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    What is Workplace Ageism? (+ 5 Ways to Combat Ageism in the Job Search)

    In recent years, organizations across all industries have made strides when it comes to building diverse and inclusive teams. In fact, companies are increasingly hiring and promoting employees from historically underrepresented groups, and they’re also extending offers to more and more women, who now make up the bulk of the US workforce. But despite this progress, there’s still a lot more work to be done, as outlined in Hired’s 2022 Wage Inequality Report. 

    While organizations might have improved the gender and ethnic diversity of their teams, many are still discriminating in other regards, such as against employees who are further on in their careers. This form of discrimination called ageism.

    Related: What is DEI? How Does it Improve the Sales & Tech Job Search Process? 

    What is ageism?

    Simply put, ageism is a prejudice causing organizations to overlook qualified older candidates and hire younger workers instead. 

    According to the AARP, ageism is pervasive in America. They found nearly 25% of workers 45 and older have been the subject of disparaging comments due to their age. What’s more, roughly 60% of older workers have seen or experienced ageism in the workplace. Ageism is perhaps most prevalent in the tech sector, where the average worker is 38 years old (compared to 43 years for non-tech workers).

    Add it all up and it comes as no surprise the same AARP survey found 76% of older workers agree ageism is a major obstacle standing in between them and a new job. 

    Youngism: The Reverse Ageism 

    This facet of ageism, now increasingly studied, focuses on bias against younger individuals. You might imagine someone muttering, “kids these days” or rolling their eyes as they groan, “millennials.” 

    Although positive words like “intelligent” and “tech savvy” surfaced, one study found common negative responses in descriptions of younger generations included “entitled,” “coddled,” and “disrespectful.” 

    In the same way ageism can hold back older adults from opportunities, youngism does the same to younger individuals. 

    What causes ageism?

    Ageism is a bias that makes businesses see older employees as liabilities more than assets. 

    In an age of technological innovation, companies may think older employees might not be technically proficient enough to work productively. At the same time, older individuals are thought to be stuck in their ways, making it harder for them to embrace change or try something new.

    In some instances, ageism might be linked to the fact that older employees tend to earn more than their younger colleagues due to their deeper professional experience. Cash-conscious companies might opt to extend offers for candidates just out of college who are happy to work for less.

    While the deck may be stacked against older workers to some extent — all hope is not lost. With the right approach, older professionals can overcome the bias of ageism in the job search, ending up with meaningful employment on the other side.

    With all this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the tactics you can employ to navigate your job search in your later years.

    How you can combat ageism and be confident in your job search

    First things first: Update your resume so it fits on one page and is reframed to reflect your current goals. After you’ve done that, it’s time to start looking for work.

    Related: How to Handle an Employment Gap on Your Resume (Flip the Script!) 

    As you begin your job search, here are five tips to keep in mind tohelp you overcome the challenges associated with ageism — and move forward to the next chapter of your career with a positive mindset.

    1. Demonstrate your enthusiasm

    At the end of the day, companies are looking to hire energetic, passionate individuals. Perhaps you worked for 25 years in corporate America and have all the requisite skills and experience. Still, if you come across as apathetic or as if you’re just going through the motions, hiring managers may hesitate to gamble on your candidacy. 

    Instead of reciting your experience, lead with your passion and excitement for the company and role.

    We also encourage you to market any mentoring skills. Your experience may be more valuable to other team members than you realize! Frame your experience as an advantage in this way and an opportunity to share your wealth of knowledge.

    2. Develop new skills

    Commit yourself to continuous learning and always try to develop new skills and learn new things. One easy way to do this is to complete certifications through popular business platforms like General Assembly, Exponent, Educative, and AWS. 

    3. Be curious and teachable

    Succeeding in today’s ultra-collaborative business landscape requires being a team player and a willingness to be flexible. By demonstrating your curiosity and teachability throughout the interview process, you can prove you have the right mindset to become a critical contributor to the team.

    Two ways to show your willingness to learn and ability to quickly acquire new skills are:

    Taking up interesting hobbies (e.g., learning how to write code) 

    Taking on volunteer opportunities (e.g., mentoring at-risk youth)

    4. Lead your interviews

    Acing an interview isn’t just about giving good answers to each question. It’s about forming a personal relationship and connection with the person on the other side of the table (or the Zoom call).

