Written by Jason Cooper, Practice Manager at Jobspring Silicon Valley.
The NASDAQ, traditionally a strong representation of how the market generally values tech companies, eclipsed the 5,000 mark for the first time since 2000 just last month. Thus, it’s logical to ask the question: are we in the midst of another tech bubble? As someone who does technical recruiting for a living, I sure hope not! Since I started with Jobspring in 2010, the demand for engineering talent has increased year over year. In fact, we set several company wide records in terms of performance just last month. The economy and unemployment rates have clearly bounced back from the most recent recession. We’ve seen angel investors and venture capital firms shelling out billions of dollars as well as a wave of tech IPOs over the last couple of years. On the surface, we should be optimistic for the future and hopefully there is more growth and prosperity to come. However, I think there is a general sense of cautious optimism as it was just 15 years ago that the tech bubble burst. So, the real question we should ask is: what happened in 2000 and how is it similar or dissimilar from what we are experiencing now?
The climate in the late 90’s was one in which investors were willing to overlook traditional metrics, such as P/E ratio and instead focus on things like technological advancements with a hope that companies would turn future profits. Things began to unravel in 1999 when the Fed raised interest rates, which slowed the economy and halted growth for Internet startups. The big players such as Microsoft were slashing financial targets, which led to investors becoming weary of these new Internet companies. Shares fell in 2000 as earnings and sales expectations became too high for a lot of the dot-coms to meet. According to the University of Maryland and the University of California San Diego, “by the end of 2004, 52% of dot-com startups that sought venture capital were no longer in existence.” The 90’s were a time in which many investors neglected to really look at companies on an individual basis and got caught up in the whirlwind of the new Internet age. Simply having a dot-com in your name meant you could expect a big IPO because of the excitement around all tech companies at the time.
Find your dream tech role in Silicon Valley today.
Fast forward 15 years and things have definitely changed in 2015. According to data compiled by Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida, “while median valuations have been rising since 2008, firms are coming to market at a fraction of the levels seen during the dot-com period. IPOs were priced at a median of 30 times sales in 2000, compared with 5.2 times last year.” Valuations during the last bubble were abstract, as companies didn’t have significant revenue and earnings. Companies going IPO today are more established and have a track record of revenue and earnings reports that allow banks to make more accurate fact-based valuations. According to Ritter’s research, “businesses backed by venture capital or private-equity firms were on average 12 years old in 2013 when they went public, compared with four years during the dot-com era. The median revenue for companies going public in 2000 was $17 million compared with $109 million in 2013, adjusted for inflation. The average number of IPOs of small companies – those with less than $50 million in annual revenue – declined 83% in the period between 2001 and 2012.” What we are seeing is that startups these days are able to delay IPO by receiving additional funding from investors. “You want to make sure you have a company of reasonable scale before you go public, which ensures much more certainty in the planned financial results,” said Doug Leone, who is a managing partner at venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.
So what do those in Silicon Valley have to say? In an October 2014 article, several folks who made Fortune’s 40 Under 40 List weighed in on the matter Here are some of the responses I found interesting:
· “It’s not a tech bubble. It’s the biggest wave of innovation in the history of the world. It’s a combining of unbelievable forces of cloud, social networks, mobility plus connected products.” - Marc Benioff - CEO, Salesforce.com
· “It’s all cyclical, right? Just take a look at the stock market over the last 60 years. There’s a cycle involved. But we’re not in a tech bubble because companies are making revenues. And I think that was a major difference between what’s happening right now and what’s happening 14 years ago. Companies today are making real money.” - Joe Gebbia - Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder, Airbnb
· “I do think we’re in a bubble. There are too many companies with no business model or no sustainable business model. I’m proud that we have one, but I think there’s going to be some kind of correction.” - Jess Lee - CEO & Co-Founder, Polyvore
· “I believe there’s a lot of optimism in the market right now. Whether there’s a bubble or not a bubble, I believe people are just optimistic. Look at the fact that the PE [price-earnings] ratio is the highest it’s been since 1940 with the exception of 2000.” - Jay Simons - President, Atlassian
So are we in the midst of another tech bubble? It’s hard to say. There are experts in tech, finance, economics, etc. on both sides of the fence. Personally, I think there is a ceiling that we may be encroaching on and I do agree with Joe Gebbia of Airbnb that the market is cyclical. About every 10 years you can count on an economic downturn. Surely, there are some companies right now that are grossly overvalued. Snapchat’s $15 billion dollar valuation comes to mind, but hopefully I’m wrong. I think there will be some sort of market correction in the near future, but probably for not at least a couple of more years. I also don’t think we will see the level of implosion we did back in 2000. It seems companies and investors have learned a lot from the dot-com bubble and are doing their best to avoid making the same mistakes as before.
