Marieke Flament is a respected technology leader and is currently heading up the European expansion of leading social payments app Circle. Here she provides insight into what she looks for when recruiting for this fiercely competitive industry.

People are the life and blood of any organisation and this is particularly true when talking about a FinTech startup. Having an analytical mind and entrepreneurial spirit are pretty much a given for any candidate even wishing to get to the interview stage.

But when recruiting we look for a lot more than just possessing the right skill sets. In a small startup it’s essential the candidate is the right cultural fit. Whilst candidates may look the part on paper, how will they fit into the existing team? Are candidates passionate about the problem you want to solve? Do they share the company’s values and character traits?

I’m often asked what we look for in candidates during the interview process and would say the following are all essential:


At Circle we are not just a social payment app, we are on a revolution to make money work the way the internet does so that the world can be a better place for our customers. That’s a big and ambitious vision -and we want people who understand and share our vision. In an interview, I test this by asking people why they want to work for Circle and assess what they think of the app.


In a startup the highs are high and the lows are low – we need resilient people, people who can learn from mistakes (and it’s ok to make mistakes!) and bounce back. In our industry you cannot afford to stand still and wait for things to happen because you are too afraid of making a mistake.


We need people with a “go-get-it” attitude – there is no job too low for anyone to do! From setting up your own computer, to picking up the phone for someone else and to making the coffees. In a small team everyone needs to pull together irrespective of their title.


Working in such a multifaceted industry such as FinTech it is vital a candidate demonstrates a willingness to step outside their comfort zone and learn about other areas i.e. marketing, regulation, risk. We are looking for well-rounded, multi-skilled people, avid to learn new skills as our industry is continuously evolving and requires you to keep learning.

Creative but practical

What we do has never been done before, and therefore there is no manual or ‘How to Guide’ we can refer to. Therefore, we need people to not only be creative to find new ways of doing things, but also practical. If someone is creative but not practical then nothing will get done – and we need to get stuff done. Be “creatively practical!”

FinTech as an industry employing over 61,000 people and generates billions of pounds of revenue for the UK’s economy. The possibilities for this industry are endless and competition to work in it is fierce. As for most jobs, having the right grades and qualifications is not enough. You need to possess traits which cannot be taught and are innate, and share the passion of the company you want to join. If you have all the above then you are well on your way!