Recruiting is typically a roller coaster business, with ebbs and flows that follow market conditions. But the past couple of years have been like a long straight uphill train ride. I feel like a broken record talking about the high intensity of the LA tech hiring market. But, we continue to have a crazy amount of hiring going on, especially in the start-up arena. Companies continue to all vie for the same handful of superstars – 110% of their wish list must be met. Candidates continue to be reticent about making a move in this market, and want 110% of their wish list met as well. Usually something gives after 3-6 months of recovery – companies become more willing to bend to get a great person with potential, and candidates start to gain confidence in the market as they see the high level of hiring continuing, so more become available, easing the lack of available A-players. But the crazy picky part is persisting, going on nearly 2 years now. This can be attributed to the highly unusual nature of this particular recession/recovery. It normally follows a more predictable trajectory, but this recovery seems to be very fast for tech and very slow for other disciplines, so all parties are wary.
Here is my advice to get hiring back to reasonable levels:
- To all the great potential candidates out there, your local market is hopping! If you have been considering making a move, now is a great time to explore your options. The hiring frenzy has been going on for nearly two years. It’s a trend, not a fluke.
- To all the great hiring companies out there, unless you have the luxury of keeping your jobs open for months on end, this is a great time to go for the person who meets 75% of your needs, and who brings enormous potential and brainpower to your team.
I am lucky enough to interface with hundreds within LA’s tech space each month. And I’m thankful to report that most of them are considerate, professional, ethical and decent. But a minority have some room for improvement in the manners department. Trust me when I say this is a very small city, even if it does sometimes take an hour to go 2 blocks. Pretty please with sugar on top, implement these basic tactics to show respect and professionalism for others. They are no brainers, low time investment and aside from making you an evolved member of LA’s professional space, will yield you a better reputation in our teeny, tiny City of Angels.
- Return calls and emails. If you really don’t want to speak with the person live, call when you know you will get their voicemail. Send an email. Text a text. Message on Facebook. Anything other than silence.
- Give and Take. You can’t just call when you need something. It’s got to be a two way street. Or the other party will remember it.
- Allow closure. If you are a company passing on a candidate, please let them know. Even if it hurts. That’s the number one frustration I hear from candidates on the job hunt. They just want to know, even if it’s bad news.
- Send thank you emails. It has not gone and never will go out of style.
- Send thanks period. If someone does something for you, gives you information, takes the time to interact with you, appreciate it.
- Never, ever, ever, ever be a no-show. We all have emergencies, but only in the most extreme cases are they such that you can’t lob a call or email or text to let the other person know.
These bullets are (or should be) common sense. That old Golden Rule is pretty darn sage. Follow it, and you will find that it’s easy, and takes little extra time. It will do your professional career wonders.
Los Angeles is in a hiring frenzy, at least when it comes to Technology people. Despite what you hear plastered on the news, unemployment numbers apparently do not apply to tech. There are many startups getting funded locally, and those, along with some more mature startups are experience exponential growth. Especially at a hands on level, most good people are working, but despite the mass quantity of local hiring, they are still reticent to make a move and skittish about the market.
Anyone hiring technical people knows that it’s a challenge. However, despite how dearth of available good talent, most companies are still crazy picky. Trust me when I tell you that all of my clients want the exact same non-existent mythical Triple Grade A rock stars. Well, they do exist. But they are probably working at Google and won’t leave.
It’s completely reasonable to want to hold out for the best of the best. However, there is such a propensity to pass on someone sometimes for superficial reasons. Granted, if you are cool having your position open for 6 months, fine. But that is usually too big of a price to pay for most companies. Here are some simple points to consider before you trash a resume:
- Many candidates, especially in tech, write cruddy resumes. They leave stuff off. They are too detailed or too high level. Maybe you have a pet peeve about resumes (you hate it when people do them in Times New Roman, for example ☺). If a resume has even 75% of what you are looking for, give the person a chance and ask the question – ask them to tell you if the X, Y or Z that they may have left off the resume is something they have actually worked with; ask them to tell you what complex problems they have solved using technology – most candidates don’t write resumes from that vantage point; ask them to redo the resume in another font ☺.
- We have all been burned by something or someone in our hiring history. Maybe one too many people said a commute would not be a problem, only to quit 6 months later due to an unbearable commute. Or maybe a hardcore contractor told you they were expecting quadruplets and it was time to settle down into a permanent position, but a year later, they missed the rush of contracting and hit the road again. The bottom line is that each person is an individual and you may be missing a gem by pooling them with others that may look and sound the same as those you have been burned by before. Give them a chance.
- If you can’t tell if a person has all the technical experience you want, it may be well worth 15 minutes of your time to phone screen them and see. If you are working with an agency, provide them with a handful of screening questions – we will often do this for our clients. We can do it live on the phone, so we can accurately capture what they know on the fly, versus emailing them (where anyone can just go on the web to get the answers).
- Last, but not least, some extremely smart, talented people don’t have degrees. Or they have a degree that they got while working at a University that may make you turn up your nose. You never know a person’s personal situation. Maybe they had to care for family and could not go to college. Hey, if a person has the gumption, ambition and ability to get a degree – any degree – while working full time, I tip my hat to them.
I’m not suggesting lowering your standards. However, in a market where you have to reach out to 100 candidates to hear back from 1 person that may be good, it’s worth opening your mind before you trash a resume.