War for Talent is Real and Requires Innovation to Succeed

At the inaugural Talent42 conference last week, one thing was clear: the war for technical talent in today’s competitive market is real, requiring organizations to look at different ways to acquire great people.

“The event brought together an excellent mix of technical recruiters and hiring managers, for both big brands and startups, to address a range of issues on sourcing and hiring the best talent,” said Riviera Partners’ Founder and Managing partner Michael A. Morell, who served as a panelist at the event. “This provided a nice cross-section of various perspectives on the dynamics of talent acquisition.”

A Defined Process
Listening to the industry experts, it was clear that talent acquisition must be a defined process, versus an ad-hoc activity. Having a recruiting team that knows exactly what they’re looking for and a disciplined process for the tools they use can make all the difference in the world, according to Michael.“Everyone in the organization needs to understand the role and importance of this process, and it has to be endorsed at all levels of the business,” he said. “This will enable hiring managers to make the right decisions in filtering and selecting the best candidates.”

Finding Smart People
There also was quite a bit of discussion around finding intrinsically smart people with the aptitude and skill to help move a business forward. “The traditional way of making hiring decisions based primarily on education or work experience doesn’t always yield the results you’re looking for,” Michael said. “You need to look deeper into a person’s abilities and personality by engaging multiple people in the interview process, even bringing candidates in to demonstrate their technical capacity and programming capabilities as part of the evaluation.”

Cultural Fit
As important as anything else, new hires must fit a company’s culture in order to succeed and thrive. This requires the hiring organization to define and declare its culture. “Facebook, for example, makes it very clear to candidates that new employees are expected to contribute to the company on Day One,” Michael said. “Your culture needs to be explicit and weaved throughout the recruiting process. It’s really about building your brand, getting people excited to work for your company, and selling that opportunity.”

Specifically, Michael participated in a session titled “How to Compete for Talent in Silicon Valley,” where he was joined by executives from Zynga and Ooyala during a session titled “How to Compete for Talent in Silicon Valley.” The panelists addressed several audience questions and topics, including:

The Need for Interview Training—Google recently conducted a study where it provided an interview team with 10 anonymous resumes of current employees deemed “top performers” in the company. Surprisingly, the interview team ruled out half of the pool based on their resumes. “This just shows that sometimes optics don’t yield the best results,” Michael said. “Anyone involved in the interview process needs to know how to evaluate candidates, which may require training throughout your organization.”

Making it Personal—In today’s highly sophisticated, technology-driven environment, there are a myriad of tools being used to recruit candidates. In fact, many recruiters are leveraging online mechanisms, including social media, to identify and connect with desired talent. While trying to figure out the best tools to use, it’s important not to forget about the personal connection. “Some people think you can simply recruit through Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like,” Michael said. “While there may be some success stories doing it that way, I believe we need to still incorporate the ‘old school’ of recruiting, where you pick up the phone, have a conversation, and really develop a personal relationship with candidates.” Furthermore, the best candidates are typically busy doing their work, so direct communication is often the best way to connect.

Closing the Deal—There’s a misconception that “closing” is a period of time at the end of the recruiting process. “In reality, closing starts at the initial contact and continues throughout the ‘selling’ process until you’ve convinced a candidate they should join your company,” Michael said. “Every touch point throughout the recruiting process is an opportunity to reach that successful outcome.” It’s also important to realize you’re not going to “close” everyone, so it’s essential to build a robust pipeline of candidates leveraging multiple sources, from colleges, to external recruiting firms, to internal recruiters.

“As the first such conference, I thought Talent42 was an excellent opportunity for attendees to gain unique perspectives on the many issues we face in talent acquisition,” Michael said. “It was particularly invaluable for smaller companies and startups who are trying to compete with the ‘big boys’ and have to win on more than cash and equity. This conference shed light on the many different ways you can successfully win the war for talent—through a defined, yet personal, recruiting process supported across the organization."

Pinterest, Palantir & harsh reality of SF real estate

Working behind the scenes on the front lines of the Silicon Valley tech boom, the Riviera team is quite familiar with the multi-faceted challenges that startups face during their initial growth stages. It is difficult enough to find the right talent for your startup – but finding the right office space for your team can be just as daunting. So when Justin Bedecarre from Cushman & Wakefield decided to examine the dynamics of the Silicon Valley real estate marketplace, we were very excited to contribute our own engineering placement data to help paint a better picture of a few of the different factors affecting today’s startups.

