Women Who Code x Rokt: State of the industry hiring panel

It’s no secret that technology has been rapidly shaping our world, and as a result, the demand for skilled professionals in the tech industry has skyrocketed. With waves of layoffs from tech giants like Google and Meta, recruiters now have access to some of the market’s top talent, and competing for this talent could be pivotal to businesses’ strategic growth. To address these challenges, Women Who Code and Rokt hosted a “State of the Industry: Hiring Panel” discussion. Our New York City office was joined by engineering experts Kelly Anlas, Engineering Manager at Paxos and Director, NYC Chapter at Women Who Code, Joe Forzano, Software Engineering Manager, Noel Curtis, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Rokt and the discussion was moderated by Liz Furman, Technical Recruiter at Rokt.

Navigating the job search during challenging times

The panelists shared their insights and advice for job seekers during this time of uncertainty. Looking for employment in the current market can be daunting for many, especially for those facing recent layoffs, but the panelists shared ways they can tackle this adversity.

The first thing job seekers can do is leverage an existing network. This can be one of the most powerful tools in finding a new role. Don’t feel shy about asking for help; your network will be happy to assist. Noel Curtis encouraged the audience, “I’m doing it. All of my network is doing it and even the networks for the folks that have left the Facebooks and the Amazons of the world are absolutely doing it. Don’t feel shy to ask for help.”

Even if a company has a strong track record of success, that doesn’t necessarily mean job security for its employees. As Kelly Anlas points out, the reality is that the job market can be volatile, much like the stock market. Past performance is not a guarantee of future success. While it may not be possible to predict when layoffs may occur, it’s still important to consider a company’s hiring philosophy before accepting a job offer.

She added, “Consider adding this as a question with recruiters: what is your hiring philosophy? How fast do you hire? What kind of plans do you have in place to make sure you hire the correct person? If they’ve done the work and interrogated their own systems, they’ll be able to have an answer that reflects that they’re hiring in a way that preserves their people in times of trouble.”

When it comes to standing out for a role, Anlas urged the audience to diversify their skill sets. “Focus on building transferable skills. Now’s the time to develop skills to assist your own outcome, said Anlas. Especially during these slower hiring periods, candidates can get ahead by adapting with the trends emerging in the tech space. 

The impact of AI 

One of these emerging trends is the rise of AI. Our audience was curious to hear the experts’ opinions on how the development of AI would affect individuals trying to enter the industry, especially those in more junior positions. The good news is that all of the panelists had optimistic views on the subject. They believed that AI would be a tool to unlock more potential opportunities rather than a replacement for talent. “I see AI as a potential tool that will help unlock more potential opportunities as opposed to a complete replacement of talent,” said Joe Forzano. 

Curtis shared his perspective on AI and how it can make developers more productive and efficient. He encouraged those starting out in the industry to embrace AI and learn how to use it effectively, as it will give them a competitive advantage over those who don’t. “I think we’ve got to learn how to use it to our advantage. Get more productive with it, get more efficient with it. The wrong thing to do is to reject AI. The right thing is for those coming out of school to see this as an opportunity to get ahead by using it,” he said. 

A strategic hiring approach to today’s slower hiring landscape 

The panelists also addressed the unprecedented changes in recruitment efforts in a post-pandemic world where companies are navigating furloughs, layoffs, and shifting market demands. Hiring practices have had to adapt quickly, and companies that have open roles need to be strategic as they aim to attract top talent as a result of these layoffs. 

For companies with more stringent hiring policies this has resulted in a more selective hunt for the right candidate. “The talent pool that’s available is large. You have to be able to assess skills on many different levels, and a good example of growing your organization and hiring at the same time can be difficult,” Anlas said.

Embracing change

While the future is uncertain, one thing is clear: those who are willing to adapt to changing circumstances can find new opportunities and pursue rewarding careers in a dynamic and evolving job market. 

At Rokt, we see the current market as a chance to attract talented individuals and provide them with a supportive environment where their contributions are highly valued. We’re focused on solving significant challenges and creating a place where people can thrive. 

Ready to start your job in a high-growth tech company? Check out our open roles here