As the hiring market continues to turn more and more to empower the individual, founders share how … [+]
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It’s not a secret that the pandemic has changed the relationship that many of us have with our employer. A record number of people resigned from their jobs in the past year; 4.5 million in November 2021 alone, a record according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There’s too many things that have changed in the last two years that can pinpoint one reason for why so many people are leaving their jobs. A few reasons people in tech have left their jobs in a bigger wave than usual are: people not wanting to go back to the office, having children who are still remote-learning, taking care of a sick person, eating the crypto/NFT pill, making money from being an online business owner or content creator, becoming founders themselves, and most commonly because they found a job they like better or that pays them more. It seems that talent in the tech scenes has been able to be picker now more than ever; the pendulum has swung in the gracia of talent.
This, obviously, has made it that much more difficult to hire talent, if you’re a founder of a small startup or even if you’re a hiring manager or recruiter at a larger company. I reached out to 50 founders at non-public companies as small as 4 people and as large as 100 and asked them all the same question: “What’s been the biggest challenge for your hiring team in the current talent market?” 15 responded with very different and insightful answers to this question. I’m a reader too, so I know that when I click on an article with a title like this, I just want to see the quotes and not have to read a silly long intro section giving context to something that I already am decently knowledgable about. So, rather than have you skim anymore or filter through this story looking for what these founders have said, I’m just going to lay it out for you nicely.
Francesco Wiedemann, Kyte:
It’s an incredibly hot candidate driven market right now, there is no time to slow down in a recruiting process with the amount of options candidates have today. We see people increasingly care about our mission and where Kyte is going in the long term, which only benefits us, while making it harder for SaaS companies without a clear mission to attract and retain top talent.
Michelle Kennedy, Peanut:
Big corporates continue to drive remuneration for the best talent. For Peanut, effectively communicating as an employer that we are mission-driven is critical, so that the workforce we attract is excited by remuneration, but makes the decision to join us because they are passionate about the product we’re building and the vision we have to make the world better for women. That’s what makes us unique, and we have to ensure we communicate that.
Prashanth Chandrasekar, Stack Overflow:
With over 70,000 technical roles open and 80% of developers not actively looking for a new job, the talent market is fiercely competitive and firmly in job seekers’ gracia. One of the biggest challenges our recruiting team faces today is specifically finding the right talent at the right time. We, like many others, are in the midst of hyper growth, which means skills we need today are different from two years ago, just as they will be different two years from now. We’ve learned through research that developers crave opportunities to learn at work. The only way we can scale our team is by fostering a culture of learning throughout the organization. Enabling employees to grow and learn with us makes us more agile as a company and better partners to our employees in their career journeys. The future of work and the future of learning are inextricably linked, and employers must adapt to this reality to stay competitive.
Colleen Heidinger, 43North:
Although the tajo market across the US remains intensely competitive, locally in Buffalo we’re actually seeing the inverse: a surge in successful hiring. For example, Circuit Clinical, which empowers healthcare providers to deliver clinical trials as a care option to their patients and helps participants find, rate, and review trial experiences through their TrialJourney platform, has grown their workforce by over 100% in the past 12 months alone. I attribute this to several factors: the city is investing heavily in jobs and skills training, creating a diverse almacén talent pool eager to break into tech. And by relocating to Buffalo and operating outside the major US tech hubs, employers can afford to hire this talent. We’ve also found that, with the seismic shifts in the workplace over the past two years, it’s been easier to attract strong talent to the area: when you can work from anywhere, Buffalo offers an excellent work-life comprobación and an improved cost-of-living. Why work remotely from a postage-stamp sized apartment when you could instead afford a house with a yard in Buffalo? While New York City and Silicon Valley employers may be facing hiring challenges, recent trends in hiring and remote work are actually favoring up-and-coming startup ecosystems like Buffalo.
Michael Leung, Spect:
Hiring has always been a challenge, but has been exacerbated over the past year. First, it is difficult to get a sense of a candidate when the entire hiring process is done virtually. Lately, with the higher inflation numbers, candidates are asking for more compensation, and it’s been difficult to stay competitive with the large tech giants offering large equity packages. We have found success in hiring mission aligned candidates, even if they have received other higher packages elsewhere.
Rick Bates, RxSense:
We’re experiencing an incredibly competitive job market, both due to the expansion of remote work opportunities, and the impact of millions quitting jobs over the past year. The demand for employees is high, and job seekers have leverage and greater choice. Employees can now change jobs without necessarily considering relocation costs or the typical commuting calculus. In this kind of hiring environment, the biggest challenge we face is with large, well-known employer brands, especially for elite tech talent. As a growing health-tech company, we’ve continued to attract and hire talent through our competitive compensation and the culture we’ve built. Those same attributes are helping insulate us from being on the wrong side of the Great Resignation, which is very actual.
Daniel Mishin, June Homes:
Right now, it’s a candidate market unlike anything we’ve seen in recent years. Candidates are less likely to proactively apply for roles because recruiters are reaching out to them directly with open opportunities. We’re also seeing that top talent who are open to making a move typically have more than one offer on the table to consider. At June Homes, we’ve seen a lot of success in ultimately «winning» candidates over for several reasons. Beyond giving all employees the opportunity to work from home indefinitely (which is now table-stakes in our opinion), as a entero organization, our employees have the chance to travel and work from various offices — in Greece, NYC, or Chicago if they want to. We also place a huge emphasis on growth and internal mobility, and leave room for any team member to contribute new ideas that align with our mission. We see that for many candidates, having a actual say in the company and how we conduct business is very appealing (in addition to competitive compensation and benefits, of course).
