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.
At Generator Group and EnGn we have much to be thankful for. 2011 brought so many things. We certainly got to see the market and economy capitulate significantly with many businesses still unclear on new regulations and policy coming from Congress and the current administration. Healthcare reform still remains a significant question mark for businesses and HR, and as if recruiting technical talent (java, C#, Salesforce, visualforce, cloud, .net, systems, networking) wasn't hard enough, OFCCP hiring audits have been and will continue to rise.
Recruiters you better be on your game tracking every candidate source and disposition! Recently when talking with my colleagues and clients who are "in-house", seven out of ten corporate recruiters said tracking this information was over 25% of their job. For larger clients (fortune 500) it was 5 out of 5 and the percentage of time spent was higher. While we all unnanimously agree with non-discrimanatory hiring, what if our colleagues in-house could spend more time recruiting? Hmmm... perhaps I should count my blessings :-)
On to the good stuff. EnGn, LLC which used to be the Technical Services Practice of Generator Group, launched in June and revved to a 230% growth in top-line revenue from 2010 to 2011. This was certainly one of our highest growth years since I helped found Generator Group in 2001. Based on our goals for 2012 we hope to once again get recognized by the Portland Business Journal as one of the fastest growing private businesses.
We expect the continued focus on just software, information technology, and engineering professionals at all levels to help make this coming year another good one. It is also very apparent there is a growing title wave of demand for cloud and mobile applications development. Experience with iOS2-iOS5 or Android is skyrocketing. In addition to the focus we have invested heavily in back-office automation components of the recruiting process. This ranges from contractor time tracking, background screening, and to one of the most powerful recruiting Business Intelligence (BI) tools I have ever come across. When you marry those efficiency gains with a completely integrated suite of apps that are connected to social media, and hanging out in the cloud, we believe it enables us to do more of what we do best. That is to connect with our clients, candidates, and the community.
I also have to call out a team member on EnGn who made it happen in 2011. While we have a solid team, his performance was monumental and stood out. Michael Korn was instrumental in helping to sell, recruit, or close over $500k in revenue. It is because of this and a personal drive to grow EnGn after only 1.5 years of working at Generator Group, he is now a partner and owner in the business.
A warm appreciation must also go out tothe 20+ clients we helped fill positions with in 2011. Thank you for trusting us to help grow your companies! We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of people and organizations.
The answer to the fictitious company's problem (described in blog Lifting the Hood of a Technical Recruiting agency Service) is simple in theory and was provided as an answer in response to the first blog. Bring accountability and motivation to the table by retaining a firm.
Sure, creating an economic motive for your partners to focus on your languishing hard to fill jobs is a step in the right direction.
Having spent a long time as a recruiter and as a recruiting manager, on the other side of the fence; inside the business, I know there is a resistance to doing this. For the sake of your business and talent needs some positions require a different approach. When talent wars heat up for software developers, I.T professionals, or experience with the latest tools, like Salesforce or Visualforce, it is difficult, regardless of the talent of your internal recruiting team, to headhunt alone. The unemployment rate, reported earlier this year for software engineering and electrical engineering is believed to be 4.6 and 5.4%, respectively. On the heels of the deepest recessions, in recent U.S history, some economists would suggest that that is full employment. In other words, anybody who wants a job has one. A company must have great partners to help them in this highly competitive market.
Internal recruiters are often given a bad-rap because of poor "passive candidate" resume flow. Having been in that seat, I believe it is less about their own ability to perform hard-core headhunting vs. being bogged down by an overwhelming amount of employment process and legalese around candidate tracking. Heap on top of that a requisition load of over 20 job types and it becomes impossible to be disciplined and pragmatic about constantly generating passive candidates. Internal recruiting teams are often not set up for success.
So why not retain just any firm? Your partner has to be set up to do it right to move the needle. Most agencies are primarily modeled for making money on the "low hanging fruit" as it makes the most economic sense. These firms are not trained or prepared to be a true partner in the retained search model. They lack the training and understanding to implement a search that is creative, is time consuming, can be tedious, that requires discipline, and that is modeled off of proven methodology, for a search and selection of talent. Additionally, they have never spent a day on the corporate side thus they lack the understanding of all the moving parts within a matrixed organization.
Talent once again is getting scarce, (see blog… pendulum has shifted….again blog)
While I believe strongly that using firms in a contingency model is a needed and valuable method of finding talent for a company it is important to think of the motivators and service when your jobs have remained unfilled and the business is suffering. Here in Portland Oregon there are few technical recruiting agencies equipped to perform both very well. Please look us up when the time comes.