Hiring Now: Leaders at 5 NYC Companies on Why Top Talent Should Join Their Teams

Leaders at five NYC companies hiring now shared what their growing tech teams will work on in 2023 and what makes someone a perfect fit.

Written by Lucas Dean
Published on Nov. 21, 2022
Hiring Now: Leaders at 5 NYC Companies on Why Top Talent Should Join Their Teams
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A lot can be learned about adaptability and resilience from New York City’s 2 million rats.

These scrappy rodents have maintained a significant presence in NYC for centuries and, alongside pigeons, are considered one of the species most well-adapted to living in urban environments. Despite a long history of asserted efforts to rid the area of rats, they have continued to multiply and have become the city’s most well-known wildlife. 

But why is that?

One reason goes back to survival of the fittest. Scientists have found that after intense population reduction campaigns, the surviving rats were more likely to have certain traits that allowed them to withstand or avoid exposure to common traps, which are then passed down to their offspring. 

This is just one example of many qualities that contribute to their resilience, but humans — especially those in the tech industry — can take an unlikely mantra from it: “Be more like a rat.”

The tech industry is defined by continuous growth and evolution, and an individual’s or company’s success depends on their ability to respond to shifting environments and evolving demands. The industry will be unkind to those resistant to change, but those who embrace change will excel. 

Plum Ertz, director of software engineering at Ro, understands why dynamism is essential for her team. “We’re always in some kind of motion — learning, sharing, collaborating and evolving as we grow both as individuals and as a company,” Ertz said, noting that this shouldn’t be mistaken with instability. 

Ertz and four other leaders at top companies are looking to hire top tech talent with the drive to grow and evolve with their organization. Built In NYC chatted with them to learn about the qualities and skills candidates need to be successful and what projects their teams will be working on in 2023.

 

Artur Klassen
Front-End Developer • SmartAsset

Fintech company SmartAsset’s vision is to be the go-to resource for building relationships between consumers and financial advisors and financial products. 

 

What’s one character trait or skill set that a successful candidate should have to land a spot on your team?

If I had to pick only one skill, I would go with communication. As cliche as it may sound, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is probably one of the most essential skills when working in any team, not only ours. 

I think it’s an especially important and relevant skill these days, considering that we are a remote-first company and communicating digitally comes with its own challenges. Proper communication allows people to see connections between different initiatives and departments so that they don’t feel siloed and understand how their work relates to a larger goal than their specific project.

 

What’s the biggest project your technical teams are planning for 2023, and why is it important for the success of the business as a whole?

In 2023, we are planning to expand the funnel feature set that will include the selection and integration of customer data platform and data validation service that will help us better understand the consumer and provide a more personalized experience for our users. We will continue improving data security and site reliability.

This will help us to support our mission of helping people make smart financial decisions.

Collaboration helps us to tackle complex problems and foster creativity. In our team, it’s easy to approach colleagues and get help with any challenges one may face.”

 

How would you describe your tech team culture in a single word, and why would you choose that word?

Collaboration is a key component of our team. It helps us to tackle complex business problems and foster creativity. In our team, it’s always easy to approach colleagues and get help with any challenges one may face. Everyone is welcome to participate in new initiatives and share ideas and knowledge. One of SmartAsset’s core values is ‘We Collaborate’ and I think our tech team can be rightfully considered a champion of this value.

 

 

Shan He
Senior Engineering Director • Foursquare

Foursquare’s location data bridges the gap between digital information and physical spaces. The independent geolocation tech company connects people with meaningful experiences while helping businesses achieve better outcomes. 

 

What’s one character trait or skill set that a successful candidate should have to land a spot on your team?

“Curiosity” — especially at the senior level. It can be easy for people to stay within their comfort zone, but a successful candidate on our team is someone who is always willing to learn and take on new challenges. Although it may be intimidating at times, staying curious and taking the initiative to educate yourself on the latest tech trends is crucial. 

Staying current on emerging technology, innovations and publications within the tech industry keeps us informed on the technologies and engineering practices we should adopt. 

Overall, a successful candidate for our team should be curious, eager to learn and devoted to helping others.

 

What’s the biggest project your technical teams are planning for 2023, and why is it important for the success of the business as a whole?

As Gary Little, Foursquare President and CEO, says, “The rise of cloud and edge computing, when coupled with the mass digitization of the economy, is fueling a new wave of demand for precise location technology, data and geospatial services.” Foursquare believes we can solve the need and demand for these untapped territories within the location data industry. In 2023, this will be one of our biggest projects, and anyone who joins our team will have the opportunity to have a direct hand in inventing the future. 

Another major project my team is focusing on is the concept of visual analytics and building a platform — or a visual analytic workflow — that provides our customers with more powerful, immediate visualization. Instead of needing multiple platforms to first analyze data and then visualize it, we are exploring a workflow that enables the analysis and visualization of data within the same environment, providing our customers with market-leading abilities to detect patterns and relationships across data sets connecting places, people and movement at scale.

A team mentality focused on empowering and supporting each other is essential to promoting a healthy team culture, especially in a remote environment.”

 

How would you describe your tech team culture in a single word, and why would you choose that word?

I would describe our tech team culture as a team of builders. We are dedicated to our customers, and we are constantly exploring different ways to solve problems by thinking big, innovating and embracing diverse perspectives.

