Career Path: Chris Bechler, Recruiting Coordinator at TaxJar
What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Recruiting Coordinator at TaxJar?
We connected with Chris Bechler to find out!
Interested in working at TaxJar? Check out all of the company's job openings on the sidebar!
Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work?
I grew up in Birmingham, which is the second-largest city in England after London. My mother worked in admin for a company that imported and exported car parts, and my stepfather worked many years as an international salesperson, then eventually became a Baptist pastor.
Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?
I received my BA in Fine Art at the University of Derby in the UK. However, I didn’t attend college until I was in my late twenties. Instead, I worked every job you can imagine - factory work, a bakery, cleaning toilets, you name it!
What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?
A combination of things: Firstly, support from my family & friends, especially my wife. I spent most of my childhood living with just my mother, so money was tight and we typically lived in working-class areas. Life was tough, but my mother taught me how to navigate the world.
It was my wife who encouraged me to follow my dreams and to go to art college, and it was when I hung out with fellow artists that I really realized my potential (not necessarily as an artist, but just understanding how to take (constructive) criticism from people and then better myself).
My first “proper” job out of college was working for YAI, a large non-profit organization in NYC that provides services to individuals with Developmental Disabilities (4,500 employees at the time). Living abroad and working with people with disabilities really took me out of my comfort zone and helped me grow into the person I am today.
I worked for YAI for many years but eventually began to burn out due to the lack of resources and dwindling funding. I’d always had an interest in tech, and a friend of mine was the VP of People at Trello (a startup with around 65 employees at that time), and a Recruiting Coordinator position opened up there. I interviewed for the role and was accepted. I really enjoyed my role and my team, then about a year later we were acquired by Atlassian, a public company which, at the time, was 2,500 employees. I switched roles to Workplace Experience Manager for Trello’s remote employees, but eventually, there was no longer a need for my role as people settled into the Atlassian ecosystem. Looking back, I was never truly happy working for a large company and wanted to get back to a startup.
I initially found TaxJar on WeWorkRemotely, but the only role they had which I thought I might have had a chance at was in Customer Support. However, it wasn’t really what I wanted to do so I didn’t apply. Serendipitously (my mother’s favorite word!), I wished a colleague of mine who used to work at Trello a happy birthday via LinkedIn, and he responded saying thank you, and then asked if I’d heard of TaxJar! I decided to take a look at their jobs page that day and, amazingly, they were looking for a Recruiting Coordinator! I applied and, three interviews later, was offered a trial in April 2019. I’ve been with them full-time since May of this year. It is, by far, the happiest I’ve ever been at work.
What I’ve learned over the years is, you can work hard, have the “talent” and the skills to get things done but, unless other people support you and offer you opportunities, it can be difficult (maybe impossible) to get to where you want to be. I’m so thankful for all the amazing people that have been, and are, a part of my life; I’d literally not be where I am today without them.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Recruiting Coordinator at TaxJar?
I’d love to! As Recruiting Coordinator, it’s my primary job to ensure a smooth, enjoyable candidate experience. I review initial applications for all roles and set up phone screens with our recruiters for anyone who looks promising after the initial review. I also keep an eye on our ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to make sure interviews are happening in a timely fashion, and keep in constant contact with candidates as they move through our interview process. Additionally, I post all of our roles across multiple platforms, meet with my team and hiring managers regularly to keep on top of our hiring forecast and to brainstorm ways of improving our processes, and I work on various ad hoc projects.
Any tips for someone considering a career in Recruiting?
I think the most important thing is to be comfortable interacting with people, as my role involves a lot of communication with people from many different backgrounds, introverts and extroverts, technical people and non-technical people. Having said that, I’m actually quite a shy person, so my role pushes me out of my comfort zone which, in turn, helps me grow personally and professionally. So, it’s a great job if you want to help deal with any anxiety you may have.
It can be difficult to get your foot in the door at a startup, as they’re small companies with, typically, hundreds of interested job candidates. I was fortunate enough to know someone in a tech company to put a good word in for me so that I could snag that first interview, so if you don’t know anybody, I’d recommend making connections via LinkedIn, Slack channels, etc. to form relationships with people at tech startups.
Day in the Life
Coffee, tea, or nothing?
○ Coffee! Please don’t tell my fellow English people, but I think tea is disgusting!
What time do you get into the office?
○ As soon as I return from dropping off my daughter at school, so around 8:15am. I have no commute, as my office is in my house :)
What are three things that motivate you in your role?
○ Our values, which everyone at TaxJar truly lives and works by.
○ My amazing teammates!
○ I love my actual role, as I think an excellent candidate experience sets full-time TaxJar employees up for success, and the way you treat potential employees speaks volumes about a company and its values.
Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
I usually begin the day by catching up on Basecamp pings and emails. I then jump into our ATS to review applications and to correspond with candidates. Throughout the day I’ll be joining meetings or work on ad hoc projects as time allows. I usually update job postings weekly.
What time do you head out of the office?
I typically wind down between 4:30 pm & 5:00 pm.
Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?
I almost always shut it down completely, unless there’s something urgent that’s been happening, in which case I’ll keep an eye out for pings in Basecamp.
Any productivity hacks?
○ TaxJar is 100% remote, so having a dedicated office with no distractions is, IMO, essential.
○ Have a set schedule and make sure to take regular breaks, just as you would in a regular office. Contrary to popular belief, there’s a higher chance of burnout working remotely because the line between work and private life can become blurry.
○ Use apps or automate processes to make your life easier! My essential apps at work are Basecamp (our company-wide communication tool), Airtable (for tracking everything) and Zoom (virtual meetings are WAY better when you can see someone's face).
What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?
○ Work: Basecamp, Zoom, and Airtable.
○ Personal: Trello, Instagram and Guitar Tabs.
What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
There’s not really one thing I can think of. What I’m most proud of is having learned that, to accomplish anything game-changing, you really need to play as a team and not try to do everything yourself. It’s also extremely important to make that team as diverse as possible to obtain different perspectives on the problems you’re trying to solve for your company and your customers.
Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?
Anyone from my team - they’re all super-talented, hardworking, honest, and fun! Also, my awesome wife and a couple of good friends :)