Silicon Valley recruiter on tech hiring frenzy: “Everyone’s desperate”

June 8, 2011

Robert Greene, the founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based GreeneSearch Inc, specializes in recruiting hands-on talent for technology-focused companies, primarily startups. He provided his perspective on the current boom in technology hiring.

Q: How would you characterize the tech hiring market now?
A: It’s very competitive right now. It’s been like that for a while; it’s probably heated up even more of late. You have the bigger companies – Groupon, Zynga, Google, LinkedIn, companies that have been proven and successful – and then you have all these startups.
The supply doesn’t meet the demand.

Q: Is there an advantage to being a small company?
A: The advantage they have over those (big) companies is that they can move really quickly. They’ll do everything in a day and make an offer and hope that person will accept right away before they get into the bigger companies. Those are their selling points. They have to move quickly, they have to be agile, have to have the compelling story, have to give equity, along with competitive salaries.

Q: Do you think we’re heading toward another tech bubble like we saw in 2000?
A: I’ve been recruiting for seven years. I know back in the boom companies were offering cars and huge bonuses and stuff to attract engineers, and that’s not happening.
I’m seeing real money – I’ve heard that Google is making huge counter offers, real money.

Q: How many offers are your top engineers getting?
A: I had a guy out of Amazon in Seattle who had three offers. We’re seeing multiple offers. I had one instance where an offer was signed and Google countered and made him a huge offer back and he stayed at Google.

Q: Are you seeing companies looking less at top-tier schools?
A: No, I’m not seeing them sacrifice the quality. Everyone’s desperate, trying to figure it out. I don’t know if there’s any simple solution other than move quickly, have a compelling story.

Q: How long do you think this boom will last?
A: I hope it lasts for a while. Usually it goes in cycles. It’s been reported on more recently – but it’s been happening for a while. The news is on this now because of the LinkedIn IPO. Now there’s some real exits and big exits. We’re not going to have a time like we had in 2000 where companies didn’t have business plans or revenues and were going public. I’ve been hearing the B (bubble) word a lot – but I think it’s more realistic.

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