can speak to what they'd bring to the table beyond what they might've done at a previous job.
Schneider points to Ritual's knack for personal branding as a reason why job candidates feel they can stop by the company's Los Angeles office in person to drop off application materials. The company, which now has upwards of 70 employees, maintains the same mission, product road map and core values from day one.
"I don't want us to ever lose that," Schneider says.
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