Article by Del Crockett, Regional Director in Jobspring Washington DC
If you are one of the many tech hiring managers or HR managers out there right now, being tasked with hiring niche-specific technology professionals (i.e. Software, Mobile, Security, DevOps and Front-End Engineers among the most popular), there is a good chance you are utilizing recruiting agencies.
Congratulations, that’s typically a necessary first step for most companies outside of Google and Facebook!
Hire top tech talent in Washington D.C. today.
Unfortunately, many of you are still not getting the attention you want from your vendors. As The Regional Director of our entire Washington, D.C. based tech recruiting operations, I am here to give the inside scoop on why your vendors are not servicing your accounts the way they do some other companies.
#1 – Communication Is Everything
Anyone who has been in a relationship knows it all starts and ends with healthy communication. I often find it perplexing that company representatives (HR and / or hiring managers) want to limit the communication with recruiters.
Using a recruiter is like hiring a consultant from the Big Four – you are bringing on a specialist to provide a service that cannot be fulfilled by internal staff. So why muzzle that consultant? Isn’t the purpose of hiring a consultant to get their perspective and expertise on how to solve the problem at hand?
In a relationship where both company and recruiter have the same goal—namely, getting the position filled with the best applicant in an efficient manner—you would expect a healthy amount of interaction is expected.
The truth is that the best recruiters have deep networks, which means they are getting multiple requests from companies on a daily and weekly basis. Like everyone else, his or her time must be prioritized. When companies minimize or even restrict recruiter communication you can ensure your position will get minimal to no attention. Like anyone else, we find the lack of communication to be a major turn off. Our time is better served where company representatives see value in building a relationship.
The real truth is that the companies who have high communication standards with their vendors typically get first dibs on the best referrals and the best overall quality of service!
#2 – Great job Negotiating Your Vendor to Lower Terms than the Industry Average, But…
Listen, we get it! Every company and department has a budget and paying less when possible is the logical method to running a business. The problem is that in the tech world, demand grotesquely outweighs supply… and then some.
With tech department’s livelihoods dependent on the talent within their teams and the ability to retain and grow staff, handicapping your growth by negotiating below average terms isn’t doing your company any favors. Here’s why.
All respectable agencies know their worth and minimally know what the market standards are for recruiting services. Those standards are in place because a high majority of companies agree to those terms, if not higher. So to come in below those standards in a high demand market where companies have minimal leverage because of the demand is a very ineffective strategy to capturing consistent, high-end referrals from good staffing firms.
Obviously, tech recruiting is a for-profit business and no respectable sales organization is going to discount their services without a great reason. A trend that I have found to be more often true than not, is companies who pay below average vendor fees typically pay below average salaries—and this is a common viewpoint among those who work the industry. Again, this is not an ideal strategy for capturing talent.
In my experience working with companies across the nation for the last nine years, the most attractive companies to work with and work for don’t blink when paying industry standard vendor rates (and employee salaries); and most, pay slightly above to ensure vendors give them top priority when considering where to send their best of best referrals!
#3 The interview - It’s a Sales Job… for you, the Hiring Manager!
Simply put, this is a candidates market; the best in years for technology professionals. Unless your strategy is to wait for the next bubble, by now you should have realized an adjustment is necessary in the way you approach interviews with job seekers (most of which are passive and currently employed).
Some of the most successful companies I have worked with constantly evolve their interviewing practices with a focus on impressing the applicant, not solely just screening them. On the other hand, I often see companies overcomplicating the hiring process. Many of these same companies struggle in the communication department with vendors as aforementioned in the first section. The companies that lack proper communication and overcomplicate the process tend to make the same mistakes.
The most common mistakes?
