Hiring · Employees

Do you engage with recruitment agencies? Are you hiring now? What is the market for engineers?

Michal Stefanow

March 23rd, 2014

I just wonder if this is only me:
- I receive plenty of messages (gmail, linkedin) from recruiters
- most of the networking events: there are at least 5 people who are hiring now
- most websites: prominent badge next to logo "we are hiring"
- many places: "as always we are hiring"

These are mine observations but I live in the bubble, I have no idea about real world. 

I wonder if you observe the same and if yes / if no - how do you approach hiring new people? Do you work with recruitment agencies? How difficult and how costly it is to recruit new people?


I know that "recruiting" is a prohibited topic (such as recruiting, cofounder wanted, check out my product, local events or feedback on the FD site) but I believe that this apply to threads trying to recruit, not threads discussing recruitment in general.

I'm really keen to listen and learn more :)
Many thanks!

Will Koffel Co-Founder at Outlearn

March 23rd, 2014

With the tech-startup space, yes, hiring is a challenge right now.  Especially challenging is hiring for engineering and technical talent.

There is still plenty of money flowing into ground-level companies.  The macro-economic reasons are outside the scope of this question, but help explain why this sector is booming for hiring, while national unemployment levels across the board are still tough.

Hiring is not an event, it's a way of life.  The biggest issue with recruiters is that they view it as an event.  They intro you to a candidate, you do a few rounds of interviews, then give a yes or no.  It's purely transactional.

The reality is that you need to be building your network, constantly meeting talented candidates even if they aren't quite ready for a move, or don't quite fit for a position you are currently hiring.  You should be "hiring" even when you have no money and no open positions.  You should be building a company where people want to work, so those talented folks are hoping to get the chance to work with you in the future.  Makes everything easier!

Recruiters are fine to create introductions to potential candidates.  But you should avoid taking meetings from recruiters who are sending you mediocre leads.  I have a very short fuse for recruiters who waste my time.  They need to be providing significant quality deal flow AND helping to close the deal for your company in order to earn the fees they charge (typically 15-25% annual salary, with very limited terms for cash refund if the hire doesn't work out).

Almost all companies have a referral bonus for internal employees, I usually see $5K, but HubSpot here in Boston recently announced a $30K referral bonus for anyone who refers a developer they hire.

Mark Neild Empowering quietly creative people to prosper through innovative yet authentic and engaging business models

March 25th, 2014

Michal My observations. Recruitment Agencies are expensive ( around 25% of first year salary is not unusual) and not always very good. They work reasonably well when you have a very standard role description, but rarely think outside the box. Theirs is a volume game and they get paid when there is a bum on a seat at the hiring company, but they do not need to care whether it is the right bum as that is the job of the hiring company to establish. In a really small (startup) business, chemistry and adaptability is more important than raw competence and defining a tight role description nigh on impossible. Your best bet is through networking. LinkedIn can also be great if you know what you are looking for. The downside of course is the time factor. Engineers always seem to be in short supply - I assume you mean coders? And the best ones - those who are more than just geeks and have a bit of commercial nouse and are good in front of customers are very rare and tend not to be looking for work. I would be surprised if a recruitment agency will find you one. Might be worth trying to find a bright kid out of college. Not much experience, but you make up for that with energy and adaptability. Speak to careers advisers or heads of the various departments covering the specialty you need and see if they are up for a job placement or work experience. That way you also get access to the specialist knowledge in the college. Just some thoughts - hope they help Mark

Michal Stefanow

March 30th, 2014

Thanks for insights, I really appreciate that.

I also have many thoughts to share... I need to admit (with some embarrassment) that I'm still an employee :( It's a daunting prospect yet I try to rationalise with phrases such as:
- it's only for now
- car payments
- little baby
(#corporate #wageslave #cubicle #commuter)

Many thoughts to share: http://bit.ly/recruitment-hackpad - I thought about some extra income by connecting the dots between Krakow (Poland) and Cambridge / London (UK).  Many people from Poland are asking me about jobs and many recruiters from UK are asking me about people.

The only issue - I know very little about recruiting (hence the question) but I believe I can partner with someone who has much larger experience in this field :)

Thank you guys for inspiration!