Groupon Blogroll: The People Blog

There are many voices heard in the halls of Groupon HQ, and one internet butterfly net used to capture the stories of employees is our People Blog, a one stop spot for all-things Groupon culture:

 I’m Dustin Carper and I’m the Employment Brand Strategist for Groupon. I look at my role as the marketing and PR side of recruiting and what it’s like to work here. I’ve always been interested in social from a personal standpoint, and have been diving into the world of social recruiting and employment branding over the past few years. Blogging is a good way to show (vs. tell) people what it’s like to work at Groupon and also gives employees a way to do the same.

What’s featured on your blog? Why would people want to visit it? Anything about the office life and ‘corporate’ world of Groupon is featured on the People Blog, from out recent dodgeball tournament to pictures of people’s desks that have been pranked to a weekly check-in with our interns. Anyone thinking about joining the Groupon team and employees alike would want to visit to see what’s going on around here.

What’s been your favorite story you’ve covered? We just started an Engineer spotlight and I’ve been really impressed so far. Sometimes I forget that we’re a pretty big company and reading these is a good reminder that our technology team is really impressive. Who would have known that we have someone who used to design software for monkeys? Also, it seems as though a lot of our engineers have started companies of their own before joining Groupon, so that’s fun to learn about. Desk of the Week is pretty fun, too.

Give it a read and let us know what you think!

FYI: Groupon Recruiters DON’T Want Your Facebook Password

There have been more than a few articles floating around the interwebs about employers asking for interviewees’ social networking login information and password. This is not just a bad idea and unnecessary for us, but also could be a violation of privacy.

As good recruiters, we will occasionally view your public information on social networks to get a better idea of your interests and web savvy, but we would never ask to read personal messages or look at private photos. Be smart and keep private things private and make public those things that will give us insight into your performance on the job, or knowledge in your particular space. As I said, we will look at your social profiles, but more as a supplement to your personality than something to weed you out.

A blood sample, SSN, and ATM PIN number are just fine for us here at Groupon…

Thank you,


How to be Efficient and Successful at a Career Expo

With over 60 companies participating and thousands of candidates expected to come to our SXSW booth in a couple of days, I thought I’d jump in with a few tips to make the most of your time in Austin. Even if not in Austin, maybe these will help you in other career fairs.

  • Research companies and take a look at open jobs. It will be a much better use of your time if you can talk to recruiters about a specific opening that you saw or be able to show your knowledge of what’s going on with the company. At Groupon, we have a number of roles across all departments, so pick a few that you are interested in to see if they are the best fit for you.
  • Travel lightly. Companies, including Groupon, will always have some sort of swag to give out to participants. Visiting 60 booths will leave you with a lot of t-shirts, pens, and shot glasses at the end of the day. Save your big, bulky bag for the presentations and seminars but leave room to carry home all your sweet, sweet Groupon gear.
  • Leave the resume at home. You can bring a resume for us to look at, but we don’t really need you to leave a copy with us. This just creates more and more stuff to carry and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Instead, talk to a recruiter, apply on-line, and then mention that you met us in your cover letter. We have also added an extra source to our application saying that you found us at SXSW. If you want our information and don’t want to carry around a ton of business cards, create a contact in your phone or download a business card-reading app such as CardMunch.

Things you may or may not see at the Groupon table:

  • Free hair styling: #grouponstyles
  • A digital photo booth: #grouponphotobomb
  • Unnecessary winter apparel: #grouponfleece
  • Song circles: #grouponkumbaya
  • Free Tax Advice: #grouponEZ
  • #toomanyhashtags

Cover Letters? Yes, I Read Them

I’ve spoken to a few colleagues recently in recruiting, and there is some confusion about cover letters and whether or not corporate recruiters read them. Some people see it as a good way to showcase personality, writing skills, or knowledge of the company. Still others see it as bulky and a waste of time because recruiters aren’t going to read it anyway. I’m not sure who is correct, but I can give you some tips to increase your cover letter’s visibility. Keep in mind that the resume is still the first thing that we review, but a good cover letter can supplement your experience and personality. Some ideas to keep in mind:

  • Apply only to relevant roles. If you are qualified for a job, the recruiter will know and will want to look at a cover letter. Use this opportunity to highlight a few points from the job description that closely match your background.
  • Show some personality. You don’t have to fill your cover letter with jokes or witty sayings, but you should give us an insight into who you are not just what you can do. Don’t just list random things for the sake of being irreverent; rather connect a hobby or interest to a quality that would make you a good employee.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the company and  the role. Recruiters can spot a generic cover letter within a few seconds. Add a few sentences that show your knowledge of the company or ability to do the job. Bullet points are fine, and the more concise you can be the better.
  • Don’t worry about formatting. At Groupon, and other large companies, all your materials will be stored in our resume database, so don’t worry about fancy formatting or colors. Different recruiters work on different roles, and multiple people will have access to your resume. Don’t waste time trying to figure out a specific contact, because it really doesn’t matter to us. But if you do have a personal connection at the company, then let us know.

