Welcome to a new series called Insider Knowledge, where we showcase people who are doing cool or amazing or interesting things in IT and the tech industry. More than a profile, we want to know the nuts and bolts of a particular career path so that readers like you can see there’s more than one way to find a dream job in tech.
Cool Tech Person: Kacey Short
Cool Tech Job: Program Manager, Diversity and Inclusion at Tinder, an online dating app
What does that mean in layman’s terms? I own the Employer Branding, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs and University Recruitment at Tinder. Essentially, it is my job to ensure Tinder has an inclusive culture while also empowering underrepresented minorities in tech.
What makes your job cool? First, the people I work with—they are silly, passionate, supportive, and I can always count on them to make me laugh from my belly multiple times a day. Secondly, the Tinder product is all about creating connections and meeting new people (whether platonic or romantic) and it’s a mission I’m proud to stand by.
What’s your story? I received my BA in Women’s & Gender Studies with a minor in Human Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University. I interned for the Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality during my senior year which resulted in a full time role post-graduation. I left C.R.E.G.S. to study for the GRE and GMAT when I randomly fell into recruiting. Fast-forward five years and I’m still in tech and currently enrolled in online courses through Cornell for Diversity and Inclusion in Practice for HR. I’m planning on completing the program by April 2019.
How did you get to this position? I was ready for a change of scenery from the San Francisco so I applied to tech recruiter roles in Seattle and LA. Thankfully, I found the role at Tinder and received an offer to join the Recruiting team. With my degree, I always dreamed of marrying my passion for social work with the tech industry. I volunteered to take on side projects in the diversity, equality and inclusion space, and after a year of conversations with my manager and higher-ups, I was offered the opportunity to be the first person in this role at the company. Being vocal about your passions pays off!
How does tech play into your position and daily work? We all use technology to get our jobs done but on top of that, engineers are the majority at my company and it’s my job to support them. Personally, understanding different people’s communication styles (slack vs. email vs. in person) is critical when it comes to building trust and getting buy-in for new programs.
What do you need to know to be able to hire with confidence and how do you stay up on that knowledge? If you own most of the mobile engineering requirements, you need to be up to date with the newest technologies and languages. Same goes for backend, DevOps, web, data analytics, etc. A lot of engineers build their personal brand through Medium blogs, Twitter posts, Stack Overflow and GitHub accounts. With that said, the best way to be in the know for your own company and the teams you hire for is to sit in on their engineering meetings and get regular face time with the hiring manager. This ensures that you’re asking candidates the right questions and are able to decipher their answers.
How can you tell someone is going to be successful at Tinder? People who are passionate, willing to share their opinions/ideas and have low ego will thrive at Tinder. We’re not looking for engineers to come in, keep their heads down for eight hours, code, then leave at the end of the day. We’re looking for people who want to engage in dialogue, but are humble enough to not take it personally if the team decides to go in a different direction.
What has surprised you about your career path in IT? I’m surprised by how fulfilled I am by working in tech. Again, it was never something I thought was possible or had interest in growing up. Coming to the realization that I’m still helping people—just not in the way I envisioned—was a huge “aha” moment.
If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing about working in IT, what would it be? I’d tell my younger self to not be so intimidated by tech and the people who work in it. Early in my career (and sometimes to this day), I experienced impostor syndrome because I didn’t have a technical background. This left me feeling less than and there were a few negative interactions early on that amplified it, but I’m glad I didn’t give up. There will always be people who put you down or question your abilities but they’re part of the journey to finding who you are.
Thanks Kacey! Find Kacey on LinkedIn.