Challenges in Recruiting Top Talent to Drive the Transportation Industry Forward

Originally published on Parking Today’s November 2018 Issue.


Primary Hiring Challenges in Today’s Fast-Paced Market 

As a tech startup based in booming Charlotte, North Carolina, Passport, the mobile-first transportation solutions provider, is no stranger to the hiring challenges of today’s market. Charlotte is growing rapidly and is home to numerous tech startups and large financial institutions, all positioned as options worth considering to those in the market for a new role.

Given the competitive market, the pace of recruiting is fast. The demand for talent is greater than the available supply in multiple industries, and about 86% of recruiters feel the market is largely candidate-driven. Top candidates are also getting hired at a rapid pace— in less than 10 days. If a company’s recruitment process is too long, a competitor could hire your chosen candidate; it’s a cutthroat environment.

Millennials are making up a greater portion of the workforce as well—an estimated 35%. Companies in any industry need to demonstrate that they understand what millennials value, including making a positive contribution to society, a sense of purpose, tech-savviness and a competitive salary.

Further, brand image is a major factor— whether via, press, word of mouth or on social media. Today, a lack of brand awareness or simply having a weak social media presence can deter candidates from applying to a company at all. Here at Passport, for instance, we believe in letting our clients have the option to brand themselves with our white label applications.

To attract top talent to Passport, we start with creating an excellent company culture.

Such an option is important for our clients, but it makes brand recognition a challenge when it comes to recruiting new employees, since they may not know us as the force powering the transportation apps in their city. So we must use our website, social media channels, and hiring networks to drive awareness of Passport as an innovative company and a great place to work.


Attracting Top Talent

To attract top talent to Passport, we start with creating an excellent company culture. Our company principles guide how we work with each other on a daily basis; they include: “People first,” “Be an Owner,” “Be Quick, but Don’t Hurry,” “Know What You Don’t Know,” and “Think Simple and Scale.” We’re also passionate about team bonding, company events and building relationships among the team.  Additionally, Passport feels strongly about offering a full package of employee benefits and supporting working parents, and that’s something not a lot of startups can do.

Also, the tech industry brings the unique opportunity for innovation and technological progressiveness. Passport applies innovation to the development of our own products, but we also keep up-to-date with the technologies we use to create them. For instance, we use Kotlin, a programming language released in 2016. Bigger employers typically take longer to adopt new technology, which isn’t attractive to programmers, developers or engineers. Additionally, Passport provides employees with the opportunity to wear a lot of different hats, take on diverse responsibilities and learn different ways of doing things, versus being siloed into a segmented role at a bigger company.

Silicon Valley may be the stereotypical headquarters for tech startups, but that’s changing. Charlotte is an up-and-coming tech hub, and we’re focused on evangelizing that message within the community and beyond to attract great people. 


Hiring for the Future of Transportation

Our hiring team is always on the lookout for service-driven, creative problem solvers, and we employ traditional and non-traditional methods to ensure we find and keep them.

Historically, the transportation and tech industries haven’t necessarily represented the communities they serve.  With this in mind, Passport has and continues to be focused on differentiation by building diverse teams.  “Communities that we serve are very diverse. We want to make sure that our team is bringing diverse ideas and experiences to the table when they partner with our clients to solve the problems of the people in their communities,” said Kate Haffey, our VP of People Operations at Passport.

Passport partners with local groups focused on tech and diversity to establish a presence among the community and keep up-to-date with the best methods for encouraging a diverse workplace and attracting candidates in the market.


The Hiring Process

We’re committed to identifying candidates with less traditional backgrounds; we believe that job candidates who may be less obvious to competitors can contribute the greatest value with creative problem-solving skills. We recruit individuals from the banking industry, non-profits, the military, startups, and many other industries, and in many cases emphasize individual performance and potential over experience. When it comes to engineering, for example, we offer those without formal education experience a full-stack coding challenge as a way to demonstrate skills and potential.

During the interview process, we include individuals from multiple teams to provide exposure to many different roles, personalities and backgrounds that new teammates would encounter, in addition to allowing multiple people to provide input into our hiring process.

Successful candidates stand out first by demonstrating familiarity with our company principles. We love hearing that people are familiar with our approach, and we appreciate excitement for the transportation industry. Engaging with candidates who bring authenticity in their answers to our questions is always a noteworthy experience in the hiring process, as well.

It’s a competitive hiring market out there, but the team at Passport is committed to hiring a diverse group of service-driven, creative problem-solvers to solve the challenges the transportation industry faces today and tomorrow.


Written by Teryn Roberts, Talent Specialist at Passport.