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10 questions for Box CFO Dylan Smith

Nancy Weil | Dec. 20, 2011
I think some of the bigger challenges are really in trying to play the balance between hitting this quarter's numbers -- you really need to be thinking about the now in meeting the numbers -- but also investing in long-term growth.

4. What is a good day at work like for you?

My typical day, I try to keep the mornings pretty clear to really work on the projects such as budgeting, or building models or the stuff that I really like to do. So a good day is when I can carve out a couple of hours to work on those projects of mine. But also anytime I can be really helpful to our sales leaders and our marketing leaders, where I really dive into our data so they can say, 'Dylan, that's really helpful to us.' Whenever I can dig into and get useful information for the team is a great day.

5. How would you characterize your management style?

I'd say I'm a very hands-off manager. I tend to hire people I can trust who can do the job I'm asking them to do. I put a lot of trust in my team. I'm not one of those managers who likes to spend a lot of time micro-managing and holding peoples' hands along the way. [I tell them] 'here's what we're trying to do -- x,y and z' and then let them get there.

6. What strengths and qualities do you look for in job candidates?

The biggest thing is really the passion and it doesn't necessarily need to be about the job they're currently at but just in the course of conversation, talking about what projects they've done or even what hobbies they have. Because people can get really fired up. If I can do my job and get them fired up about Box, then they can be incredibly productive and successful. The other thing is the experience of working at a company with rapid growth. I look at someone's resume and see they've been through this sort of rapid growth [like Box has gone through] at companies I respect -- that is something we definitely look for.

7. What are some of your favorite interview questions or techniques to elicit information to determine whether a candidate will be successful at your company? What sort of answers send up red flags for you and make you think a job candidate wouldn't be a good fit?

There are two things that I really try to get through in an interview. One is how passionate they are and have they done their homework about Box and know what we're all about. And then related to qualities and strengths of the candidate, I ask them to anticipate the problems and the challenges in our growth, so in the next two or three years, where would they dive in, and then I have them walk me through a specific example of how they solved a real business problem that we're facing, giving them specific examples of what we're facing at Box to see have they really done that [kind of work] before and what would be their thought process.

 

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