December 3, 2015

We Know Startups: AdRoll

We Know Startups: AdRoll

Working at a startup is unlike anything else. In our line of work, we come in contact with a lot of fresh, new companies with exciting goals. To give job seekers better insight into what it’s like working at a startup, we decided to showcase some of our favourites.

I spoke with Leni Rokosova, International Recruiter at AdRoll, about passion, giving back, and ‘having a bit of craic’.

What does AdRoll do?

Leni: “Very simply, we convert online window shoppers into customers. AdRoll is a performance marketing platform that specialises in helping companies of every size leverage their customer data to execute digital display campaigns with high returns on investment. We are the most widely used retargeting platform.”

Leni (left) with Lysann, Head of Supply, at AdRoll's summer party
Leni (left) with Lysann, Head of Supply EMEA, at AdRoll's summer party

What makes AdRoll a unique place to work? And why should candidates apply?

Leni: “Primarily, it's our people and our culture. We invest heavily in both, ensuring that Rollers, our employees, have every opportunity to succeed here. Other startups may shout about having a fast-paced and high-impact environment for their staff but, at AdRoll, we’ve also been deeply and consistently committed to supporting our people—and maintaining our culture—ever since our founding in 2007.”

Leni tells me that AdRoll has grown into a major success, with offices on three continents supporting 20,000 customers in 150 different countries, yet the company still has that startup feeling. “People are encouraged to be proactive about providing solutions to unforeseen challenges. When you’re scaling fast, it’s important to empower everyone to problem-solve in real time and to be able put these solutions into practice,” says Leni, explaining AdRoll’s ethic.

She emphasises that AdRoll is a great place to grow professionally: “Typically, the scope of one’s role here will be broader than it is in most other work environments, so there is a huge opportunity for people to gain new skills and experiences - and to own their career path.

”You won’t walk this path alone, either. “We make sure you’re ready for success,” says Leni. “Depending on the role, you spend the first three months absorbing the culture and understanding the business. And it doesn’t end there. Again, based on the role, we offer significant training programs, and these are very sophisticated for an organisation of our size.”

Leni tells me that the company is proud of its openness and transparency. She explains that the founders and leaders at AdRoll are extremely accessible, always taking time to interact with Rollers at all levels and to gather feedback from all areas of the business.

If that all sounds a bit dry, don’t worry - “We work hard and play hard!”Leni explains, “There are lots of social events organised and attended by the AdRoll team. We have a diverse group in Dublin, so there’s always something happening. Weekly events include ‘VinoRoll’ wine tasting, pub quizzes, family days, and lots more. There’s also the ‘Golden Potato’, a peer-nominated award given to a Roller who has gone above and beyond to help their colleagues that week.”

AdRoll is also a great place for music lovers: the company offers an extra day off in the summer to go to Longitude Festival, a music event in Ireland that attracts the likes of Hozier, Alt-J, and the Chemical Brothers.“This is all,” Leni says with a wink, “with a view to ‘having the craic’, as the Irish say.” The ‘craic’ is an Irish word that means fun and entertainment, especially in good company.

Playing pool in AdRoll's Dublin office
Playing pool in AdRoll's Dublin office

Speaking of being in good company, another huge perk at AdRoll is the ambassador program. “We’ve grown so fast that there have been plenty of opportunities for people to take on new challenges in different offices around the world. This exchange program helps us continue to grow while maintaining our culture.”

Charity-minded startuppers can get their fix through the AdRoll Gives Back program. Leni explains: “This may sound like any corporate social responsibility program, but it’s not - it’s a big part of who we are. Our CEO, Aaron Bell, has been known to say that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’, so this is a genuine endeavour at AdRoll. It’s important that we take time out of our working weeks to support local and personal charities.”

How is recruiting for a startup different from recruiting for other companies?

Leni: “The difference is passion. We’re looking for people with enthusiasm, confidence, and individuality. We want you to show us that you can do the job, but we also want to see how you’ll bring your particular energy and brand of creativity to everything you do. Candidates being authentically themselves is very important to how - and whom - we hire.”

What’s the one characteristic you think is most vital to have when working in a startup environment?

Leni: “Being proactive; you shouldn’t wait for others to tell you what to do. Instead, take the initiative and dive straight in. Be a problem-solver - and execute! This is vital.”She also highlights that people can have a greater impact at a startup than at a larger, more established company. “We’re not that many, but every one of us contributes far more byseeing the bigger picture and going that extra mile.”

I asked Leni to tell us more about the AdRoll application process and to share how Taledo has helped that. She tells me that the hiring process at AdRoll is smooth and efficient: A successful applicant will usually go through three to five rounds of telephone and on-site interviews, depending on the role. “It’s super-important to us that our candidates have a positive interview experience, so we strive to be very communicative and responsive throughout.”

“Attracting the talent is not always easy,” she admits, “especially in markets where we don’t have a local presence. However, Taledo has made the initial connection stage much easier. Now we get a lot of attention from qualified candidates.”

AdRoll at dmexco in Cologne
AdRoll at dmexco in Cologne

Why is Dublin the place to be, both on a personal level and for AdRoll?

Leni: “The weather! No, seriously, Ireland is a small country with a big heart. That may sound cliché, but there’s proof: Dublin consistently ends up among the friendliest cities in the world. It’s all about the ‘craic’. Professionally, Dublin gives people early in their careers an opportunity to gain experience in international ad-tech organisations, and it’s probably second only to California’s Silicon Valley.”

Leni thinks that Dublin’s small size gives it an advantage, since you can skip public transport and instead hop on a bike or simply walk. She says you can definitely feel a buzz in the streets and that the majority of the AdRoll Dublin employees take advantage of these healthy options.

From a business perspective, the city is great because it’s full of different-sized tech companies. “Dublin is attracting talent from all around the world,” Leni says. “In the end, when it came to choosing a city for our new office, having access to a variety of wonderful professionals made Dublin an easy choice. Come join us!”

If you liked this peek inside AdRoll, watch out for other articles in our We Know Startups series.If you are a startup and are interested in being featured in our We Know Startups series, drop us a line on [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.

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