Enabling and helping our teammates is something that I really care about and see demonstrated within Foursquare’s culture regularly. We are always ready to solve problems together, even if that means it may slow us down a little sometimes. A team mentality focused on empowering and supporting each other is essential to promoting a healthy team culture, especially in a remote environment.

 

 

The Pinata team at a conference.
Pinata

 

Jarrod Eyler
Director of Engineering • Pinata

Pinata aims to unlock the true potential of NFT media management and IPFS storage. The company’s multimedia hub supports NFT creators and builders. 

 

What’s one character trait or skill set that a successful candidate should have to land a spot on your team?

One of the biggest things I look for beyond the base technical qualifications is intellectual curiosity. People who seek first to understand rather than seek first to act will become more informed and impactful team members earlier. Curiosity in a strong candidate manifests itself as the desire to understand the business, the product, the customer, the legacy systems, the challenges we face and so on before trying to change aspects of their new environment. 

Curious people typically exhibit greater humility and a healthy amount of confidence because it takes both humility and confidence to admit that you don’t know something and to seek information from others.

 

What’s the biggest project your technical teams are planning for 2023, and why is it important for the success of the business as a whole?

Our biggest project entails consolidating the various Pinata API components into a single, cohesive and documented REST API that represents Pinata as a first-class, API-first service provider.

We need team members that want to come in and contribute to the development of a positive, collaborative, merit-based team of engineers.”

 

How would you describe your tech team culture in a single word, and why would you choose that word?

“Evolving.” Our growth, our team and our culture are evolving all the time. We need team members that want to come in and contribute to the development of a positive, collaborative, merit-based team of engineers. We want to develop an all-star team of engineers that take ownership of problems, contribute at a high level and seek to have a big impact on the company’s success.

 

 

Plum Ertz
Director, Software Engineering • Ro

Healthtech company Ro is on a mission to make healthcare more accessible and impactful. The direct-to-patient company’s platform powers an end-to-end healthcare experience. 

 

What’s one character trait or skill set that a successful candidate should have to land a spot on your team?

Proactivity! A successful candidate is not just cataloging problems — they are thinking big to understand the situation and propose and execute solutions. They’re identifying potential risks or pitfalls of an implementation and building safeguards. They’re reaching out to make connections with other teams and technical leads and building relationships and trust so they can collaborate on complex projects.

 

What’s the biggest project your technical teams are planning for 2023, and why is it important for the success of the business as a whole?

I wouldn’t say it’s one singular big project, but a series of projects across all teams that deliver results toward a major technical goal!

We’re five years old now, and certain parts of our codebase have baked-in assumptions left over from an earlier phase of our business that is now outdated — assuming we only treat a small set of fixed conditions in a similar manner, versus the broad scope of consultations, diagnostics and medications we offer now to serve a variety of health goals. In 2023, we will drive quality through focus and re-architect many of our patient intake, provider review and fulfillment flows to remove hacks and build a solid foundation. That goes back to both what we’re doing now and what we’ll be doing five years from now — continuing to expand our capabilities to provide even more convenient and effective healthcare.

If you’re a member of the team, regardless of your level or skill set, you have the ability to set something new in motion.”

 

How would you describe your tech team culture in a single word, and why would you choose that word?

“Dynamic,” in the sense that we are the opposite of static. We’re always in some kind of motion — learning, sharing, collaborating and evolving as we grow both as individuals and as a company. That doesn’t mean nothing is stable; we definitely have tried and true processes and ways of working. But nothing is so fixed in place that we can’t make changes if we see opportunities for improvement. That change can come from anywhere in the organization, too. If you’re a member of the team, regardless of your level or skill set, you have the ability to set something new in motion.

 

 

Waldo team members in an engaging meeting.
Waldo


 

Laurent Sigal
CTO and Co-Founder • Waldo

Waldo’s no-code testing platform automates mobile app testing while avoiding scripting, enabling developers to build seamless mobile experiences and cut out bugs. 

 

What’s one character trait or skill set that a successful candidate should have to land a spot on your team?

“Humble.” We love to hire brilliant people who are always learning and looking for ways to better themselves professionally, regardless of their career stage. We hire individuals who value teamwork and want to recognize others for their wins rather than compete. Our workplace is a meritocracy where everyone owns Waldo’s success — we all have room to make mistakes and believe they are necessary to chase excellence.

 

What’s the biggest project your technical teams are planning for 2023, and why is it important for the success of the business as a whole?

The similarity algorithm is one of the most important and impactful projects that our engineering team is planning to work on for 2023.

This algorithm is part of Waldo’s core technology and determines how two UI screens are similar to one another and how their respective UI elements map together. Think of what Git does when it shows a diff of a file by mapping lines of code together. This is doing the same for UI elements and attributing a score to them.

Aside from the algorithm’s complexity, one of the tricky parts of this project is to keep track of different versions of the modified algorithm — i.e., versioning — and to make sure that a candidate version of the algorithm improves the results for all or most of the cases while keeping the former version running live for customers.

This is key to our business as a more accurate similarity algorithm allows us to speed up replays, have better results when matching different versions of the application and potentially detect more subtle bugs.

Each new hire ships their first project or feature in week one. This is a hands-on approach to onboarding and engages new hires from their first day.”

 

How would you describe your tech team culture in a single word, and why would you choose that word?

“Builders.” Each new hire ships their first project or feature in week one. This is a hands-on approach to onboarding and engages new hires from their first day. We strongly believe that we all learn by building first, getting feedback from others and improving along the way.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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