Archive for April, 2013

Do Software Developers Need Talent Agents?

April 30th, 2013

hiring star developersIn locations such as Silicon Valley where the best developers and programmers are often treated like rock stars, recruiters are starting to find that they sometimes have to deal with their agents instead of negotiating directly with them as potential employees. That’s right: Programmers now have agents like movie stars and directors, according to a new report by ABC News.

The report notes that competition for programmers has increased so much, they have their own talent agency. Altay Guvench, a programmer and musician came up with the idea to launch a talent agency called 10x Management after observing how music managers helped their musician clients find work. The term “10 X programmer” refers to a programmer who is ten times as productive than ordinary programmers, and only programmers and developers of this caliber are represented by the agency.

It makes sense that programmers now have agents helping them further their careers, given that a star coder can have such a major impact on a startup or an established project, much in the same way that a top notch director or actor can jump start a production and almost guarantee enormous sales at the box office.

Although the world of high tech doesn’t function in exactly the same way as show business, an agency model can be useful for helping growing companies quickly land the programming talent they need for their projects.

HR professionals may find it unusual to negotiate with an agent rather than directly with a prospective employee, but for some, the agency is making a difference in helping them get up to speed with the talent they need to ensure the success of their project.

The emergence of an agency such as 10 x Management only serves to underscore that the world of hiring high tech employees is evolving. While relying on talent agents to deliver excellent programmers may seem like the next best thing, the standard recruiting process still has plenty to offer.

However, companies need to keep up with finding new talent in a number of different fronts. This includes making sure that their recruitment process takes advantage of all forms of social media, for example, in an effort to reach out to the most elusive of the talented software professionals. This means turning to sites such as Twitter and using blogs to get out the word instead of simply relying on LinkedIn and Facebook. Recruiters also should verify that their online recruitment applications and careers sites should be quick to access and easy to fill out, to avoid turning off prospective candidates.

While it might take some getting used to, the advent of talent agents for programmers and developers may mean that recruiters need to present their companies in the most positive light to attract the rock star talent they need to thrive. Job  postings and careers sites must accurately convey a brand, and potential candidates need to be treated with courtesy and respect through all phases of the recruitment process.

New Tools For Hiring Talented Developers

April 23rd, 2013

tips for hiring developersNo matter where they are in the world, hiring managers have a tough job finding good developers. In Silicon Valley the task is particularly difficult, given the fast-paced, competitive environment.

One of the biggest challenges is just finding top notch developers at the right price who aren’t already inundated with employment offers, and then setting up meetings to determine if they would work well in your team. After this, you have to verify that the developer can actually do a good job at the task at hand: coding. Recruiting developers like this can be an arduous task that can last several weeks for a hiring manager.  And more often than not, just when it seems like you’ve found a great developer, you run into a snag and have to start the process all over.

This is where a new code editor called Codassium can make the hiring process much easier, as was recently reported on in TechCrunch. Codassium combines live video chatting with collaborative code editing.

Some developers are already accustomed to fielding requests to code on demand during the recruitment process. An interviewer might ask an applicant to code something to provide some new functionality to an existing project, for example, to see how well he or she understands the fine points. You might ask a developer how to improve something or to simply fix some broken code right in the office, evaluating performance under the fire of an intense interview.

The logistics of checking out a developer’s abilities can be a bit daunting. One way to go about it is to fly the developer right into your office.  Many savvy recruiters go the route of  using a video chat application alongside a collaborative editor, but this can be a messy process. Codassium simplifies the process by merging chat and collaborative editing in a single Web browser window.

Codassium has a fairly straightforward layout and is designed to be easy for people like hiring managers to use. You simply click a button to begin a chat and then enable your Web browser to access the feed from your webcam.

You then give the URL to the developer so you can make a connection. You can have multiple people participate in the video chat, which is useful when you want to get the opinion of one of your more talented programmers. Codassium enables syntax highlighting for the most-used languages, including C++, Objective-C, JavaScript and Python.

While new hiring processes like Codassium can make your job easier, not every hiring manager has the abilities to look along as people code while determining how “good” they are. This is why having an all around solid and effective hiring and recruiting process is a requisite to finding and attracting the best talent that is out there.  Watching a developer code on the fly can be very useful to determine whether they are talented , however there are many other factors that go into deciding on whether they are truly a good hire.

