Applying for a new job with an amazing company can be exciting and stressful at the same time. You want to show them that you’re the perfect employee and can bring a ton to the team—but it’s hard to know what they’re really looking for.

What if we told you that some companies explain exactly what they want in new hires?

Good news: They have. We chatted with these 12 employers to see what it takes to be a standout applicant. Oh, and they’re all hiring right now! See if one is a fit for you, then use this insider information to up your chances of landing the gig.


1. San Francisco Chronicle

As one of the oldest and most respected names in journalism, San Francisco Chronicle has transformed with the changing media landscape—and is looking for bold journalists who are excited to come on the journey.

Not only will you need to be ready to constantly innovate, you really need to have a passion for the city and its news. The company’s president Kristine Shine says it best: “Be incredibly bold, be aggressive. Email me. Email Audrey Cooper. Show us your work. Show us how you think differently. Show us how you’re passionate about this city. You’ve got to be passionate about this city to be working at the Chronicle or at SFGate. Just make it happen—if you want to get in these doors and be part of our transformation, then you should show us how bold you can be, and I’m certain that the opportunity will present itself.”

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2. ThoughtWorks

Founded in 1993, ThoughtWorks is a major global technology company (we’re talking over 30 offices in 12 countries) that provides revolutionary technology, consulting, and custom software to organizations that have ambitious missions—whether they are in the commercial, social, or government sector.

When hiring, ThoughtWorks looks for people who are passionate about their fields of expertise. With new challenges to solve all the time, however, perhaps more important is a ThoughtWorker’s ability and willingness to share and grow. ThoughtWorks really wants employees to constantly learn more. Whether they’re fledgling developers or experienced business analysts, everyone is encouraged to share their knowledge with both clients and other ThoughtWorkers.

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3. Bridgespan

At Bridgespan Group, team members consult with social sector leaders to help them scale the impact of their organizations, build their leadership, advance the effectiveness of their philanthropy, and accelerate their learning.

The company is always looking for world changers. With a lengthy list of social issues to take on, Bridgespan needs employees who offer fresh perspectives on complicated matters.

“I’m inspired by the people that I work with,” says Mandy Taft-Pearman, COO. “We’re all here because we care about making the world a better place.”

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4. Gap Inc.

Gap Inc. is a global fashion business with five well-loved brands—Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, and Intermix.

In every employee, Gap is obviously looking for enthusiasm for the brands. “Our brand ambassadors in our stores are stylish, engaging, sociable, and team oriented! Love Banana Republic? Live the brand you love!” explains Patti Merrigan, Talent Acquisition Field Director at Banana Republic.

Beyond that, Gap is really looking for a diverse workforce—in backgrounds, in opinions, and more—to keep its brand moving forward. “It’s very important to me to hire a team that is diverse in every aspect. It’s what makes the company complete,” shares Kimberly O’Connell, Senior Market Leader for the NYC Metro area.

And, of course, the company is looking for lots of amazing tech talent.

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5. Balsam Brands

Balsam Brands is an e-commerce retailer with roots in holiday and home décor. The company’s core products are stunningly realistic, handcrafted, artificial Christmas trees, but it also sells high-quality Christmas decorations—and is constantly looking for ways to make more types of celebrations more festive.

Balsam Brands admits that its culture and mission aren’t for everybody—and it wants to hire people who really understand the company and feel like it’s the place for them. A few traits that might suggest you’re a great fit, according to CEO Thomas Harman:

“Intellectual curiosity is really important; being someone who likes to think, but also who is creative. And if you were called a nerd at some point in your life, that’s probably a good sign! Lastly, we encourage people to be passionate. We want you to express your passion and bring it into the company, making it a part of who we are.”

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6. HBO

Launched in 1972, HBO has become a critically acclaimed innovator, ratings record-breaker, and multiple-Golden Globe winner in the cable television industry. You’ve probably heard of at least a few of its original movies, series, comedy, documentaries, family shows, and world-class sporting events.

With its product at the center of everything it does, HBO is definitely looking for employees who watch and love the content. Additionally, as SVP of Program Planning Operations and Analysis Nate Rackiewicz shares, “Someone who’s a good fit at HBO is someone who is very intelligent, very passionate, and a go getter. Someone who demonstrates diversity of skills and diversity of interests.”

