We are thrilled to spotlight Sue Choe. Sue’s background is fascinating, with stints in management consulting, corporate strategy and investment banking all leading her to hire, grow, develop and manage teams through her leadership roles in the human resource space. Sue is formerly from McKinsey and also built out the intern and campus recruitment processes at Venmo. She is currently the VP of People at 1stdibs, and has a lot to share about the current changes happening in the startup industry, and why you and your students should always be thinking two steps ahead.
In speaking with Sue, what struck me most is the systematic, data-driven way she thinks about human resources. She pushes her organizations to build hiring practices based on historical trends and benchmarked data. To combat unconscious bias at Venmo, she created robust training and blind candidate review processes built off best practices throughout the industry. She is ahead of the curve on the datafication of HR, and a true thought leader on the future of recruitment.
In building Venmo’s intern program, she learned that the most important criteria for successful interns is real-time, actionable feedback. She pushed for robust intern manager training on SMART feedback, and it resulted in the highest rated intern program to date, with both Braintree and PayPal (Venmo’s parent companies) learning from her success. As mentors, coaches and counselors to your students, I know it is important to get the inside scoop on how your employers make decisions. Hopefully, you can take these insights and weave them into your conversations.
Read more about Sue’s background, her most impactful hires and advice for young job seekers below.
Education Background: Princeton, Harvard Business School
Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you land in your current role?
I learned about the importance of people while at McKinsey (where they have a strong people development focus). Since then, I have been rounding out my HR knowledge and taking on bigger initiatives and challenges.
Have you made any really special or impactful hires? Or is there a person you feel like you really influenced during your career? We’d love to hear that story!
Yes, I’ve made many. A few to note: I hired the Head of Engineering and various engineering managers that helped shape the culture and vision at Venmo. At 1stdibs, we’re in the process of hiring both a technical recruiter and a GM for a new business line, both of which will be instrumental in shaping the way forward.
Editor’s note: On the surface these hires may seem far removed from the jobs your students are recruiting for, but they’re actually fundamental to building the robust hiring programs essential for student hires and their longer term success. It is crucial to find senior leaders who believe in the importance of student talent, and who are willing to invest in their orientation, training and development. These qualities were must haves for Sue, and were clearly reflected in the important hires she made.
What changes have you seen in the industry, or what trends do you predict in the coming months?
VC funding drying up will lead startups to refocus on costs and generating revenue quicker than they probably want to. There will be a serious impact on people in terms of comps and perks.
Editor’s note: While this may curb some new startup growth, it is ultimately a good indicator of which companies are in it for the long haul, and which are most stable for your students. While companies think about costs cutting and staying lean, new student hires can expect even more responsibility very early in their careers. This is great for learning and longer term career growth!
What is your favorite piece of advice to give job seekers?
What will this job do for the next job you take? Always be thinking 2 steps ahead. You are more likely to see the positives and the opportunities in the role in front of you as a result.
Here’s a question we love to ask everyone who visits the WayUp office – what was your favorite job in college?
Working as a campus shuttle driver!