I hope this info will help you when applying to Groupon or any other company. Cover letters are a nice supplement to your experience and a good way to show your personality and enthusiasm for the role. Including a cover letter doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get an interview.  But it’s definitely not going to hurt you to take the extra time to tailor a cover letter for a specific company.

Dustin, Recruiting @GrouponJobs

Applying to the Right Position

Dustin, one of our recruiters, provides another installment of how to get hired at Groupon by letting you know how not to get hired at Groupon.

Avoid Applying to Multiple Jobs

True story. We’ve had a number of people apply for over 20 jobs at Groupon, and it’s kind of confusing for us, to be honest. We understand that you may not know exactly what you want to do right out of college or if you are exploring a new career path. We even understand that a lot of our job descriptions [*cough* Software Engineer] can sound very similar to one another. However, what we don’t understand is why you have applied to positions that aren’t related to each other.

Applying to a few different positions in the same field is fine (provided you are qualified for all of them), but it’s weird to see someone that is apparently qualified for Inside Sales, technical Project Manager, Accountant, Corporate Paralegal, and Internal Communications Manager. It’s very difficult for us to figure out what exactly someone wants to do in this scenario.

My suggestion here is to pick 1 or 2 jobs that you are most interested in and qualified for and apply for those. Then, if you get to the phone screen stage, you can speak to the recruiter about the other roles if necessary. A lot of us have our hands in many different areas and can speak on a high level about almost any job, so use that to your advantage..

We all work as a team here, and are constantly passing resumes for people that we may think are qualified for other roles. Trust us to be your ambassador and don’t jeopardize your chances before we even contact you.

Please feel free to comment and share your opinions. The idea of the article is to help applicants get noticed and to give you an idea of what Corporate Recruiters think when we see certain things. If you are qualified for a particular open job, it is our job to do what we can to help you through this process.

From Job Fair to Job Offer

Dustin from our recruiting department is back with another post about one employee’s journey to employment at Groupon. You can follow him on Twitter or check for updates @GrouponJobs.

“The way I received a full-time position at Groupon was not what many people would consider a conventional career-search process.”

These are the words of Eric Finnegan, one of Groupon’s newest account representatives. You see, our journey begins when Cheryl, from the Loyola School of Communication, approached me with an idea to give away a free interview to one lucky student attending the upcoming career fair. I immediately loved the idea and got approval to move forward with the drawing.

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Meet a Groupon Employee

Though Groupon culture is best witnessed in person, preferably via moving walkway or tramcar, we’ve asked a few of our eclectic, hard working employees to answer a few questions about what makes them tick.

Name: Lindsay Verstegen

Position: HR/Recruiter

Other Talents: I have a theatre company that I helped found over 4 years ago: The Plagiarists. I write and act for the company (and also take production photos here and there).

I finished performances of a semi-opera which ran over at The Building Stage. The Building Stage, for the record, is my favorite “storefront space” in Chicago. There was singing. There was dancing. It was really special.

I also take photos!

What’s a typical day like for you?

I come in around 8ish and check e-mail and voicemail and open up my notebook. Despite working for a dotcom, I cannot separate from paper. (note: My high school’s mascot was the “Papermaker” so maybe it’s a hometown pride thing, subconsciously.)
I have a to-do list that I craft the night before and see if there is anything that can be done right away. I go through days with an assortment of interviews, phone screens and general resume lookovers. I also try to find time to go on a walk–I think walking is important.

Which movie villain could you beat in a fight?

Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street. I would kill him with kindness.

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How Not to Get Hired at Groupon

Over the next few weeks, Dustin from our recruiting department will provide some helpful tips on how not to get hired at Groupon.

How Not to Get Hired at Groupon: Stalk Us. This may seem slightly obvious, but excessive social networking with recruiters can sometimes work against your chances of getting hired. We ask that everyone apply via our career site, but there are some additional steps you can take. While we very much appreciate someone doing some extra homework and finding us on a professional site such as LinkedIn, try to keep your search targeted and send your resume to the best person to help you.

Choose one person—preferably a recruiter—and explain your situation. Even though we are busy, we also are here to help you get a job. If your email isn’t sent to the right person, that person will most likely forward it on for you. You can mitigate this by doing your research beforehand. A simple search for “Groupon recruiter” brings up tech recruiters, Editorial recruiters, and corporate recruiters, so if you know what you’d like your focus to be, it’s best to reach out to the appropriate person. If you are not applying specifically to a tech or Editorial position, a corporate recruiter is the best person to help you.
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