Managers just screen for technology and culture… and forget to sell themselves and the company: If you want to hire good technical talent, your hiring manager needs to be impressive. Nowadays, it takes a manager who can really sell him or herself, their leadership, vision and management style to capture talent. How good are you at selling yourself? If you have to think about it, then it’s a good idea to put yourself in the position of the applicant and evaluate how the opportunity is presented from the interviewee perspective.
Asking applicants to take a test—especially before 1st round technical interviews: The truth of the matter is that most technical tests, especially the ones created by internal team members simply do not work. They screen out way too many candidates, many of which end up being great additions to other companies. One of the biggest common mistakes is when companies use Google style test to screen for talent despite not actually being Google. Just a reminder, your company is probably not Google, so copying their interview tools may not produce the same result for your company since Google can sell their opportunity on brand alone. Additionally, asking senior level professionals to take a test is almost insulting. Instead, invest time in human interaction first. Otherwise it gives off the perception that you don’t have the internal resources technically to confidently screen for good talent.
Both mistakes not only deter candidates from wanting to work for your company but also deter your vendors from sending you good referrals early and often. If the vendor thinks it is a waste of time because candidates can’t get interested in your opportunity then you can bet your account is not getting the attention it needs to be successful.
Overall, in order to get the best service possible from your vendors, it's important that everyone focus on the end goal. This means leveraging the expertise of your consultant(s) to put your company in a position to be successful hiring the best talent available. It's a competition for talent right now... don’t forget that. Get all the help you can get!
Looking for ways to get more out of your current vendors? Addressing these few pointers should start returning better results almost immediately. Have questions? Feel free to contact Del Crockett at [email protected].
Written by Andrew Slepitza, Division Manager in Jobspring San Francisco
With the first quarter of 2015 already behind us a couple things are certain about the San Francisco tech industry; there are a lot of new companies, it’s hard to find candidates, and salaries are increasing. It’s been a well-known fact for a while now that San Francisco is a candidate’s market with new companies popping up everywhere. However, the trend of salary increases is relatively new and is adding fuel to the fire during hiring processes. Just in the past 12 months alone San Francisco wages have gone up almost 5%. This is the highest in the nation just ahead of Dallas, TX.
Why is this the case?
It’s hard to find talent. It’s no secret that this is the most competitive hiring market that San Francisco has seen in years. There are a lot of companies hiring, but not enough candidates for the positions. Most of the high caliber candidates that Jobspring works with have anywhere between 3-5 offers that they are choosing between. It’s causing companies to get into bidding wars and go above their budgets for positions.
Hire top tech talent in San Francisco today.
On the flip side, candidates know that it is a good market and they are taking advantage of the situation. This is causing an increase in job changes and even some candidates going onto the market simply because they can. These candidates are looking at salary increase as their top priority.
So, what can companies do? The bottom line is to be patient. Don’t be afraid of missing out on the candidate that it will take an arm and a leg to get on board and definitely don’t be afraid to walk away. That candidate is going to be hard to keep happy and may not invest his time fully to his commitment in the company. It is important to remember to look for quality candidates that want the position for the right reasons. Also, live by “A duck is a duck.” If it looks like a duck and walks like one it is one. I see a lot of companies over looking senior level candidates that have short job history. They are overlooking it because of hard it is to find talent and because they do have a really good skill set. They think that their position and their culture will be the position they stay at. If the long term fit is what you are looking for then you’ll only be disappointed when this person leaves a year later after the project you hired them to do is finished.
Additionally, they can take a chance on mid level candidates. Looking to mid-level candidates will allow companies to spend less time in the hiring process and instead using that time to focus on training a candidate with slightly less experience. Instead of spending valuable time in a bidding war for a candidate that may not take the job in the end, look for candidates who may not have as many offers and shape them into the employee you need for the role.
Lastly, remember that culture is key. Look for candidates that are interested in your company for the role and the culture. Conduct interviews that will get candidates excited to work for you and look for the ones that will make a good fit long term. If a candidate feels your office is the perfect fit for them, they are more likely to take an offer at a lower salary than your competitors and will likely stay longer.
With a strong increase in salaries the tech industry continues to boom. Candidates are experiencing a hiring process unlike any they’ve seen in the past. With this shift companies are being forced to change their hiring strategies to get the talent they need. However, with creative thinking and focus on the end goal, companies can acquire the top talent they want.