    By connecting with your interviewer on a deeper level and bringing a positive, pleasant attitude to the session, you can make a great first impression. This can carry you to the finish line and lead to a job offer!

    Related: Video Interviews 101: How to Impress in the Digital Age

    5. Arm yourself with data

    When you’re older, be cognizant of how your interviewer might perceive your age as a disadvantage. So, be prepared to defuse those objections right out of the gate.

    Related: 7 Interview Questions You Never Have to Answer (& How You Should Respond) 

    One way is to proactively bring data to the table. For example, research suggests workers continue building knowledge and expertise well into their 80s — traits correlated with job performance. Furthermore, data suggests the average successful startup founder is 45 years old. 

    It’s also important to make sure you have a good understanding of what a fair salary is for your experience and role. Make sure you leverage tools like Hired’s Salary Calculator to understand your value before the interview.

    Related: What Does Your Tech Salary Look Like? A Review of Salary Trends 

    The more nuggets of information like this you have, the more confident you will be when you finally sit down at the table.

    Ready to land your next job?

    With the right mindset and a determination to land a new job, it’s possible to overcome the challenges associated with ageism and start the next phase of your career. Keeping these tips in mind as you begin your next job search. Good luck!

    Continue reading our Ally Series: More

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    First 3 Questions to Ask Tech Talent (& What to Listen For)

    About this Infographic

    Make the most of technical phone screens by starting off strong with these 3 initial questions. Equally important to knowing what to ask is knowing what to listen for in answers (we share that too!). Use this infographic to make phone screens productive for both yourself and candidates. More

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    Navigating Layoffs, Leveraging Strengths, & More: Talk Talent to Me January ’23 Recap

    Catch up on the January 2023 episodes of Hired’s Talk Talent to Me podcast featuring recruiting and talent acquisition leadership who share strategies, techniques, and trends shaping the recruitment industry. 

    Layoffs and the importance of networking with Jason Walker & Rey Ramirez, Co-Founders of Thrive HR Consulting 

    Individuals’ greatest strengths with Dr. Scott Whiteford, Director of Leadership Analytics at Talent Plus 

    The value of talent acquisition with Rahul Yodh, VP of TA at New Western

    1. Jason Walker & Rey Ramirez, Co-Founders of Thrive HR Consulting 

    Given the current economic climate, employers and employees around the world are becoming better acquainted with the reality of layoffs each day. Guests discuss the ins and outs of layoffs, including the factors affecting them, the typical process, who’s most at risk, and how to mitigate that risk. They also provide insight into the current hiring (and firing) landscape and the push and pull of navigating remote work post-pandemic. 

    Related: How to Improve Job Security During an Economic Downturn: Career Advice for Recruiters

    “You’ve got to treat employees respectfully because the same people you’re laying off today are the ones you’re going to be trying to re-recruit in nine months.”

    Listen to the full episode.

    2. Dr. Scott Whiteford, Director of Leadership Analytics at Talent Plus 

    Dr. Whiteford delves into what it means to focus on strengths over weaknesses, the importance of self-reflection, and how to become increasingly specialized throughout your career. He also shares advice for young people on how to discover their strengths, the importance of looking at the whole person when you want to hire successfully, and how to form a constructive partnership with a hiring manager.

    “Understand what parts of your job you like, what parts you don’t like, where you’re good, where you’re not so good. The better prepared you are to have that conversation with your leader, the more likely you’re going to see a strong outcome.” 

    Listen to the full episode.

    3. Rahul Yodh, VP of TA at New Western

    Without a specific revenue amount associated with it, talent acquisition is often viewed as a cost center. However, Rahul explains there is a direct positive revenue impact to each hire a business makes and how important it is for TA leaders to make others aware of this. He also shares advice on how to change the way talent acquisition is viewed in organizations, his philosophy on interviews, and the importance of building cross-departmental relationships.

    “As a TA leader, you’ve got to think like a revenue org leader, like a COO, like a chief marketing officer, chief sales officer. You’ve got to really sharpen your business IQ and be able to demonstrate quantifiable terms that your team is providing.”

    Listen to the full episode.

    Want more insights into recruiting tips and trends?

