Jobspring Partners: Talent in Action

The Jobspring Experience


Archive: November - 2014 (4)

  • Capturing 'A' Talent

    Article by Julie Colgate, Practice Manager in Jobspring DC.

    I have worked with countless clients in the DC area and when discussing what they are looking for in candidates, I hear a similar response over and over again, "I want the best of the best. 'A' talent." At this point, it's almost laughable. Of course companies want 'A' talent! The best part of my job is when I can be an advisor to these companies and help them capture that 'A' talent. There are three big pieces to reeling in those highly sought-after job seekers.

    Employer Branding

    When a candidate is looking for a new job and they are starting the interview process, they want to be as prepared as possible for their interviews. They will research the company, look over the job description, and brush up on their tech and interviewing skills. What companies don’t always think about is that job-seekers are also looking at company reviews, using sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Google, and Yelp. Have a low rating on these sites? A candidate may not be as inclined to interview with your company or they might get a bad taste in their mouth before even interviewing. Have your employees write a review of their experience so far with the organization to get your rating up. Reach out to customers/end-users that you have been in touch with and ask them to write a review on your organization. Candidates that see a positive review on your company will be more excited to interview and have positive preconceived notions before interviewing.

    Candidate Selling

    When a job seeker is interviewing with your company, he/she is selling themselves in the best way possible. Discussing relevant experiences, talking about the cutting-edge technologies that they have worked with, and how/why they can be a good fit for your organization and a great addition to the team. As a potential employer, you should also be selling them on why they should want to work for you and your organization. Give real life examples of what "a day in the life" looks like. Talk with them about the retention rate of the organization and growth potential for them—these things matter to job seekers. As much as you are interviewing them, this candidate will be interviewing you and the company to see if this is a place where they want to work.

    Find Your Next Team Member Today

    For a more difficult job seeker, or someone that the team is very excited about, you may have to have a more personalized recruiting effort. Have candidates sit down with an employee that has been with the company for around a year or less and have that employee share their experience with the company so far and why they joined the organization. Also, talk with your team about what they are touching base on with job seekers. Each person that a candidate sits down with should share a different part of the organization or story, that way you can ensure that you are covering everything and that there is no unnecessary overlap.

    Speed of Getting Someone through the Interview Process

    The one thing that makes it difficult to capture 'A' talent is a long and lengthy interview process. Anything more than 2-3 steps to get someone on-board is way too long and will result in a job seeker taking another offer. Specifically, if someone is top-tier talent, they will have a lot of interviews going on. Having a 4+ step process is the best way to lose a candidate that you are interested in. They will either take another offer or lose interest entirely. To ensure that you are getting candidates through a speedy process, ensure that you are covering everything: a 30-45 minute phone interview covering their background and some technical questions, and an in-person and final interview on-site lasting around 3 hours. After that, you should confidently know if you want to hire that person or if you’d like to pass. Any interview process that goes longer than that will result in job seekers losing interest or accepting another offer.

    These might seem like simple or even obvious things, but implementing them will go a long way in ensuring that your company captures the top talent out there.

  • Silicon Valley Talent Wars: Is broadcasting $250k salaries the right move for anyone?

    Article by Scott Purcell, Division Manager in Jobspring Silicon Valley.

    Salary in Silicon Valley has always been a hot topic. Way back in the old days of 2013, I wrote what became a popular blog post about at 175k offer generated for a Big Data candidate that was turned down for an opportunity at pre-IPO twitter. Since then, things have only heated up here in Silicon Valley with companies ranging from Facebook and Google to the brand name pre-IPO companies like Box and Palantir to the next generation of startup hopefuls, all competing for the best talent.

    Companies have tried varied tactics to attract talent ranging from salary, equity, sign on bonuses, fun perks, to good old fashion selling their opportunity. But what is the best way to attract talent? Recently, there was an article with wide circulation that discussed a local startup offering $250k per year and $1 Million dollars in four years to any engineer that essentially meets their expectation. This article kind of got me thinking; should companies be going out of their way to use this tactic to attract talent? I’m not suggesting there’s a right or wrong answer and I also don’t think $250k is as much as it sounds in Silicon Valley, but I thought I’d share my pros and cons of advertising what is still an explosive salary these days in Silicon Valley:

    Find Your Next Career in Silicon Valley

    Pro Argument:

    The main pro here is, who isn’t attracted to making a million bucks or 200k + a year to do their job if that’s above the normal salary? Most would like the idea. Ultimately, the software engineers are the ones that build the product, so why not pay them what executives and some sales people are making at companies? This seems pretty logical. Being transparent about this also creates a somewhat level playing field and avoids issues that can arise when you have people making different amounts.

    As a recruiter that has worked with over 500 companies during my career, I often hear companies talk about why someone should take their job for less money because of the potential equity, career opportunity, or many other factors that can’t really be guaranteed. It is refreshing that a company would reward the employee up front vs. the promise of something in the future that may or may not happen.  

    Cons Argument:

    On the flip side, to me, it would seem there are some definite risks to attracting the right employees by putting out what is essentially an advertisement to come to a place because of salary. As I mentioned in the pros, who wouldn’t be attracted to that type of offer? Why is that a problem? Well, I would imagine that any engineer would want to apply for that potential offer. It may be difficult to determine who really is passionate about the opportunity. If that doesn’t matter to you and you just want the talent, then that doesn’t matter as much. But most startups I've dealt with care about company culture and that’s exactly the reason companies like Amazon and Google have unique and intricate hiring committees. You run the risk of hiring people that know how to interview well and are really just after the money. It may be difficult, even impossible to know who really is passionate about the opportunity and, in an industry where the best people seem to value employees who do their job out of a passion and not just as a job, this could definitely be a slippery slope.

