Manhattan-based Rent the Runway has grown from two Harvard Business School grads pitching their idea to fashion legend Diane Von Furstenberg to about 1,800 employees worldwide, the majority of whom are women or people of color. And about 80 percent of their leaders are women too. It’s no wonder they scored a spot on the NAFE Top 70 Companies for Executive Women list in 2020.
Also this year, the New York side of the business will be moving to new office space in Brooklyn, the borough CEO Jennifer Hyman and much of the staff call home. Plus, the company is continuing to expand. Yes, they need fashion buyers, but they need data, engineering, logistics, customer service, and brand and marketing pros too. Want to work for a billion-dollar women-founded, women-led company? Here’s what Jenn thinks you should—and shouldn’t—do to get hired at the ever-evolving Rent the Runway.
Don’t copy Jenn.
“People know I called Diane Von Furstenberg and they realize, ‘Wait, maybe I could call Jenn.’ I often respond to emails and meet with women and people of color, but I have only so many hours in the day, and most of those hours have to be consumed by doing my job and being a mom.”
Research all the employees who have influence.
“It’s not me who’s going to get you the job at Rent the Runway, especially if you’re applying to a position that doesn’t report to me. It is a director, a VP or a manager on the team. Find someone on LinkedIn who’s been here for a good length of time.”
Build a connection with that person—when you’re not looking to get hired.
“Getting a job is based on relationships and building a network. Find authentic mentors and friendships with various people. Check in with them, because they are going to be the ones who tap you and say, ‘Hey, there’s this cool new job open at Rent the Runway, and you’d be perfect for it.’ It’s difficult to distinguish yourself on a piece of paper, no matter who you are.”
In short, spend more time cultivating friendships with current long-term Rent the Runway employees and less time cold-applying to jobs listed online in order to get hired.