Meet Andrew D’Agostino, Product Manager

 

Andrew works to create, market, and support products to make customers’ lives easier. He manages a product roadmap and helps to provide direction and positioning to technology, marketing, and sales.

Where did you grow up?
Smithtown, NY

Married? Children? Pets?
I’m single and travel too much to have pets right now, although I would love to have a Malamute one day.

What led to your current position?
As an undergraduate, I was always interested in psychology. I was working in two psychology research labs: Social Psychology and I/O Psych. I found that I/O Psych was a real-world application of psychology to solve problems that people face every day on the job. I thought to myself, “You mean, I can help people without having to be a clinical or counseling psychologist? Awesome!”

I attended graduate school for I/O Psych, learned of an internship at Chequed (now called OutMatch), and did that for about two years during school. I was then offered a full-time job with Chequed in in 2009. The rest is history.

Who or what has influenced your career the most?
Kevin Williams. He was one my professors at the University of Albany and is also the Chief Science Officer at Chequed. He helped me to get my internship at Chequed and even my job after graduate school. And whenever I have questions about data, client studies, or the direction of our science–he’s the go-to. John Tobison, COO of Chequed (now OutMatch), has also been a recent influence in my career. He brings tremendous business experience to the table every day that has been critical for growth.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?
I enjoy the complexity of the role. I like the problem solving that is needed on a day-to-day basis, and I enjoy developing strategies to solve market problems. Nothing is simple. I like it that way. What I sometimes find difficult is carving out the time to get it all done, while remaining clearly focused.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?
Keeping an open mind, composure, and having a keen understanding of the big picture. It’s important to not get lost in the details.

What are some of your most significant career accomplishments?
I have to say it’s been more of a holistic experience as opposed to specific accomplishments. I’ve been able to grow with Chequed (now OutMatch). When I first started, there were about six employees, and now there are 76. I’ve been with them since near their inception and, as a result, was given the ability to interact and engage with some large enterprise marquis customers. That’s been very empowering. And hey, what guy in his early 20s would say no to a tour of ESPN headquarters? It’s all part of the job.

Tell me about an interesting problem you’ve faced in your role. How did you deal with it?
One of the biggest problems that I’ve faced is time-management. There is all of this great stuff that I want to get done, but not enough time. That, coupled with trying to maintain a semblance of work/life balance has been a challenge more than once. It took a while, but understanding the value of prioritizing what’s important and learning how to say no to things that are not strategic has been powerful.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?
There are a few. First, there’s a greater need for integration. HR professionals don’t have the want or time to interact with multiple systems when it comes to recruitment and retention. We need to make it easier. The flow of information needs to improve throughout the hiring process, into training, employee development, and performance management. We need to link the pieces together to make it more of a seamless experience. Once this happens, the best hires will be getting through and HR departments will realize the value of this new-found efficiency in their selection process. In the end, this will lead to more resources for HR–something that’s always needed.

Secondly, there needs to be a greater emphasis on the candidates and employees. Their experience is slowly becoming the focal point for how HR technology is designing solutions. We need to do more than just create an easy system for talent selection to use. It needs to improve the experience for all end-users.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?
The market owns the problems. We own the solutions. You cannot tell the market what its problems are. The market also cannot tell you what the best solutions are. It is at meeting of these two when great products are made that solve problems beyond anyone’s expectations. Listen. Ask questions. Dig deep.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?
Fortunately and unfortunately, my iPhone. It allows me to work while I’m on the go.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?
I’m a voracious reader. Outside of work, I read about one to two hours a day. Right now, I’m on a classics binge. I also enjoy playing guitar, writing, yoga, cooking and going to the gym.

What’s something no one knows about you?
I want to be a writer full-time. I write some short stories now, but eventually want it to be my one focus. I plan to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing in the future and accomplish this.

Favorite TV show?
I don’t have cable, but I do stream. I would have to say Game of Thrones.

If you could order anything for lunch at your desk, what would it be?
A Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings! Then I’d take a nap.

What’s the best place you have ever been on vacation? Do you have a dream vacation destination?
Montauk Point, NY. I grew up going there. One day, I’d like to go to South America and Japan. I enjoy vacations where I can immerse myself in the culture.