2016 Fall Newsletter
Anyone looking for technical talent in the Bay Area doesn’t need to be told that the number of technology jobs has now surpassed the dot-com era; it’s an understatement to say recruiting is tough!

There are far fewer qualified candidates and companies are rarely in a position to train people given time to market pressures.  Most of the valley darlings like Facebook, Apple, Google are growing rapidly with The Wall Street Journal citing compensation off the charts at most--$200-250K an average paycheck for senior software engineers.

It’s time to take the recruiting tips we’ve offered up in the past to the next level.

It can’t be all about money  

Jobs at big consumer electronics companies can be very narrow, managing a part vs a product, for example, while jobs at resource strapped startups get you involved in things beyond your job description and offer a front row seat to how businesses get built.

Selling the richness of the role, the rapid career development of an under resourced play, the ‘mini-mba’ you can get participating in growing a company, will differentiate conservative cash salary against the big darlings.

Job descriptions are dying—flexibility in the role and the talent interested in YOU are key

With fewer people in the pipeline, cutting edge employers think more about how they can utilize a particular individual’s skills vs how closely they map to a set of bullets on a job description.  You may never find someone with all the skills you’d like.  Splitting tasks across multiple individuals, hiring for the future and rethinking exactly what you need, all may help in lessening the hiring burden.

Be open minded about talent, look for what they can bring to the table vs looking to DQ them

Probably the hardest skill to develop for most young managers, particularly analytics, are the social aspects of wooing a candidate.  Testing is de rigueur in college, but relationships are the key to team success in business.

Think more about lunch, dinner or coffee, talking culture and opportunity and less about grilling, testing and challenging candidates.  It’s part of the process but not the lead story.

Every impression counts, particularly when the candidate pipeline is thin

You’re really lucky to get more than a few candidates interested in any one role that you have open, don’t blow it with a bad experience or message.  Too often the little things, a rogue interviewer, the ill prepared receptionist, or the simple lack of manners in offering drinks or food kills a candidate’s interest in a role.

Plan a candidate onsite in the same way you’d plan having your boss over for dinner.  The details count and preparation shows.

Great recruiters have a deep knowledge of the industry and do the heavy lifting of identifying and pitching prospective candidates on the opportunity.  If all the game you have is ‘key word searching’, good luck, you’ll be competing with hundreds of others for the same people.

‘Posting and Praying’ isn’t a strategy.  The higher the employment rate, the less effective job posts are.

Successful CEOs know that developing an employment brand is critical; you want to be known as a great place to work.  Every interaction people have with your company shapes that, from applying for jobs to coming into work every day.

Pour it on when it comes to recruiting—training, holding people accountable, getting creative, hiring help and most of all spending time on it reaps rewards.
Bill Firing's Tips for Landing a Great Job

As a candidate, you are very aware of the healthy job market.  You are likely inundated with outreach from recruiters and former colleagues on a daily basis.

That said, moving through the process to actually landing that highly coveted role is not a slam-dunk.  The interview process is increasingly rigorous – especially for key roles at top tier firms where the role is paramount to their success.

We’re often surprised how even the best talent stumbles in the initial interview.  Here are a few tips to avoid that mistake.

First – the obvious but often overlooked piece given our busy daily lives – Be Prepared.

There is a wealth of information available to us in this digital age.  We instantly have data about a company, category, competitors and other market dynamics at our fingertips.

Firms aren’t looking to hire lazy people.  Don’t ask questions about information that could easily be obtained on your own beforehand.  Instead, let your questions reflect your own understanding and intellect.

To that end, you want the interviewer to see and hear your passion and interest.

Innovative and contemporary companies are not merely looking to hire your hard skills.  Instead, they are looking for lean-forward, energetic folks who will be both excited and committed to doing great work.

Remember, in an interview you are not committing to taking a job, but you will never have an offer to make that decision later if you don’t demonstrate interest at the outset.

Also, focus on the big and avoid the small.

There will likely be questions about the role that are important to you, but are better left until later.  Or ideally answered through a back channel with a recruiter.

You’ll want to keep initial questions focused on the scope of the role in relation to the challenges and opportunities.  Quickly diverting to questions about telecommuting, working hours or other soft benefits can appear to be small at a time where you will need to nail the big picture.

Lastly, don’t forget to close.

Rather than simply closing out by talking about how excited you would be to be part of the team, you’ll want to make sure you sell yourself.  Without being arrogant, make sure you summarize how your skills and experiences will add value and drive success.  Differentiate yourself.  Let them know who you are and what you can do.
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