Article by Daniel Urbaniak, Practice Manager in Jobspring Silicon Valley
Running a sales and recruiting team comes with many challenges; keeping up on technology trends typically falls on the back burner for most. However, those who keep up with the ‘latest and greatest’ trends have the upper hand in educating those you are assisting with their search. The UI/UX design world is no exception, with 88% of young adults being connected to a smartphone it has become imperative to deliver the best user experience to compete. (Creativeblog)
2014 brought us design trends like: The hamburger menu, pushing the limited when it comes to resolution, and the expansion of in-house design teams. With the end of the first quarter on the horizon, I thought it would be a great time to discuss a few of the design trends we will be seeing in 2015.
Ready to hire for your next tech positions?
Lean design has been leading the way in recent design trends. This will continue, but as companies and designers continue to hone lean design and how it lends itself to mobile applications, they also need to set themselves apart. In 2015, we will see (and we have already started to) skeuomorphic cues in lean design. Keep an eye out for additional physical presences; transparency and layers will become more common, apps will continue to look flat and conform to strict grids. The focus of design will revolve around movable objects within the screen. In the summer of 2014, Google transposed this design trend on Material Design.
I am definitely guilty of (over) using the term sticky or stickiness when talking about design. I like the idea of creating applications that not only engage a user on their first use, but also ones that keeps the user interested over extended periods of times or uses. The more our devices become connected to our everyday lives, i.e. thermostats, home security, or digital experience with our cars, the greater the need is for efficient and effective delivery of information. Slippy UX is giving the user an application designed for “glance-ability”. Coined by Jake Zukowski, Assistant Creative Director at Frog Design, "slippy UX is intended to be invisible-enough and non-distracting enough for the user while still delivering and absorbing information".
There are two emerging trends in connectivity, the first being something more apparent every day, even if we are not aware of it. The ability to send information to many devices, syncing with the cloud, and allowing users to maneuver their information has already started to be a driving force in design. Forrester Research found that 90% of users who own multiple devices start a task on one device and finish it on another. In 2015, we will see user experience that functions across all platforms seamlessly, regardless of device or screen size. The second connectivity trend will be an extension of what some of our mobile apps already do: accessing GPS and Bluetooth to respond better to user needs. The combination of these integrations, wearable technology, and the Internet of Things will result in apps that collect data on the user to deliver advice and infer when the device should be delivered. The term to look for here is Ambient Intelligence.
With worldwide IT on track to spend a total of 3.8 trillion in 2015, we will see the above trends and many more, become apparent in our every day lives.(Gartner.com) What trends are you excited about in UI/UX Design for 2015?
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.
Hire passionate engineers in San Francisco
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 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.
Find your next role in Silicon Valley today
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 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
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.
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!
Article by Del Crockett, Regional Director of Jobspring DC.
As the Regional Director of our Washington DC-based technology staffing operations, I am hyperaware of the number of requests we receive from clients and candidates surrounding specific technologies. In the ever-changing landscape of web development, there is no denying that the buzz around AngularJS cannot be ignored.
Here, we will take an insider's look at Angular's impact on the Washington, D.C. web development community from a non-technical point of view.
First: What is AngularJS?
1. Two Way Data-Binding – Write less code!
2. MVC – Done the easy way!
3. Dependency Injection - Ease of development!
4. HTML Templates – Programming within the browser!
5. Unit Testing Ready!
It goes without saying, but is still worth noting, that almost anything that Google puts their hands on is probably worth having in your tool belt!
- 41% of web developers have 3 months or more of professional AngularJS experience.
- 77% of client front-end job openings included AngularJS.
Of those companies…
- 60% requested AngularJS as a must-have skill. 40% listed it as a plus.
- 95% of clients request some variation of framework experience.
(Stats only include commercial/private sector company request)
Finally: Is AngularJS for You?
The choice of framework is clearly subjective and its use is largely dependent on the task at hand. With that being said, there is no denying Angular’s current influence within the community. At the same time, you can find many technical white pages and blogs illustrating why AngularJS is not a great solution and will ultimately flop as a long-standing integrated solution.
Regardless of how you feel technically about its application, there is no denying that the amount of community chatter surrounding AngularJS and the statistics supporting its demand in Washington, D.C. make it worth your attention!