    Tune into Hired’s podcast, Talk Talent to Me, to learn about the strategies, techniques, and trends shaping the recruitment industry—straight from top experts themselves. More

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    FAQs from Jobseekers: Approaching the Technical Interview with Confidence (VIDEO)

    Technical interviewing takes skill and is actually a skill in itself. In this AMA-style discussion (now on-demand!), experts helped jobseekers problem-solve their way to nailing their next technical interview. Keep reading for candid and actionable advice from the experts.

    You’ll hear from:

    Sophia Koehl, Partnerships, Hired

    Omkar Deshpande, Head of Technical Curriculum, Interview Kickstart

    Nate Becker, Candidate Experience, Hired

    Read the beginning of the conversation here and scroll down to access the full webinar. 

    What are the fundamentals of a technical interview? 


    I think it’s important to note this is a multi step process. It’s not a one and done situation. I would read and reread the job description, do some research on the company, and review the fundamentals of your own technical specializations. For the more personal side, practice talking about your professional background. I recommend Interview Kickstart’s Technical Interview Checklist. 

    Consider the stages of the interview ahead of time. First, you have a phone screen, a sort of a “tell me about yourself and why are you applying.” Then, there’s usually a take-home assessment, which is preliminary and usually done through a test coding platform or a shared doc. From there, you’d have an on-site or in-person evaluation where your programming skills are assessed in real time by an interviewer. 

    If you are on the Hired platform, you could take advantage of assessments to showcase your skills to employers. A lot of the companies on our platform prioritize candidates who have taken these Hired assessments. Keep in mind that this doesn’t replace a coding interview and is more of a preliminary screen. 


    In an ideal coding interview, you are given a problem, or an unseen question. The interviewer wants to see whether you can design an algorithm or a recipe that correctly solves the given question by relying on fundamental computer science principles and problem solving strategies. Your solution also needs to run fast, take the least possible time, and use very little space.

    Once you have designed a correct and efficient algorithm, you have to implement it in the programming language of your choice with a high probability that the code would run correctly the first time you execute it. They’re testing your problem solving ability and your coding fluency. Both of these depend on knowledge of computer science fundamentals. That’s how I look at the structure of a coding interview. 

    Why is it worthwhile to spend more time on interview prep instead of jumping straight into applying and interviewing?


    It would be to your advantage to consider the state of the market. Look at the time we’re in right now. This is a great time to take advantage of the downtime and prep. Take the time now to land an interview you really want. It may benefit your career in the long run to invest time and energy up front. When I say timeliness, I’m talking about the recent layoffs folks have been experiencing and the impact of that. Really consider if you have free time and do the prep work. We have a great eBook on layoffs and how to bounce back better than ever.


    The reality is that competition is high. People share frequently asked questions online on platforms like Leetcode. Everyone knows what questions are likely to be asked and they’re not easy to solve. Prep is necessary, otherwise you’re going to stumble on the spot. 

    There’s a misconception that interview prep is a waste of time because you basically have to memorize the solutions to those frequently asked problems. If you prep the right way, it’s an opportunity to relearn the fundamentals of computer science. Preparing properly increases your chances of getting multiple offers and thereby a significantly higher salary.

    When you start a new job, you have that confidence in yourself because you cracked the interview based on your understanding of computer science principles. You become a better engineer as a result of preparing in the right way.

    Other key topics from the conversation include: 

    Which programming language to use for a technical interview 

    How to create a study plan

    Technical interviews at FAANG companies vs smaller companies

    How to present your tech experience 

    And more!  More

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    Interview to Get Hired: What Top Employers Want in 2023 (VIDEO)

    What are top employers looking for from jobseekers? Watch this on-demand webinar to hear experts from Top Employers Winning Tech Talent discuss key findings and data from Hired’s What Top Tech Employers Do Differently: New Hiring Data to Win in 2023 report. They share top tips for impressing employers and guide you in the job search. 

    You’ll hear from:

    Career Expert, TopResume, Amanda Augustine

    VP of Product, Hired, Hector Angulo

    Talent Acquisition Manager, Funding Circle, Dominic Heeraman

    SVP of Data, Analytics, and Machine Learning, Bark, Olly Downs

    Career Lead, Pathrise, Kass Moore

    Read an excerpt of the conversation here and scroll down to access the full webinar. 

    How can tech jobseekers build a more responsive resume? 


