Glassdoor recently announced the promotion of Bhawna Singh to senior vice president of engineering and chief technology officer. In this new role, she'll lead and oversee all of Glassdoor's engineering operations, the company's websites and mobile platforms, in addition to its software engineering, data platform and machine learning teams.
Glassdoor CEO, Christian Sutherland-Wong, made his unequivocal support clear, saying "Bhawna has demonstrated exemplary leadership in every role she's held at Glassdoor and I look forward to working even closer with her. I have full confidence in Bhawna and Glassdoor's engineering team as we work towards achieving our mission of helping people everywhere find a job and company they love."
I sat down (virtually) with Bhawna to chat about what's ahead.
Q: Congratulations, Bhawna! This is such a great opportunity for you - and an incredible boon for Glassdoor. I'm sure you've got a lot on your plate at the moment, but how are you feeling overall?
A: Thank you, Marielle. I am humbled by the support I have received from everyone as I take on this role. It goes without saying that we are living in a changed world right now, with more workforce working remotely and unemployment on the rise. And personally I believe that in these changing times, Glassdoor has an even more crucial part to play. With more adoption of working and interviewing remotely, the responsibility falls on us to keep this workforce informed of the company environment. We will continue to build on the workplace transparency we stand for while helping our employers attract the right talent since office buildings, free food or location will not be a sticking point for everyone anymore. We have a bold mission, and I'm excited to lead the engineering team as we strive to build and deliver innovative solutions to help job seekers and employers at a time they need Glassdoor most.
Q: Can you tell me a little about your path to this role?
A: I joined Glassdoor in 2016 to lead our Jobs Search engineering teams while also building out our San Francisco office with engineering and product talent. Before taking on the CTO role, I was leading the consumer engineering and machine learning teams. Prior to joining Glassdoor, I was senior director of engineering at Ask.com, where I led the search intelligence organization that focused on search, machine learning, data science and platform services.
Q: Can you share your top 3 priorities for, say, the next 3 months or so?
A: With Covid, our everyday working environment has changed, and my first priority is to understand what more can we do to support our teams. We are also on a path to innovate in our product offerings for both our job seekers and employers. Responding to this pandemic itself, we rolled out features for our users to help weather the spike in unemployment by highlighting employers who are actively hiring. A similar feature is available for employers to mark themselves as "surge hiring" during COVID to help them be more visible in the search. At Glassdoor, we are actively responding to the changing world we live in, and I am actively working with my engineering teams to ensure we are set up effectively to support these needs with our product. Lastly, an overarching priority for me is working with my engineering leaders to lay out our long term vision and plan, taking this changed working environment into consideration.
Q: Tell me a little about what resonates with you most about the mission at Glassdoor - and how that translates into motivation for you day in, day out?
A: Glassdoor disrupted the recruiting industry by bringing transparency to the employment process. The insights we provide to our users through our data helps them make an informed career decision. If we are bringing transparency into the working environment of other employers, it is only right for us to hold ourselves to the same bar.
Transparency as one of our values has helped us build stronger trust with our teams and create an environment of open conversation. And when everyone understands the rationality behind every decision we make, rallying behind that decision is so much easier. I feel this is the reason we have made a bigger impact with our smaller teams. There is a reason that Glassdoor as a brand stands in direct competition to the biggest players in our industry. When I am trusted with some confidential information, while I feel responsible to hold on to that information, I also feel respected.
Q: When you're hiring someone for your team, what are the top attributes you look for in a candidate?
A: Apart from the specific requirements for a role, we look for a candidate's motivation for the role, ability to collaborate with people s/he will work with, actions they took in difficult situations in the past, and how working at Glassdoor can help with their career journey. I believe it's important that we evaluate through the interview process the core value the candidate will bring to the team and how we can help the candidate's learning and growth.
Q: What's your best advice for advancing into a role like this?
A: As a leader, it is key to take ownership of your responsibilities and provide a clearly defined vision and goals to the larger team about where we are, where we need to go and how far we are from the end goal. I also believe it's critical to invest heavily in developing new leaders on the team at all levels. Personally I believe in continuous learning and evolving, which is why I value the professional development of all members of my team so deeply. I collaborate with my team to continuously assess what's working for us and what's not, so we can constantly evolve ourselves into a more efficient and engaged engineering organization.
Bhawna Singh holds master's degrees in software engineering from San Jose State University and in computer applications from Gujarat University, in addition to a bachelor's degree in electronics from Gujarat University.
Learn more about the Glassdoor Executive Team.