Article by Ellinor Magnusson, Practice Manager in Jobspring San Francisco.
The current job market is in one of the best we've seen in years. Whether you believe we are in a bubble about to burst or that this upswing will continue, the demanding market is impossible to ignore. In October of 2014, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics released its unemployment report stating that "nearly 2.3 million jobs have been added." It went on to report that "the unemployment rate also declined by 0.1 percentage points...which is the lowest rate we’ve seen since September, 2008."
With so many jobs being added, one of the most booming industries today is the tech industry. Year after year, the tech field grows with startups and IPOs that create new job opportunities. This results in a never ending fight for talent in engineering fields. UI/UX designers, software engineers, and IT professionals are getting their choice of where they want to work, while hiring managers are scrambling to compete for the best talent. The boom of more open engineering positions has caused a shift from the employer’s market to the candidate’s market.
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Everyone, from early-stage startups to large corporations, is figuring out ways to attract top talent through an overflow of compensation, unique perks, and creative hiring processes. In a previous Jobspring blog, I discussed how certain technologies can help attract top candidates during hiring. Another successful tactic encountered all over metropolitan cities is hiring entry-level or junior-level engineers. While it may seem that hiring seasoned professionals is essential for building a business, there are actually many benefits to hiring junior.
Hiring junior engineers has already become popular in some larger companies. Many have started recruiting right out of universities, and that trend is catching. This can be seen in the number of intern or entry-level engineering positions opening up at companies like Salesforce, Facebook, and Oracle. With giant companies adopting these practices to help fill their empty engineering seats, midsize companies and startups are slowly starting to adopt the same strategy.
This hiring practice can save a company time and money. Everyone is looking for that perfect senior-level engineer that meets all the requirements of every tool and technology used. In an ideal world, finding and hiring a senior engineer would be easy and quick. However, the problem is that everyone is looking for the same thing in a market that is tilted in the candidates’ favor. Even if you are able to find and interview the talent, securing acceptance of a job offer is becoming exceedingly difficult considering the competition. Also, simply finding that talent can take anywhere from 1-6 months depending on the size of the laundry list of qualifications. In this case, it makes more sense to hire junior. If the engineering team has the bandwidth to mentor, take a month to find a junior engineer at a much lower salary than a senior one. Once they are hired, mentor them for a few months and mold them into the ideal employee. This process will take less time and money than it would to find the perfect senior engineer.
Additionally, hiring junior engineers can introduce a new attitude and work ethic not found in some of the seasoned ones. Entry-level engineers are hungry for work and passionate about coding. They will come into a company eager to learn without having been jaded by previous work. With a bit of molding, they will harness their interest in code and become a valuable employee.
In this candidate-driven market, it may feel like the large tech corporations have the advantage. They use their brand as a major weapon in the hiring competition. It is no secret that they have an upper hand with engineers of all levels. Midsize companies and startups are being forced to change their hiring process to compete. These days, it is essential for smaller companies to shrink their qualifications list and open up to hiring junior engineers. These lower level hires will benefit smaller companies financially and culturally with lower salaries, faster hire rates, and passionate employees. Not to mention, closing jobs that have been open for months and improving a company's mentorship program can be incredibly gratifying.
Article by Elise Rheiner, Practice Manager in Jobspring Los Angeles.
After the holidays and my birthday each year, I break out my “thank you” stationary and get to work on writing a personal letter to everyone I received a gift from. I even consider a long drive to spend time together a gift. While I am a bit old-fashioned in using snail mail for my family and friends to say thanks, one of the most underutilized and helpful techniques in your job search is sending a simple “thank you” email.
Writing a thank you email doesn’t take longer than five minutes, and can be the deciding factor in whether or not you get a job offer. When you are one interviewee amongst a group, who do you think the hiring manager/company will remember? A thank you email will set you apart from the other applicants who are just crossing their fingers in hopes of receiving an offer. Even if there are no other candidates that a company is interviewing for a certain role, they may still have concerns about whether you would be a good fit. A thank you letter can address these concerns. Be sure to speak to your recruiter and ask if there are any concerns or clarifying factors you can address in your email.
