The NYC Startup Job Fair was packed with tons of New York City tech companies and startups on the hunt for that oh-so-hard-to-find tech talent, specifically engineers and developers. Hopeful applicants, some fresh-faced, some not so much, squeezed past each other picking up job descriptions and dropping off resumes and business cards.
All photos by Ben Weitzenkorn.
The NYC Startup Job Fair
On the 10th floor of 7 World Trade Center.
"We're looking for a lot of positions. We've got over 25 jobs open on our website right now, but today we're here mostly looking for software engineers and the purpose is ranging anywhere from dev ops to the e-commerce, computer vision, middleware," Lon Binder, VP of technology at Warby Parker, said. "We're also looking for people focused more on data and business intelligence so it's a pretty wide range." Mr. Binder said they were looking to fill those positions quote, "yesterday, maybe sooner," but they're not just looking for anyone.
"We're looking for the right fit," he said. "It's important to us to get people that really marry into our culture. We're very fun loving, positive, but we're also very fast moving. We want people to have a good attitude and who are really smart but who can also go really, really fast and want to see results happen. So even though we want to hire fast we want to make sure they're going to succeed in the organization."
Warby Parker has about 70 employees.
"It's a huge variety. Everything's listed online," said Lindsey Dole, a Tumblr recruiter. "We don't hire in advance. We hire exactly as we need something so if something were to open today... We're here meeting people that can fill our roles now or maybe in the future. It's really just about networking and getting to know people and supporting the tech community."
"We're here today looking specifically for engineering," Bryan Latten, chief software architect at Behance, said. "It's a really hard thing to find in New York because most people are marketing or finance or even design. We are trying to scour everywhere to get some quality engineers."
Mr Latten said this job fair was especially attractive because of the emphasis on engineers, but said other job fairs often yield candidates with the wrong background.
"It's kind of been a mixed bag," he said. "Sometimes we get 100 that are really good applicants, sometimes we just get a whole lot of business people. This one specifically had an hour and a half dedicated to just engineers—we thought it'd be a great thing to try."
Behance has job openings in New York and all over the country.
"There's a really huge pool of candidates in the New York area at the moment, said Ben Burton, software engineer at TheLadders, a platform with a new take on matching employers and job applicants. "There are a lot of startups, so it's really competitive, so any event where you can get more face time with a candidate is potentially valuable."
Speaking from experience, Mr. Burton says NYC engineers are a hot commodity. "I know I get two or three LinkedIn messages a day. Good software engineers with a decent amount of experience will get contacted by a lot of different companies in the New York area," he said. "And I turn around and tell them to go on TheLadders."
TheLadders has about a dozen job openings there, and thousands more at thousands of other companies listed on its website.
"You're probably familiar with the newswires, like the AP and Reuters—so we we're trying to reinvent that model and flip it on its head," said Shafqat Islam, CEO and founder of NewsCred. "We license content from 750 of the best sources around the world. We have amazing technology that organizes and filters and tags it and curates it algorithmically. We have an editorial team that also curates it. so we distribute it's all through an API. Our customers are news sites and publishers, but also huge brands like Pepsi and Johnson & Johnson and Telecom. Anyone who needs content."
Beyond technology, NewsCred is looking for people with sales and editorial backgrounds—including journalists.
"We're basically looking for the best and the brightest of New York's talent. Like a lot of other startups, we're looking for great engineers, but our philosophy with hiring is just find the smartest people, and then find the role. Finding a smart person is much more important than if they fit a specific opening that we have."
NewsCred currently has about 45 people and has at least ten positions open.
An enthusiastic and hopeful mood could be felt as hopeful applicants, armed with resumes, had brief informal chats with CEOs and founders of up-and-coming New York startups.
"It's been tough ... but it's a good thing in the end, people are getting jobs," said Sanjay Ginde, Contently's director of technology.
For him, this fair has been a great way to get in touch with younger talent—specifically undergrads.
"We've met some really interesting people with some pretty strong backgrounds," he said. "Especially students which have been harder to reach out to. A lot of them don't necessarily know how to reach out ... We want to find some younger people. They're way hungrier and they've got the passion for it all. It's been good so far."
A representative from Spotify began to tell us that they were here looking for software engineers, product management people and designers, before she was interrupted by a women who identified herself as the "head of the recruiting team in the U.S."
"Are you a reporter?" she asked.
Betabeat identified ourselves as press a second time.
"Are you looking for a new job or are you interviewing us for the article that you're doing?"
We explained—again—that we were seeking comment for our story
"Yeah, I'm head of the recruiting team in the U.S.," she said. "Yeah, Definiteley, Unfortunately I can't let anything get published about it. Our PR team might have a freak out," she said. "Thanks for stopping by though."
7 World Trade Center
Where startup careers are born.