Right now, the company is looking for talented applicants for its fall internship program—interns who very commonly get hired into full-time positions.

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7. Reebok

If you’ve never heard of Reebok, then you probably haven’t worked out, like, ever. This athletic footwear, apparel, and accessory company designs with every athlete in mind—professional, recreational, or enthusiast—and has become a top brand by always challenging convention. The company views fitness as a lifestyle and is set on finding employees who will help continue its mission of keeping exercise exciting.

“We need people who bring strong competencies and a winning attitude,” says Kristin Patrick, who works in Reebok’s talent acquisition group. “We look for people who have grit. Grit is an attitude about seeking, striving, finding, and never yielding. We need perseverance and the adaptability to change in our constantly evolving and innovating environment. We also look for people who have a connection to fitness because we live and breathe our fitness culture.”

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8. GlobalGiving

GlobalGiving supports local changemakers around the world. The company’s mission—to catalyze a market for information, ideas, and money—has shaped grassroots philanthropy and international development, and as a result the company has helped raise more than $170 million from 430,000+ donors for 2,000+ projects in 160+ countries, giving help and hope where they’re needed most.

GlobalGiving needs people who are interested in solving serious world problems and looking to make a real impact. “We’re looking for every member of our team to pose new ideas, bring fresh perspectives, and help us take steps forward,” explains Alexis Nadin, a program manager. “GlobalGiving is an environment filled with go-getters, so we’re looking for individuals who like to challenge the status quo and are eager to experiment.” And a sense of humor doesn’t hurt, either.

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9. Ditto

Ditto is a software startup that has invented an innovative new way for users to try on eyeglasses virtually—without the stress of a visit to the eyewear store. The company is continually growing and building new features, and it recently launched a new subscription-based eyewear rental program for fashion-forward customers—the first of its kind.

Ditto’s people share a passion for building new and better products. The company’s engineers are constantly learning and sharing ideas—and they’re encouraged to pitch new product hypotheses and to come up with different ways to collaborate on current projects. If you’re thinking of joining the team, make sure to be prepared to contribute to the culture of research, data-backed decisions, and prototype-building.

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10. myWebRoom

myWebRoom is a social platform, allowing users to express and organize everything they’re passionate about in a beautiful way. myWebRoom helps users design dream rooms online, bookmark favorite sites, discover cool products, socialize with friends, and share awesome finds in a visual and creative way—basically Pinterest meets bookmarking on steroids.

During the interview process, interviewers should be able to walk away with a clear idea of what candidates love and why they want to become a myWebRoom roommate. “For people considering myWebRoom as a new home, we look for people who have clearly done some research before they come in—check out what the product is, what we’re about, where we’ve come from. Be curious. We want people that are going to be curious and not content just to take a kind of ‘here’s a task go off and do it,’ but maybe question it, question the value of doing a certain task, maybe offer suggestions, and just be part of a team,” explains CTO David Britton.

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11. Okta

Okta is an integrated identity management and mobility management service that securely and simply connects people to their applications from any device, anywhere, at anytime. Built from the ground up in the cloud, Okta enables companies to manage their applications and user access with ease—and it does so with an unwavering commitment to customer success.

“The company is looking to add more members to its already stellar work force, and is setting the bar high for potential candidates,” explains Simon Thorpe, Senior Technical Marketing Manager. “To join this team, applicants must be high-energy, smart, efficient workers who aren’t afraid to speak their mind. One quality the company values above all else? Applicants who make their thoughts and opinions heard.”

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12. Tile

When it comes to finding misplaced things, Tile leads a successful search party. With Tile’s highly capable tracking app, users can attach durable Tile tagging devices to their items that matter most—from wallets to laptops to keys—then locate possessions quickly and effectively if missing. With Tile, all is not lost.

“We are looking for people who can lose themselves in finding stuff: keys, turtles, ideas, and solutions. Our team is lean, talented, and driven, and if you are a budding and ambitious individual who wants to make a big impact on driving the Internet of Things movement, we want to chat with you," says Jackie Kong, Human Resources Generalist.

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Want to see how your company can be featured on a list like this? Email sales@themuse.com.