(GigaOm) – To say that Silicon Valley real estate market is hot would be an understatement. And no, Facebook millionaires buying mega-mansions has nothing to do with it. Instead it is start-ups who are helping push the rents to stratospheric heights in parts of Silicon Valley. It is hard to go to a San Francisco party and not meet a founder grumbling about being unable to find real-estate to house her growing number of troops.

Times are particularly hard for smaller companies — ones that have not raised mega-rounds of fundings. Things are going to get even harder for many of them. And they would have guys like Pinterest and Palantir to thank for the real estate inflation.

Even though Facebook has moved out of Palo Alto, founder friends tell me that things have not changed much. Palantir, the shadowy and fast growing company, has been gobbling up real estate space. It is rumored to have taken hold of the vast building that was previously occupied by Borders. The real-estate market in Palo Alto is so tight that even a liberally funded company like Pinterest is having to look elsewhere.

Read the full news article…

Michael A. Morell to Discuss "How to Compete for Talent in Silicon Valley"

Riviera Partners’ Founder and Managing Partner Michael A. Morell will be a featured panelist at the inaugural Talent42 conference, being held June 13-14 in Seattle. Michael will join executives from Zynga and Ooyala during a session titled “How to Compete for Talent in Silicon Valley.”

Today, Silicon Valley recruiting teams need to be more aggressive, offering in-demand tech talent more than just a great salary and big signing bonus. Drawing on their extensive experience building tech recruiting teams, Michael and his fellow panelists will share “war stories,” real-world best practices, and the keys to winning in the ultra-competitive Silicon Valley market—whether you’re a big brand or an up-and-coming company.

If you’re attending Talent42, consider attending this valuable panel session, which we’ll also recap in a future blog post.

About the Conference: Talent42 will bring together hundreds of technical recruiters, hiring managers, and sourcing experts to share, network, and learn. Focused solely on technology recruiting best practices, the event will address talent attraction strategies, candidate sourcing, “raise-the-bar” interviewing, technology skills of the future, and recruiting leadership.

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Tania Binder to Lead Contingency Practice at Riviera Partners

As Riviera Partners continues to grow and extend its market position, the company has made another key hire, bringing aboard Tania Binder as General Manager for Riviera’s Contingency practice.

In her new role, Tania will help evolve this group into an increasingly valuable solution, leveraging Riviera’s success in technical search and recruiting services. She is responsible for leading a team of more than 30+ technical recruiters to effectively match clients’ unique requirements with top-notch engineering candidates.

“We are thrilled to welcome Tania to our team,” said Managing Partner, Michael A. Morell. “Her proven management experience, leadership skills, and strategic vision will help Riviera grow into an impactful, high-service solution for our clients and candidates.”

With more than 18 years of sales, marketing, and general management experience, Tania has a successful track record of developing a strategy to get results while leading teams through hands on-collaboration, process optimization, and coaching. Most recently, Tania was Senior Vice President of Global Sales at TRX, where she was responsible for driving the company’s worldwide revenue and triple-digit annual growth in over 80 countries. Prior to TRX, Tania worked in software where she ran a $100M business for BMC Software.

“I am extremely excited to join Riviera Partners’ dynamic team of executives, technical recruiters, and operational staff,” Tania said. “With its innovative approach, advanced technology, sophisticated clientele, and custom internal applications, Riviera Partners truly is an industry leader positioned for long-term success. I look forward to being part of the company’s growth as we continue to deliver valuable services to existing and new clients.”

Increasingly, companies are seeking a recruiting service partner with a strong technical focus, an understanding of start-up business operations, and a high-quality candidate network. Riviera Partners brings these elements together into a high-service business model to meet the growing demand for client-centric solutions.

The Contingency practice compliments Riviera’s Retained search business—both leveraging the company’s access to top talent, targeted and multi-faceted sourcing, dedicated team of recruiters, and consulting best practices.

“Having both Contingency and Retained search services is a unique differentiator for Riviera, enabling us to develop long-term client relationships with clients and extend the ‘Rivi’ brand,” Tania said. “We will continue to leverage synergy between the teams so that we can effectively deliver on client needs—whether they’re seeking to fill a single position or build a team of 30 engineers.”

Please join us in welcoming Tania to our team!