• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 561 other followers

  • LINK WITH ME

  • TWITTER

  • FACEBOOK

“I Look Like An Engineer” SF Campaign

Have you been following the wildfire spread of #ILookLikeAnEngineer? A campaign starting in San Francisco to raise awareness about tech diversity and the faces of women in tech.

Good article on 11 Startup Skills You Won’t Learn in School

Article in Inc. by Young Entrepreneur Council  @YEC

 

New Grads: “Want a Job? Get an Internship First!”

Interesting short podcast from American Pulic Media – Marketplace on Education.
http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/education/want-job-get-internship-first#.UTvCX_ebaBo.email

This story emphasizes the heightened Importance of internships in today’s job market to bridge the gap between your college degree and your first job. Hiring managers are far more likely to consider new grads with experience working with others, collaborating on a team, and solving real problems. Experiential learning is weighed more heavily by some than grades and college name. Hiring managers are increasingly finding that even those exiting a good school with a “practical” degree struggle without the real-life test-drive of teaming, communication, and collaboration.

Employers claim that colleges are doing a fair to poor job today of preparing successful employees. I have to wonder of some of this disappointment is exacerbated by our societal shift toward texting as a primary form of communication. SO much critical work is still best shared and communicated by phone and in person, in my experience.

Employers’ advice: Work on interviewing skills and study up on the organization and industry you are applying to. A degree alone with good grades from a good school should be accompanied by an internship to show your “practical” side. Solid writing and communication skills, adaptability, teaming, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities are the gold standard.

As a recruiter, I know that internships also frequently turn into job opportunities after graduation, and will start your career networking and reference connections.

If you are a college student majoring in computer science, math, or information systems interested in an internship, do contact me for an opportunity in San Francisco / Bay Area!

Well Employed, But…..HAPPY?

You are a great engineer / developer / lead / manager and are well-employed in this economic downturn. But are you HAPPILY employed? If you are a good to gifted developer, don’t settle for “employed” – people with big things to build are looking for you!!!

  • Are you underpaid?  If so, but you like your environment, team, and challenge, go ask for a raise!
  • Do you want, and are you on, a promotion track?  Is your company growing enough to provide that rapidly?
  • Are you sufficiently challenged?  Are you innovating with the most cutting-edge tools and technologies?
  • Are you constantly learning new skills?  If you are not, your market value is shrinking as time passes.
  • Are you loyal?  Ensure your company is loyal to you as well, and keeping your best interests in mind as well as theirs.
  • Do you have significant equity?  If you do not, perhaps a startup – early, mid or mature stage – or a small or mid-sized company is a good move for you now.  If your expertise is building the company, you should have a piece of the investment.
  • Are you aware of your options “out there”?

Assess your current situation, improve what you can on your current job, and talk to a recruiter like me to keep tabs on other opportunities, which skills are in the highest demand, what the market is paying, and which opportunities come with pay, benefits, AND equity.    Recruiters – or Head Hunters as the good ones LIKE to be called – have access to jobs and companies that you may never otherwise find.  There is no obligation to simply check in with us once in a while.  🙂

Consumer Internet is Hot

Consumer internet is where the big acquisitions and exits are happening, according to an SDForum VC panel I heard recently.  And Q2 2010 is up significantly from Q1. (See the data detail on the PriceWaterhouseCoopers site.)

 Angels stepped in  to help new startups in the last few years, but the VC’s are starting to come back around.  There is more interest in the B2C than the B2B space right now.

Group buying, which was tried but died about 10 years ago, is now poised for a comeback.  The communications infrastructure, mobile access, and social networking is in place to make it truly successful.

The word of caution, however, is that we are likely to see some hyper-growth in the next year as investors grasp for consumer internet assets to put in their portfolios on the heels of Facebook’s recent successes, but we will likely see some valuation rebalancing for hot consumer internet assets in about 18 months.

Startup Health Litmus Test Questions for the Recruiter

I enjoy working with early-stage startups.  Some recruiters think I am crazy – the monetary compensation is not usually as high as corporate, I will often work deferred and on contingency, and the risk is great.  The searches are harder because you are looking for extreme talented people who are willing to step away from a lucrative job, bet on their ability to deliver, and work for a deferred or low initial cash compensation.  So why do I do it?  It’s FUN!  The right startup team will be comprised of very interesting, highly intelligent entrepreneurs and I love to see how they put the next best thing together.  And to build the initial team that may one day turn into the next big brand – priceless (almost!).

I have paid a heavy price from some of my earliest involvements with startups,  including extended placed contractor payroll dollars.  Also priceless – lost meals with family, missed child performances, missed paying business deals, stress, etc.  Startups are to a large extent art, and so is the decision to work with one.  I have started a list of considerations I run through now when approached by a startup to recruit.  I will share it here, and please – if you have some items or advice to add, let me know!

  • Company Viability Background
  • Value Statement – simple, clear?
  • When/Why Founded
  • Founders’ Background
    • Starts
    • Funding Connections and Experience
    • Successful exits
    • Expertise in current core industry/sector
    • Are Founders “in” 100%?  How long can they last?
  • Core Team in place?
  • Board Members
  • Competition Research
  • Current Funding Status
  • Possible exits – have they planned?
  • Early Adopters, Clients, Partners on board?
  • Software Build Framework:  Fast Engineering Iterations  (Agile)
  • User Testing – Perspective/Plan
  • Marketing Approach and Expertise
  • Experience Evaluation with other Recruiters
  • Corporate Structure?  Credit Ratings; Personal Guarantee of Financial Commitments
  • How consistent and transparent is their communication with ME?
    • Readily available by email, IM, and/or phone
    • Able to put agreements in writing and sign
    • Review and respond to candidate submissions in a timely manner
    • Give me multiple contacts, including CFO or other key finance person
    • Keep me updated on their funding progress and team changes
  • Is some payment in equity available?

Startup Mentality

I am most intrigued by working with startups, where passion, talent, and creativity reign.  Risk pressure is always present, however.  I know why I jump in as a recruiter, even though finding people who are often required to work for equity and deferred cash makes my job much more challenging:  It’s exciting to meet developers, executives, and others who are ready to take the startup plunge for the first time, and great to know a network of folks who become addicted to repeating the cycle. This is the world of game-changers.   If you are teetering on the edge of catching the startup bug, here are a few good links I found to nudge you a little closer:

Top 10 Reasons to Join a Startup:  http://www.instigatorblog.com/top-10-reasons-to-join-a-startup/2007/05/23/

How to evaluate a startup:  http://blogs.bnet.com/intercom/?p=709

How to start a startup:  http://sonyjoy.com/15-mantras-for-every-startup-that-aims-to-make-it-big/

I currently have some startup opportunities in Palo Alto, CA, for server-side and UI developers, LAMP environment, eComm and social media sectors.  Contact me at val at nerdsearch . net.

Valerie Fahs-Thatcher