C-suite career advice: Chris DeRamus, Rapid7

What are the three skills or abilities you look for in prospective candidates?  "A prospective candidate must have a deep passion for technology."

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Lastly, I appreciate when a prospective candidate has a diverse, unorthodox background that showcases that they are not afraid of taking risks in their career.

What would put you off a candidate? A candidate needs to exhibit honesty and humility. If they do not know the answer to a question, they should not respond with a lie but instead be honest in regards to their skillset and openly acknowledge that they don’t have the answer. A candidate should admit when they are unable to speak to a certain topic and commit to taking the time to research the topic and present their findings and corresponding answer with confidence.

Furthermore, a candidate should showcase loyalty, and have long-term career positions instead of many short-term positions in their past. Loyalty is a two-way investment between employer and employee and is crucial to establishing trust between the two.

What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? How can those mistakes be avoided? One common mistake is showing up to an interview without properly preparing. A candidate should have background knowledge of the company and be equipped with questions that prove an understanding of the business’ mission, products, current initiatives, and culture. An interviewee should truly believe in the mission and vision of the company and understand what the company stands for.

Additionally, prospects should proactively express what they are bringing to the table. The interview is a two-way discussion, and a prospective employee should clearly state what sets them apart from all other candidates and why their skillset is uniquely positioned to fit the open role.

Do you think it is better to have technical or business skills – or a mix of both? It is best to have a well-rounded and broad skill set of both technology and business. One should not focus on the short-stick of their job and the status quo skills that are required. For example, a technologist without any business skills will not be able to move up to an advanced role such as CTO because executive roles require knowledge of the world of business as well as how technology aligns to make a company successful.

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