Company Culture
Builders Conference / Hiring / Philly Tech Week / Tech jobs / Workplace culture

Despite a tough economic climate, high-growth companies are (still) hiring — and have ideas to help job seekers

Hiring managers and a bootcamp leader offer insight on how to navigate hiring and getting hired right now, sans hot dog fingers.

How weird was the global pandemic for hiring? This weird. (Gif via

This editorial article is a part of State of Local Tech Month of’s editorial calendar.

In a whirlwind reminiscent of the sci-fi adventure movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the past couple of years have been a transformative journey, unraveling our understanding of reality. From massive tech layoffs to the global pandemic and beyond, we have experienced an inter-dimensional rupture that has fundamentally reshaped the job market.

At Builders Conference during Philly Tech Week 2023 presented by Comcast, a group of speakers dove into this theme, highlighting that despite the challenges, everyone is (still) hiring everywhere. The conversation, led by reporter Michaela Althouse, focused on how high-growth tech teams are crafting compelling employer brand stories that deeply resonate with job seekers.

Featured industry leaders and panelists included Heather Nalley, executive director of brand, marketing, talent and learning at Comcast; Jamie Calabria, talent and culture manager at the startup Crossbeam; and Jabari Adams, managing director of company relations at training-focused nonprofit LaunchCode.

Their conversation shed light on the strategies and experiences high-growth companies employ while effectively crafting their employer brand stories. No one left the session with hot dogs for fingers (like the famed scene in the aforementioned film), but they did leave fed by the wealth of knowledge shared by these panelists. Kind of like if you did eat a hot dog.

Oscar-winning movies aside, the session’s themes revolved around fostering diversity, alternative approaches to cover letters, career growth, inclusive hiring processes, apprenticeship programs and the value of referrals. Here’s a compendium of those perspectives:

  • It’s really about getting companies to understand that you need to diversify their pipelines, according to LaunchCode’s Adams.
  • Calabria’s offer to candidates: Don’t submit a cover letter. Personally, they have no interest in reading cover letters. They said to instead focus on answering the questions provided in the application: “The questions we ask are carefully designed to gather the information we’re looking for. If I ask you to explain something in your own words, don’t provide me with marketing jargon. Take the time to understand what we do and provide thoughtful responses. While I appreciate the effort, please refrain from sending a cover letter.”
  • Nalley said Comcast focuses on career growth and flexibility in its hiring strategy, allowing employees to explore different roles, teams and brands. The company prioritizes hiring for skills rather than specific roles to ensure adaptability as the business and technology evolve, promoting long-term career development and continuous learning.
  • Calabria said they consulted with their manager and other colleagues while preparing for the panel, and found that what sets Crossbeam apart from other organizations is the people. They added that not only are they involved in the hiring process, but the company also has to hire managers who are trained to have difficult conversations and contribute to what Crossbeam looking for.
  • Comcast’s Nalley emphasized the company’s commitment to cultivating talent within. It invests in employees through diverse learning opportunities and upskilling programs, maintains transparency about open job roles and promotes career mobility, encouraging employees to take on new challenges and grow within the organization. This process can eliminate the need to seek external opportunities for personal development.
  • At Crossbeam, the hiring team involves everyone in the company in the hiring process. So if you join Crossbeam, you’ll likely be part of the interview process at some point. “We believe in making collective decisions from the start to truly embrace that opportunity,” Calabria said.
  • The crew at LaunchCode finds themselves “on the opposite end of the spectrum,” as Adams offered during the panel that they foster a symbiotic relationship between companies and apprentices through its apprenticeship program. This offers companies the chance to test new talent while providing apprentices with opportunities to enter the tech industry and grow alongside the companies.
  • From Calabria: “We have this opportunity to get folks in the door through word of mouth. Crossbeam doesn’t have a referral bonus in place but one-quarter of all of our hires last year were referrals.”
Companies: LaunchCode / Crossbeam / Comcast

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