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Talent Sourcing Trends

A NY Times Head Engineer On His Steps To Not Only Hire, But Retain More Women

At PowerToFly our mission is simple: connect companies with women in tech so they can diversify their teams faster. Hiring well balanced teams is hard, despite numerous studies showing how diverse companies perform better. That’s why we focus on connecting with hiring managers who are trying to make a difference. By showcasing their goals, practices and the environments they’ve created, we want to shed light on the initiatives hiring managers like Brian Hamman, the VP of Engineering for News Products at The New York Times, are doing at major companies to bring in more women to change the makeup of their teams.

Hamman’s team is responsible for the core news experience across the web and native apps for the storied media brand. PowerToFly spoke with Hamman about how he is trying to hire a diverse team, how coding and journalism intersect and how he got his start in tech.

Is your tech group diverse?

We are looking to become a more diverse group and we are focused on bringing more women to the team. We have created an excellent parental leave policy. We have 10 weeks for partners and adoptive parents and 16 weeks for birth mothers. It can be used anytime within a year of birth and takes effect immediately upon employment. And we are getting out into the community more through organizations like Grace Hopper. We also have a culture and diversity task force where we have done both unconscious bias training and training in career management.

What are your top tips for hiring a diverse engineering team and for hiring more women?

I struggle with hiring a diverse team as much as everybody else. The things that I find most successful beyond networking at places like meetups and events are:

  1. When we hire a new developer at The Times I ask them as soon as possible about who we should try to recruit right away from their previous company or network. I ask them to look for people or give me names of people who I can go after myself. I tend to see more diverse candidates that way because I can ask for those types of referrals.
  2. I also am the “LinkedIn Stalker.” I am always emailing a bunch of people, inviting them to coffee and getting them to interviews, etc. I’ve had really great success meeting people that way.
  3. We are also experimenting with tools like Textio to analyze job descriptions to make sure that we are not using words that push women away from the NY Times.
  4. The harder challenge is getting engineers to consider working at The Times if they would never consider media. To address that problem we are working on growing the network of female engineers and engineers outside of the newsroom. Our women in tech task force is building out an excellent network of female engineers which helps in the hiring process

To me, the challenge is not only hiring women but retaining them once they are on board. We are working on:

  1. Promoting a better work/life balance. We have a much better parental leave policy and I want to see that promoted more so candidates are aware of it.
  2. Focusing on career development — I’ve seen women who are really good leave The Times for opportunities elsewhere. I want to make sure that everyone is growing in an engineering role at our media company. When you are in media the path forward in tech is not as clear as when you are at a company based in tech. For example, I was pretty much the first person to have every role I’ve had at the times. In media there can be a lot of uncertainty in your career as a developer. We just released a career ladder for engineers that gives a clear path for advancement to very senior levels without having to go into management, which is important for many engineers.
  3. We are also starting to talk about a remote work policy. We are setting up things like video conferencing and Slack to help with this process. We are not going to be a remote company but we are trying to figure out how to make it an option at times when people need to work from where they are. We are setting up best practices for remote work so that when someone might need this as part of their package to work at the Times, we can consider it as an option and make sure it is a productive experience.

Why do you think it is important to attract more women?

I’ve been on teams that were all men and teams that were balanced. The more balanced teams are better. You get to better decisions faster. You cut corners where needed faster. And you back out of dark corners faster. You get different ideas from a diverse team. When we launched NYT Cooking it was very helpful to have a mixed team. If you have more perspective, then you will have a better chance that you do not ignore an entire area of your audience, and overall your product will be more successful.

Is speed important in the hiring process?

It varies on the team and the role. We are slow on hiring. We would like to get faster. However, we want to hire the best person not the first person. We don’t just try to hire to fill a slot. We prefer to bring in many candidates and hire the person who is the right fit for the job. We like to hire people who believe in the mission of The Times and will spend time looking for mission-driven candidates.

How did you get your start in tech? And what is your role now at The Times?

I became the VP of Engineering for News Products six months ago. I oversee the website, mobile apps including iOS and Android, the video team, and the front end teams.

I had a roundabout way of getting into tech. I was a computer science major in undergrad but I actually got to the New York Times through Journalism school. I did database reporting at Journalism school at the University at Missouri. The New York Times created an internal role after the Jayson Blair case. I was hired onto a team that kept track of corrections, travel, and making sure standards are being met. We created a database of corrections to see if there were trends on errors.

