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Local tech CEO says these three traits will get you hired

Sue Thaden

Sue Thaden is the founder and CEO of CRI Solutions, and in that role, has been a leader and innovator on the Silicon Prairie for nearly 20 years.

She recently talked to Silicon Prairie News about one of her company’s latest successes: Startup From Now On, and its mobile app that is taking the college and high school sports worlds by storm.

We took the opportunity to ask her about her extensive career of recruiting, hiring and growing tech talent. Below is an edited transcript of the advice she has for job seekers, and those looking to advance in their tech careers.

Thaden began the conversation by saying the ideal team player she looks for has three characteristics:


“A humble person is the kind who is not always trying to take credit. A humble person says ‘What are we going to do to make this better? Thanks, everyone, for contributing.’ They say, ‘It wasn’t me, it as a team effort.’

“A humble characteristic on a technical team is critical to get everyone’s voice at the table, to get all the creativity on the table, to get everyone contributing. When you have the humble folks in the room, people are anxious and confident to contribute because someone is not zapping away their credibility, or shrinking their contribution. ‘Humble’ is huge.”


‘Smart’ means smart in a self-awareness, EQ kind of way. They have a presence in how they show up in a room. When they are interfacing with a business analyst, are they drilling them, beating them up? Or are they recognizing the best way to interface with this person, to get the best requirements, to get the best timeline to maximize our products, features, design, whatever it might be?

“So, smart people know how they are impacting a conversation, they know how they are impacting a team, and it just raises the spirits and abilities of everybody.”


‘Hungry’ is, are they growing, are they looking for solutions, are they not settling, are they reading something at night, are they challenging themselves? It’s that person that is moving and moving. Whatever role you’re in, if you are hungry and moving things forward, it motivates everybody to be like, ‘I’m showing up big, too.’”

Thaden says showing those traits is critical.

“Because when we interview a developer or a designer or whoever, and they show up hungry, coachable, and like they could be a great contributor on the team––and then the next person we interview is cocky, or not coachable, but has superior tech knowledge––we are hiring Person A, every day of the week. Because the superior tech knowledge person who is not coachable, is not a team player, is going to erode or limit your ability to make amazing products and apps.”

Thaden’s advice to anyone trying to break into the tech realm is that tech careers are expanding rapidly, so keep an open mind about opportunities.

“We have a fantastic person on our team who has shown so much hunger, so much commitment, amazing attitude––he came in on whatever we could bring him in on and now he’s got a ton of opportunity. I think you have to take that low-level job and prove yourself, and I think that hasn’t changed in a hundred years, unfortunately, but I still believe it applies.

“People promote the people they want to take to battle with them. They’re like, ‘I counted on that one all the time, I like that person in the room when we’re meeting, when there’s a heavy deadline, that’s the person.’ Those people get advanced. So I think take what you can find, get moving!”

For more information: CRI | From Now On | Sue Thaden