Acqui Hiring Gives Big Companies an Edge in Hiring Tech Talent

April 4th, 2013
Rather than attempting to poach young tech talent away from their startup companies, major companies are increasingly turning to a form of acquisition known as “acqui-hiring,” the New York Times reported earlier this month.
In acqui-hiring, a larger company acquires a company while hiring the key personnel that attracted attention to the start-up in the first place. For example, Yahoo bought Summly, a mobile news reader app with a five-person staff and no revenue for $30 million. Apple purchased WiFiSLAM, a company that focuses indoor Wi-Fi and has just a few employees for $20 million.
You may wonder why these tech giants are purchasing the smaller startups outright instead of just hiring the founders or engineers themselves. This is especially perplexing when the buyer shut down the original product and has the new hires begin working on new projects. What’s more, non-compete arrangements are difficult to enforce in California, so there should be no problem poaching top-notch talent instead of buying their entire company just to gain access to their expertise and ideas.
A few factors will explain this acqui-hiring phenomenon. Talented engineers will not want to appear that they are being disloyal to the startup, let alone to the angel investors that helped them get started in the first place. Accepting a buyout lets the engineers continue to work on their innovative ideas while allowing the founders, investors and employees to reap large rewards.
There are also some tax advantages when a tech giant resorts to acqui-hiring. If a young tech company founder accepts a signing bonus to work for a bigger firm, he has to pay more taxes than if he sold his start-up for the same amount as the bonus.
Increases in acqui-hiring serve to indicate just how competitive the tech hiring market is for promising young talent. Larger tech companies are increasingly willing to buy other companies just to acquire the human capital.
Small and medium-sized business won’t have the resources to acqui-hire. This means that in order to compete with larger players such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo, smaller firms need to utilize other innovative and efficient methods to acquired the best talent out there.
For example, companies need to leverage all aspects of social media in their job recruitment process—by relying not just on LinkedIn and Facebook, but also Twitter, YouTube and blogs to spread the word. Smaller companies also need to pay attention to “simple” details like how long it takes to fill out an online application for employment. If it takes 60 minutes to fill out the application rather than a more reasonable five minutes, for example, promising tech talent will likely go elsewhere to seek work.
As more and more large companies turn to acqui-hiring to expand the products and services they offer, small and medium-sized businesses will need to step up their game in terms of recruitment if they want to remain competitive in the technology sphere.

Acqui Hiring - Big vs SmallRather than attempting to poach young tech talent away from startup companies, the big players in the tech sphere are increasingly turning to a form of acquisition known as “acqui-hiring,” the New York Times reported earlier this month.

In acqui-hiring, a larger company acquires a smaller company while hiring the key personnel that attracted attention to the start-up in the first place. For example, Yahoo bought Summly, a mobile news reader app with a five-person staff and no revenue for $30 million. Apple purchased WiFiSLAM, a company that focuses indoor Wi-Fi and has just a few employees for $20 million.

You may wonder why these tech giants are purchasing the smaller startups outright instead of just hiring the founders or engineers themselves. This is especially perplexing when the buyers shut down the original product and have the new hires begin working on new projects. What’s more, non-compete arrangements are difficult to enforce in California, so there should be no problem poaching top-notch talent instead of buying their entire company just to gain access to their expertise and ideas.

A few factors explain the acqui-hiring phenomenon. Talented engineers will not want to appear that they are being disloyal to the startup, let alone to the angel investors that helped them get started in the first place. Accepting a buyout lets the engineers continue to work on their innovative ideas while allowing the founders, investors and employees to reap large rewards.

There are also some tax advantages when a tech giant resorts to acqui-hiring. If a young tech company founder accepts a signing bonus to work for a bigger firm, he has to pay more taxes than if he sold his start-up for the same amount as the bonus.

Increases in acqui-hiring serve to indicate just how competitive the tech hiring market is for promising young talent. Larger tech companies are increasingly willing to buy other companies just to acquire the human capital.

Small and medium-sized business won’t have the resources to acqui-hire though. This means that in order to compete for talent with larger players such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo, smaller tech firms need to utilize other innovative and efficient methods to discover and acquire the best talent out there.

For example, companies need to leverage all aspects of social media in their job recruitment process—by relying not just on LinkedIn and Facebook, but also Twitter, YouTube and blogs to spread the word. Smaller companies also need to pay attention to “simple” details like how long it takes to fill out an online application for employment. If it takes 60 minutes to fill out the application rather than a more reasonable five minutes, for example, promising tech talent will likely go elsewhere to seek work.  Essentially they need their hiring process to be smooth, efficient and inviting.

As more large companies turn to acqui-hiring to expand the products and services they offer, small and medium-sized businesses will need to step up their recruiting games  if they want to remain competitive in the technology sphere.