    I particularly like targeted and specific applications. Make it specific to the role, job title of the role, the company. Make sure if you read the job spec you’re trying to add some of those things into your CV or resume. It should be well-written and well-formatted. I’m really big on presentation so really clear and concise is good. 

    I also like details so for example, if you spent a length of time in a role I want to see what you’ve done and your achievements. If you work in an environment where you can add facts and figures, that’s a good thing too. Quantify any of your successes. Having those details in makes it a lot easier to understand. 

    Two to three pages in length is fine. I’ve had some people write half a page CV and others give me a 64 page CV. Nobody has time for that. I want to see 2 to 3 pages. That’s the sweet spot.

    I’ve always hired software engineers for the permanent side of things so I want to see a good length of time at a particular company – not a jumpy CV where it’s six months here or one year here. I want to see progress in people’s careers. Maybe they start as a junior engineer, then get to mid or senior engineering manager, or a senior IC. 

    I don’t mind if it’s sentences or bullet points as long as it’s clear and I can understand what you’ve done in your role. 

    I also like to see what you’ve done as an individual, not what your team has done. It’s great that you’ve achieved this in the project but what did you do? What is your contribution?

    Then, obviously the tech stack. I want to make sure you use the relevant technologies in each of your roles. 

    Related: Interested in a Tech Role? Here’s Your Resume Guide 

    What are best practices around creating a Hired profile? 


    First, craft a headline that doesn’t just repeat your job title, but highlights something unique about a skill that you have or a passion. You want that to be the first impression and the lens they review the rest of your resume or experience.

    Instead of saying something like “Technical Lead at X,” you can say, “Technical Lead designing scalable software for tens of millions of users” or “Expert in recommendation and personalization systems.” 

    If you are early in your career and don’t have an area in which you are a deep expert, show another part of your personality or abilities. Even something like you’re a “Three-time Hackathon champion” elicits thoughts of competitiveness and creativity. That adds a touch of context to the rest of your resume or profile. 

    This next one is really unique to Hired. It is about making sure you stand out to the right fit companies by making clear what the wrong fits are. We focus the Hired profile a lot around being upfront about your preferences: deal breakers, nice-to-haves, and must-haves. 

    This is to ensure you stand out to companies that are a ‘good fit,’ while avoiding ‘bad fit’ companies from reaching out in the first place and wasting anyone’s time. 

    We have a ton of categories but these are the three most used: remote/hybrid preferences, company size, and company industry.

    Related: 6 Common FAQs from Jobseekers: Answers to Help You Prepare for & Dive Into the Job Search 

    Watch the full collaborative panel discussion to learn:  More

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    Need Help with Job Interviewing Skills? | Coaching Session (VIDEO)

    What do companies look for when interviewing potential employees? Hear what they prioritize first-hand in this on-demand panel discussion featuring:

    Senior Manager, Recruiting, Brightspot, Avery Davila

    Technical Sourcer, Hired, Gabe Morabe

    Candidate Experience Manager, Hired, Alice Tan* 

    Candidate Experience Manager, Hired, Maria Coffey*

    What are recruiters really listening for?

    Avery Davila

    I think it’s really important in the interview process to be engaged. It comes across as you’re genuinely interested in the company, you’re genuinely interested in the role, and you’re excited to be there. Look engaged, have good posture, pay attention, and maintain good eye contact. This is a little difficult with the virtual world nowadays but you get the gist!

    Gabe Morabe

    Ask genuine questions and follow up. Perhaps I say something in the introduction of the interview and you mention it during the middle of the interview. Say it’s how interesting this product is or you have experience doing this in the past. It shows me that you’re 1) actively listening and 2) relating it back to your previous experiences.

    Avery Davila

    I suggest also having a notepad handy and jotting down a few notes, perhaps key things that stick out from the conversation. For example, if there’s any discussion around role expectations and you have notes to reflect back on. I think it also shows you’re interested and comprehending the information. I did that during my interview with Brightspot actually and I even used it to reflect back on before my first day so there’s a double positive. 

    Gabe Morabe

    You can take those notes and apply it to all your other interviews as well. It’s not just for one company. All these companies are probably going to be looking for the same thing especially if you’re applying for a specific role.