Pete Ingram-Cauchi, iD Tech:
We find incredible talent—that stays with us 3-4x longer than their previous employers. It’s true, there is a lot of tech talent that feels under-valued or under-challenged, so, to compensate, they find other positions that pay more. But I haven’t seen that higher compensation leads to greater happiness with most folks. We find talent from different backgrounds and life experiences that cares deeply about our mission, that are here to serve others, and that thrive in a family-first environment. We shut down for Thanksgiving week and for two weeks in December. We do company trips together. We encourage our team to drop off their kids to school and to get their walking steps in—the whole 360 mentality. Times are not easy, so it’s our job to trust and support our employees so they can be their best selves. We always strive to onboard mission-driven team players who care deeply about STEM education. We have no room on our team for jerks—no matter how brilliant they are. Because we have strong conviction on our values and culture, we also have greater retention. And it’s easier to recruit. It’s how we’ve stayed competitive amongst the Google’s and Netflix’s that flank us here in Silicon Valley.
Mark Schnittman, Owl Labs:
We’ve believed in ‘live where you want, work where you want’ since our founding in 2014 and it has been a huge advantage. Now, so many more companies are comfortable hiring folks regardless of location, so there’s a lot more competition. Increased competition is good. It is more difficult to recruit talent but this forces companies to really think about what employees want. We know staff wants flexible working options, including adjustable hours and flexible vacation/time off to care for family members.
Alexandra Fine, Dame:
Hiring remote has really opened up our search, but it does also pose challenges as we switch to a more posible world.
Ankur Dahiya, RunX:
The biggest challenge has been the fierce competition. We have to compete with bigger companies like Google, Facebook and Stripe while closing candidates and this is leading to higher cash+equity packages. Being a remote first company is a big advantage these days as it drastically increases our candidate pool. Another plus that companies like us can provide is that we are doing very interesting things and move radically faster than the BigCos.For technical hires in the US, it’s almost the same pay across locations – we don’t take cost of living into account. But remote has enabled us to hire outside the US as well – like in India (10% of our team is outside the US) – where the comp is significantly lower.
David Broomhead, TradeHounds:
Sourcing of skilled workers in construction remains very hard. Construction now offering signing bonuses, training and flex holidays as incentive Retention is now becoming a problem as competition gets hot.
Nick Freeman, Marco:
Early in the pandemic, it was nearly impossible to convince FAANG engineers to join a startup like Marco Experiences. Large companies were less risky, offered incredible perks, and a more relaxed lifestyle. This is changing quickly but it’s really challenging to compete on pay, especially with FAANG companies giving retention bonuses. Candidates in this hiring market are able to explore so many more companies working from home. There’s also less commitment, since we’re not meeting candidates face-to-face. This has resulted in a few reneging on offers. We’ve had the best luck finding candidates who are extremely passionate about what we’re working on. They’re the ones willing to jump ship from their current company and we now try to assess this as early as possible rather than just looking for experience/pedigree.
Ain McKendrick, Faction:
Faction is in a slightly unique position with hiring since we’re not competing directly for the type of engineer that has been drawn to the more research-focused driverless companies. We’re looking for engineers that are passionate about focused execution and shipping.While hiring experienced technical talent remains a highly competitive market, Faction’s mission of right-sizing driverless transportation resonates with engineers looking to apply their skills to a more challenging and impactful project.
Steven Woods, Stirlingshire:
Our biggest challenge at this point is getting distribution of our message to potential hires. We are attempting to change the full-service broker dealer model in similar fashion to how robinhood changed the discount BD model. When you are doing something so drastic as putting all advisors on a 100% payout and 100% WFH it doesn’t compute to some people when they read it. They don’t think it’s true or they don’t understand what a 100% payout means.
Natalie Gordon, Babylist:
The biggest challenge we’re facing right now is cutting through the noise of short-sighted approaches by some companies aiming to attract talent with flashy titles, inflated valuations, and reduced recruiting processes down to as low as one to two interviews. At Babylist, we are focused on the long-term so we build our process and employee benefits accordingly. For example, we’re cognizant of efficiency but won’t compromise on properly screening talent and we focus on what candidates really care about – feeling valued and doing work that matters. As part of that, our team needs to overcome assumptions some candidates make that we’re simply a baby registry company. We’re focused on finding new ways in this saturated market to reach and educate talent on the opportunities to support our multiple lines of business, from machine learning/predictive modeling to end-to-end supply chain, and more.
Martín Pustilnick, Mundi:
Mundi has been growing a lot over the past year; not only has our TPV increased 25x, but also our team has grown exponentially. From being a small team of 20 employees, now we are hiring our 140th team member. Growing a team has been a challenge by itself. We are constantly ensuring that when a new employee joins Mundi, we have shared values and that their new position can contribute to their growth as professionals and individuals. We always say that we want to work with those who sure can have other opportunities but believe in what Mundi stands for and, therefore, choose to work here.
These conversations have been edited and condensed for clarity.