A year later I was on the interactive news team programming for journalism election results and social interactives. I was the Deputy Editor for about 6 years. I was at the intersection of coding and journalism as I was building tools for reporters and telling stories. I built an internal search engine for the reporters to use that tracked things from Guantanamo Detainees to puppy photos. From there I went to the NYT Now, Cooking, and Opinion sections. I was in the lead engineering role for these apps. I managed an engineering team for new products. It was the first time I considered myself an engineer as before that I was journalist who also coded.

What are the coding languages most in demand right now?

We are hiring for iOS and Android developers. We are also eager for Node and React. On the backend we need Java, Scala and Go. On the data end we are looking for people who know python. And we are looking to move to Google hub provider so people with that experience are highly sought after.


How These Companies Are Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.

That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.


The Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Life

3 Pieces of Advice from Working Moms at Pluralsight

Being fully committed to work and family is a challenge that many working parents have to take on. It can be exhausting and thankless pursuing a fulfilling full-time career, while taking an active role as a parent. Achieving a healthy balance can help keep you motivated and productive at work, while allowing you to be fully present when you're home.

We recently chatted with working moms at technology skills platform, Pluralsight, about their best advice for striking that elusive work-life balance. Here were their key points:


How to Make the Most of Being on a Growing Team: 3 Tips from Plex’s Adriana Bosinceanu

When the startup Adriana Bosinceanu was working for got acquired, things changed fast.

She went from being one of eight engineers on a small team building a streaming service to joining a company that was five times larger and had a much bigger scope.

That company was Plex, where Adriana has been working remotely as a software engineer for the last four and a half years.

As her team grew from two people to ten, Adriana decided to lean into the opportunity to grow; along the way, she found herself deepening her technical skills, her self-confidence, and her relationships. We sat down with Adriana to learn exactly how she did that, and to hear the tips she has for other engineers experiencing growth opportunities on their team.

Career and Interview Tips

10 Tips to Stand Out at a Virtual Job Fair

Your guide to preparing for virtual career fairs and making a great impression with recruiters

According to a LinkedIn survey, up to 85% of jobs are filled via networking. For job seekers, virtual job fairs make networking with recruiters more convenient. You can interact with potential employers from all over the world, ask them questions, and apply for jobs. Every event is different, but they most often include video conferencing features, chat rooms, and Q&A sessions.

Dilyara Timerbulatova, Virtual Job Fair Coordinator at PowerToFly explains that, "virtual job fairs have many benefits, namely connecting top talent and recruiters that would otherwise never cross paths. These events are a tool to help companies build well-rounded, diverse teams that align with the company culture and business vision."


Pride At Work: Learn more about Our Partners, Sponsors & Speakers

Learn more about our amazing speakers and sponsors at our June 2021 virtual summit Diversity Reboot: Pride At Work, three days of conversations and panels plus an interactive virtual career fair.

Our Pride At Work summit certainly made us proud! PowerToFly was thrilled to present talks by members of the LGBTQIA+ community alongside some amazing allies. Our conversations ranged from leaders at the highest levels of government positions to visionaries in the worlds of business & tech to artists from the music and entertainment industry. If you tuned in, and celebrated our speakers, thank you! And if you missed the summit or would like to re-watch any of the talks, those conversations will all be available to watch for free on PowerToFly.

We want to extend a HUGE thanks to our amazing sponsors American Express, NGA, Smartsheet, S&P Global, Raytheon Technologies, PwC and Esri plus our media partner MMCA.

If you can, please consider donating to some of the amazing organizations we highlighted at the summit including GLITS, fighting for the health and rights of transgender sex workers; Garden State Equality, the largest LGBTQIA+ advocacy organization in New Jersey, with over 150,000 members; National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, including people living with HIV/AIDS; and NYC Anti-Violence Project, empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.

Plus, don't forget to visit our Merch Store and grab yourself some PowerToFly apparel. 100% of the proceeds from our sales will be going to TransTech Social, supporting transgender and non-binary people in tech.

Finally, registration for our July 12th - 15th virtual summit Diversity Reboot: Tech For Social Impact is now open! Join us to learn about founders from mission-driven organizations and their social impact. Register for free here
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