    In regard to concise stories of previous work experiences, I’m definitely looking for how you take your preview experiences, look at the job description, and apply it to how your experience fits in with this role specifically. This can be alignment with certain projects, an initiative you’ve led, a certain amount of sales within a certain market.

    Avery Davila

    I recommend, as you’re preparing for interviews and trying to be concise, outlining your experience and making sure that you hit all the key points. If there are metrics, challenges, successes, or specific projects you want to highlight, make a quick outline. Jot down about two sentences to help you concisely articulate so you’re not going back and forth in a story or you leave the interview realizing you wanted to mention this. That’s a good tip for preparation to help you be concise and clear when you’re explaining your background.

    Definitely ask questions too. It shows you’re genuinely interested in the company. Have questions prepared even if they’re simple ones and even if they’ve been answered earlier in the interview process. You can ask the same questions to different interviewers because you can get that different perspective based on the role and the unique experiences they’ve had, how long their tenure has been, etc.

    Watch now to discover: 

    How to appear confident (with examples of how candidates excel without knowing what to expect)

    What recruiters see as red flags and how to avoid them 

    Resources for interview tips and more!

    *Since this event, Alice and Maria have taken their CX insights to new roles as Pre-Sales Enablement Specialist and Customer Success Manager with Hired respectively.

    Curious how Hired helps jobseekers find great roles in tech and sales? Learn how our platform helps you create meaningful connections with top employers.

    Haven’t joined yet? Complete your free profile with Hired and let employers come to you. 

    Watch the original presentation below.

    [embedded content] More

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    3 Ways You Should Use C-Suite to Recruit Tech Talent (+ Free Templates)

    What You’ll Learn

    How to standardize the hiring process and apply it to everyone

    Why you should take senior leaders out of the “interviewing” function

    How to stand out by integrating senior leadership into candidate communications

    About this eBook

    Hired works with customers of all sizes and we’re grateful to constantly learn from them. Over the last year, we heard some great strategies and in this eBook we share them with you. Use these learnings to help you effectively use your senior leadership in recruiting. More

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    How to Nurture Innovation, Strengthen Retention (Use Professional Development)

    If you want to foster employee professional development and growth, it’s essential to begin with a positive and supportive work environment. By providing opportunities for learning, as well as a culture of collaboration and open communication, companies encourage their employees to reach their full potential and become valuable assets to the organization. 

    In this blog, we explore laying the foundation for employee professional development beginning with the hiring process, and ways to create a nurturing environment. To help provide real-world examples and insights, we’ll lean on excerpts from episodes of Hired’s podcast, Talk Talent to Me, featuring these experts: 

    Consider growth potential from day one

    Riffat Jaffer shares, “There are so many jobs everyone does. But what are they going to grow into six months or three years from now and how will they add value to your company in the future?”

    Hiring for potential means looking beyond a candidate’s current skills and experience. It’s considering their ability to learn and grow in the role. The specific role you’re hiring for shouldn’t be the bottom line, but rather a starting point to build upon.

    This approach is particularly valuable for businesses ready to invest in their employees and support their professional development. Companies then bring on employees who may not have all the required skills at the time of hire. However, they have the aptitude and willingness to learn and grow.

    Leverage potential to build diversity

    One benefit of hiring for potential is helping companies build diverse and dynamic teams. By considering a candidate’s potential rather than just their existing credentials, businesses bring on employees with a range of backgrounds and perspectives. This contributes to creating a more vibrant and creative work environment and allows for more innovative solutions.

    In a past panel discussion, “An Insider’s Guide to Hiring in Tech,” Nathalie Grandy, formerly with Gem, now Head of Tech Recruiting at Mutiny, shared her insights. She says, “It starts with changing the mindset of what you’re looking for and potentially being open to those nontraditional backgrounds. For us, it’s encouraging hiring managers to think about the 80/20 rule. So 80% existing skill set and 20% coachability.”

    Impact down the line: employee retention

    Another advantage of hiring for potential is helping companies retain top talent. By providing opportunities for learning and growth, businesses support their employees in achieving their career goals and help them feel fulfilled in their roles. This leads to increased job satisfaction and a lower employee turnover rate.

    Riffat explains, “Candidates come in and maybe they’ve not done the job exactly like you want them to do. But they know you trusted them and hired them to do it. They’re willing to give it their all and more than somebody who has done it three times over now.” 