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Be personal and genuine. Just like with your cover letter, it is obvious to employers when you are sending the same generalized “thank you” to every company you interview with. An easy first step is to take note of everyone you meet with during the interview process. It can be hard when you are in a technical interview and end up meeting with three C-level executives and ten members of the technical team, but there should be a few people that you spoke with for longer than a quick “hello.” Draw on the conversations you had with people individually. What did you speak about? It does not have to be anything technical – it can even be personal.
Be specific and ask yourself questions. What specifically intrigued you about this opportunity? Is it what you would be building, what the company stands for, or did you love the team and the people you would be working with? Why do you think you are a good fit for this position? What makes you the best hire for the job? Be sure to address why you would not only be a good employee for the company as a whole, but why you would be the best fit as the newest team member in the department you interviewed to join. This is where you can answer any remaining questions or concerns the company may have, and answer them with factual experience.
A thank you email does not need to be a novel, but it should not be just a few short sentences either. Do some self-reflection and after-interview thinking, and then take a few minutes to write that email. A thank you can be that deciding factor in getting you an offer for your dream job!
Article by Jason Cooper, Practice Manager in Jobspring Silicon Valley.
The term Silicon Valley dates back to the 1970’s and gained popularity in the 1980’s. Initially, it referred to the large concentration of chip companies in the area because silicon is used to create most commercial semiconductors. It has since come to refer to all of the high-tech innovation in the Bay Area. Today, there is still a plethora of prominent chip companies in Silicon Valley. However, the Silicon Valley became just as, if not more, well known for web-based software companies at the turn of the millennium. As someone who manages a recruiting team that specializes in embedded systems, I’ve found the ups and downs of hardware-based ventures in the valley very interesting.
Companies like Intel, HP, Apple, and IBM were early innovators and were instrumental in the rise of the personal computer. Having a computer in your home wasn’t a foreign concept in the 70’s and 80’s, but it really didn’t become mainstream until the 90’s and the Internet boom. Once people realized the value of email, chat rooms, online shopping, etc., we saw greater adoption as well as a surge of financial investments in Internet startups. Some of them, such as Google, Amazon, and Yahoo still exist and thrive today. However, there were plenty of .coms that generated little to no revenue, were grossly overvalued, and ultimately failed, which resulted in a recession when the bubble burst.
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Slowly but surely, the market bounced back and venture capital firms began to invest in Silicon Valley and technology startups again. Seemingly, Silicon Valley has transitioned away from innovation in hardware over the years with a stronger focus on software and the web. There continues to be many examples of success in this area with IPOs of companies like Facebook, Yelp, and Salesforce, to name a few. I think from an investment standpoint, it made a lot of sense to put your money into software companies. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to build a website or a SAAS platform than it is to create an entirely new piece of hardware. You could rent a small office in Palo Alto with 10 engineers and create a site that attracts millions of users the way Pinterest did just a few years ago. The same couldn’t be said for many hardware-based startups…until recently.
With the introduction of smartphones about 6 years ago, people began to see the value and need to be more connected and have the power of a computer in their pocket. The price of hardware has drastically decreased since, and we are now seeing more and more demand for other forms of mobile devices. GoPro and Nest are both great examples of hardware startups to have successful exits. Whether it be IoT, automotive, fitness trackers, smart watches, augmented reality glasses, home automation, or drones, we are currently seeing the resurgence of hardware in Silicon Valley. It’s a great time to be a firmware or electrical engineer as the demand for such skills hasn’t been this high in years, and we are just at the beginning. Many of these products are still in their early stages and there is plenty of room for continued innovation. Grab your soldering iron and join the hardware renaissance!
Article written by Chris Walek, Practice Manager in Jobspring Chicago.