    I would sum up this topic by asking another question, is $250k that crazy of a salary these days in Silicon Valley? In a place where getting a house for a family in a good school district can cost a minimum of $1 Million - $2 Million dollars, that may be an interesting topic or question to ponder moving forward!

    Find your next career

  • DevOps: Fad or Future?

    Article written by Shane Tomlinson, Practice Manager of Jobspring Boston

    I would consider DevOps an umbrella term for many different types of positions. When someone is taking a DevOps job, they really need to look at the responsibilities they will have, and what the business needs are going to be. DevOps came around when cloud computing came into existence and companies realized they no longer needed a physical infrastructure. This created a butterfly effect, where startups saw this as an opportunity to hire additional developers to create their product, but also gave them the workload of maintaining their infrastructure while cutting costs. Since then, DevOps has evolved. My definition of DevOps would be someone that can really bridge the gap between development and operations. This would be someone that is a Senior Operations Engineer that also has an understanding of software development. With that role come the responsibilities of configuration management, cloud computing, and the ability to really make deployments seamless. Ideally, most companies are looking for someone that has specific experience doing repeatable builds through agnostic environments and deploying the same code/app on multiple environments such as physical and other cloud providers.

    In the beginning, a technical department was very black and white. You could really look at it as employees either being on the operations/IT side, or the development side. The DevOps roles are very much in the grey area and straddle the line between both. When hiring someone in DevOps, it really starts with the company defining their needs and then customizing the position for the skillset of a candidate. Companies can’t expect to hire someone that is going to be at the senior level in all aspects of a tech department, but they can look for someone that is more of a generalist to help out with operations, programming, QA, and pushing out releases. This can be a double-edged sword though, as some candidates might only have an interest in, or experience with, certain pieces of that equation and can easily be misled by a job description or during an interview.

    I believe this type of skill set is really going to be the future, and companies are going to continue to look for it. This skillset gives companies the ability to automate an infrastructure which will then drastically cut down on costs in the tech department. Automation can really help to make things easier by not only cutting down time, but also by making things more predictable which enables teams to be more proactive rather than reactive. Also, cloud computing can really cut down the cost, giving companies huge advantages, specifically in scalability. Instead of having to buy physical servers, it gives you the ability to not only scale up, but just as important, the ability to scale down. Cloud computing also saves costs by just reducing space needed to store servers and everything needed to maintain those servers.

    In my opinion, the concept of DevOps is definitely the future. Maybe not from a skill set perspective, but from the perspective that companies are starting to become much more tech agnostic and are breaking the barriers between “department responsibilities”. This is especially helpful for continuous deployments and continuous integration for faster and more stable releases, and made possible by more and more companies moving to an agile environment.

  • The Fight for Software Talent

    Article by Jennifer Setter, Practice Manager in Jobspring New York.

    Over the past 7 years, there has been a huge shift in the software technology market. Fortunately, we have made it out of a recession and into a highly profitable market, which has been led by a broad and varying field of technologists. The current unemployment rate for individuals with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science is less than 2%. This is in comparison to the national unemployment rate of 6.3%. 

    If you are an experienced software engineer today, you are most likely employed and content in your current situation. If you are a software technology executive, you are most likely starving for talent and perhaps unclear on how to fill your open software positions with good engineers. In other words, the demand is much higher than the supply. While this is a problem for employers, it’s a huge advantage for a software engineer who is passively on the job market. Keeping an ear open to new positions means that you have a lot of power over your own situation—and you will reap the benefits.

    Because nearly every software technology company is hiring, you will have your fair share of options, from VC funded start-ups to well-known public organizations. All that you have to consider is what motivates your career. Pin-pointing things such as working in an industry that excites you, learning a new technology, or having a social office space are what will define your next career move. Once you start interviewing with various companies, you will find that you are on the advantageous side an offer negotiation. Since most companies are hiring the passive candidate, you can also expect to see about a 5-7% pay increase from one job to the next. Your options are endless and you won’t know what’s out there until you look.

    Anxiety might arise about leaving a current job for a new one: You don’t want to burn bridges or let anyone down. The reality is that everyone makes decisions based on what is best for them, and fortunately, this is something that a good boss will understand. If you have a strong relationship with your boss or coworkers, that relationship will stay intact whether you stay or go. The average lifespan of a software engineer at one job is a year and a half. You will be neither the first nor the last to leave a company that you are personally connected to.

    From a company’s perspective, the competitiveness of finding and landing top talent isn’t so glamorous. Like every other shop in town, you want to hire the best talent for your team. If you really want to draw in someone from the upper echelon, you need to be aware of why a prospective employee could be attracted to your company. Are you implementing the latest and greatest technologies? Do you have special perks such as flexible work hours or the ability to work remotely? Many executives are passionate about their product and like to think that the engineer they hire will automatically share that same passion. While this may be true for some companies, they are certainly in the minority. As a company that is looking to hire top-tier software engineers, you must really evaluate the perks that only your company can offer. This is what will reel in the right candidates.

    At the end of the day, the technology market is profitable, competitive, and growing rapidly. Engineers are a hot commodity, and they have their fair share of career options with the opportunity to make a lot of money. Technology executives have the opportunity to profit on a market that has unlimited potential, but they have a harsh competition to beat out their competitors. The best product is made when the right people come together with the right companies, and this will only happen when both sides are open to seeing what each can do for the other.

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