    Take a leap of faith

    Of course, hiring for potential does come with its challenges. For example, it is difficult to accurately assess a candidate’s potential. There is always a certain level of risk involved in bringing on employees who may not have all the required skills at the time of hire. 

    However, with careful consideration and a robust onboarding process, companies can successfully hire for potential and reap the many benefits of supporting employee professional development and growth.

    Riffat says, “Maybe they’re not where we want them to be today but our onboarding and training come in to get candidates where they want to go. Typically, you end up hiring the best candidates when you take a leap of faith.”

    According to Riffat, hiring for potential is all about “being able to partner with the hiring managers and make sure they see potential in a candidate. It also depends a lot on product maturity and if we can afford to give a candidate six months to become what we want.” 

    Build an inclusive environment to foster employee growth

    An inclusive workplace values and respects diversity, and is where all employees feel welcome and supported. By fostering an inclusive workplace, businesses create an environment to support employee development and growth. Here are a few ways to do this:

    1. Establish guiding values to support professional development and growth

    These values must emphasize the importance of providing opportunities for employees to learn and grow in their roles, and support their professional development. By adopting such values, companies create an environment that encourages employees to learn new skills and take on new challenges.

    Anabel Morales echoes this saying, “The key to scaling our culture successfully is equipping our leaders with tools to scale trust, transparency, and inclusion. When we hire managers or promote somebody into a management role, we’re introducing them to our leadership principles and educating them on how to live up those values.”

    2. Encourage open communication and feedback

    Create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and providing feedback to one another. This helps identify and address any challenges or barriers employees may be facing, and can support their growth and development.

    To Anabel, this means “facilitating inclusion and teaching people how to build trust. Leading without micromanaging, asking for feedback, and being a good listener are basic things managers sometimes forget to do.” 

    “The psychological safety piece is also very important. It is something you need in a team to ensure innovation. The last thing you want as a manager is to have a team where everybody just agrees with you. Create an environment where people feel open to speak.”

    3. Explore personal drive and growth

    Provide employees with support and guidance as they explore their personal drive for growth. This might include offering advice and mentorship to help guide their self-reflection as they define their purpose and future goals.

    Sacha Luthi says, “If you look at what success means, it’s very broad. I can make things very complicated as an HR person. Or, I can try to build an environment in which people want to work with you. I don’t want people to work with me because they have to. The true reason is finding the ‘Why are you here?’”

    4. Measure the impact of deficiencies

    There are endless avenues to take when it comes to professional development and growth. So many possibilities might become overwhelming, causing employees to struggle in picking their starting point. As a leader, aid employees in identifying personal development needs to plot their course.

    Reflecting on his own experience, Sacha says, “it took good leaders to see things I was not able to see in myself. You need people along the way who believe in you and build confidence.”

    Encourage self-reflection to measure the impact of deficiencies in order to identify growth opportunities. Sach poses a few questions for individuals to consider: “How do I find out what I’m really good at? What gives me energy? Where is the space for it to be used?”

    “If you are not good at something you should also look at it from a collective perspective. There are other people around you who may jump in or cover the gap, so look at performance and career. We still value and recognize individuals but how do we put those strengths together so the collective output is better?” 

    5. Provide opportunities for learning and development

    The opportunity to continuously learn and tackle new challenges continues to be the number one reason software engineers enter a career in the field. Employers should offer compelling career development opportunities to attract and retain software engineers and ensure they feel adequately challenged in their roles. 

    Based on our survey of software engineers, more than half said it’s important to them their employer provides professional development opportunities. 72.2% reported new challenges and continuous learning most attracted them to a career in software engineering.

    Set the tone for personal growth & professional development in your organization

    If you want to create an environment to encourage employees to develop new skills, cultivate new strengths, and continue the evolution of their careers, build an inclusive workplace and keep growth in mind from the hiring process on. 

    Tune into’s podcast, Talk Talent to Me. Hear what top experts have to share about the strategies, techniques, and trends shaping the recruitment industry today.

    Want to listen to the full episodes featured in this article?

    Editor’s note: at the time of the podcast recording, Anabel was VP of Talent Acquisition, in August of 2022, she became VP, People and Culture. Congrats, Anabel!  More