How do we define Technical Recruitment? At EnGn (www.theEnGn.com), a specialized technical staffing firm in Portland, OR, we like to say it is the closest thing to being a professional athlete as it comes.
Probably doesn’t make sense, but I will elaborate more. A professional athlete experiences the highest highs and lowest lows during a single game. In one moment an incredible play or shot puts you in the lead only to have victory snatched from your grasp by late foul charge and a 45 yard field goal. The emotional and physical roller coaster is hard to match. While our bodies may not be getting abused by a 300 pound slab of muscle trained to kill us, in technical recruitment we still ride the highs and lows. An example is when we find and recruit a person that represents .0003% of the workforce who is a gifted software architect capable of designing enterprise, Ios or droid mobile, and cloud base applications willing to move to Portland Oregon and make 10% less than the market is commanding. YES..! Finding that person is like hitting a three pointer at the buzzer. There are days when we scour the landscape for technical talent only to receive 25 no’s, 15 maybes, and 7 hang ups – brutal right? Not even close. Making calls to people and offering an opportunity to consider $125k+ job is not so bad. Our lows are when you found the person (mentioned aboved) and then walk them right up the finish line where our client loves them, they love the job and client, and then have the offer declined because the "trailing partner" gets accepted to a PHD program for the study of micro-chameleons in Madagascar. Now that stings! Your candidate is gone, client is blown-away because they just saw their window to build the next best thing vanish and we are sitting empty handed with a substantial fee wiped from the proverbial WIN board.
Suck it up! "First place is a new Cadillac, second place is a set of steak knives, third place is... you're fired" This is a game where you are guaranteed to be under .500. You WILL lose more than you win.
You may ask, why do people jump into this career then? My answer will be formulated during this 6 month blog topic, but I will leave you with one word and one phrase. Word: Adrenaline. Phrase: I am 5 foot 8, with a size 9 shoe size; I will never be a pro athlete. Stay tuned for our next edition of “the day in the life of technical recruitment” as we will dive deep into the caverns of this profession.
Certainly we know at EnGn that recruiting for great .net, java, ruby, mobile, and salesforce developers in Portland was never easy.
However, as a panelist for a recent Tech. America event I was pleasantly surprised to see that interest in attracting talent was top of mind once again. For an event like this to fill up generally means a tipping point as been reached where the ability to find talent to grow the business is impacting how a business can accomplish key objectives. With recent BLS statistics showing that software and application developers are running only a 3.6% unemployment it shouldn't be a surprise.
I had 10 minutes to discuss what is going on in town regarding recruiting Portland technical talent. Given how long-winded I generally am this was the hardest part of the morning. I picked one thing. Talent communities. Find a couple internal evangelists (especially ones in key job categories where you expect to grow). Build a plan and set goals. Arm them with any number of tools. Listen, talk, engage, and promote all things wonderful about what you are doing in your company. Do it now and do it even when things slow down. In other words, this the web 2.0 of what old school recruiters, like me, used to call recruiting for a drawyer. The difference is we have access to amazing, interactive, integrated, and cheap tools to do so. Obviously, I am truncating a much broader and very interesting conversation/program that could be had. 10 minutes is 10 minutes.
After the event I got a chance to meet with some folks from Learning for Leverage (formerly Oregon Training Network) and they are putting on what appears to be a timely training day later this month: Foster the People: How to Attract and Keep Top Tech. Talent It is being held at Stoel Rives on February 21st. Check it out. Your competition for talent could be.
As the tech. industry acknowledges and embraces the power of mobile computing, we at the EnGn have seen a greater demand for candidates with mobile development experience. HTML5 paves the way for a highly interactive experience users can use on mobile internet browsers, but the greater focus has been in building native "apps" for the Google Android and Apple iOS mobile operating systems.
Mobile apps provide users a customized user experience specific to their phone or tablet, and it makes the entire user experience more friendly and visuallly appealing. As a tech hotbed, Portland Oregon has its own mobile community of developers from established companies and startups. The Mobile Portland community meets on the last monday of every month. As Portland technical recruiters for EnGn Matt Levine and Peter McRobert attended the last meeting held at Urban Airship, a local mobile startup, to learn more about the Portland mobile software development movement and stay abreast of the issues. They went knowing the skills were in demand but left with a new appreciation for the growing tital wave just around the corner. Another take away was that the Portland mobile application development community seemed to prefer ios applications development over Android. While Android development will take advantage of Portland's Java software development expertise for now Matt and Peter felt iOS is where most were wanting to spend their time.