Job of the Week: Capital One Labs looking innovator to lead product team

Capital One Labs, a division of McLean-based Capital One Financial, is trying to reimagine the way people interact with money. The group is looking for a head of product to spearhead the creation of innovative offerings for the company’s millions of customers.

James Patterson, the head of Labs, jokes that the first item on this person’s to-do list should be to win the weekly office cornhole tournament. And after that, he expects he or she will get down to the business of transforming the financial services industry.

Describe the type of candidate that you’re looking for.

First and foremost, the person has to have deep expertise in delivering disruptive online consumer products. We look for people we call a “T-shaped talent,” where they’re very deep in one thing. And in this case, they’re very deep in the craft of product management and online consumer products. Also, with the T, they’re very broad, they have a breadth of experience and knowledge across many disciplines. And generally, we want people who are incredibly curious about the world around them, so that they can connect the dots between disparate disciplines and industries and bring those ideas into financial services.

What’s the best part of this job?

Financial services is core to all of our lives as consumers. We have 60 million customers, and our products matter and people use them multiple times per day. Within the Labs, we have the opportunity to basically get all the benefits of a start-up, but also a guaranteed paycheck at the end of the week. As you bring good ideas to market, those ideas are going to impact the lives of 60 million people.

Is it hard to find job candidates who have both tech know-now and familiarity with banking?

Sometimes you find it all in one person, but I think the key is to build a team with a mixture, so that you have a lot of subject matter expertise of financial services, but you also draw upon all of the great experience of people from great consumer businesses outside of the financial services industry. The goal is, you’re not always going to have the universal product person that has all of it, but you’re trying to build a well-balanced team and a very diverse team.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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