Client News This Week

Following Memorial Day's three-day weekend we would like to congratulate a few of our clients on achieving so much in a shortened week!

Behind the scenes with Tom Siebel, C3 and its data engine for the power grid

Google eyeing Dropcam alongside home security ambitions

Coinbase adds payment pages to make sending bitcoin easier

Netflix gets DreamWorks Dragons, Hulu may revive Community

Lattice may find your next big sales deal

Data cleaner Trifacta raises a $25M series C round

socaltech - Calling All Engineering Grads

Eric Larson, one of our Partners in Los Angeles, is rapidly growing the Riviera presence in Southern California, and recently shared his thoughts on the state of the tech down south with socaltech. He makes the case to consider the many promising startups, comparable salaries and continued VC activity in the area when pondering your next career move. As tech continues to grow down south, the LA market is absolutely a serious contender for top talent.

(socaltech) Calling all engineering grads: There's lots of work in LA

Out of the top 20 schools for engineering, five of those are located in Southern California, but many of the graduates of these schools have felt the need to move north to pursue their careers. It's no secret that the that Silicon Valley has played host to the vast majority of hot--and hiring--technology companies over the past ten years.

However, there's a new trend emerging that's full of good news for tech workers who want to stay in sunny Southern California, and that's the continued appearance of promising startups such as Hulu, Age of Learning, Snapchat and Scopely, not to mention high visibility exits and IPOs such as Maker Studio, EdgeCast and the Rubicon Project. In fact, Los Angeles is ranked third among 20 international startup ecosystems based on levels of funding, startup numbers, company performance and entrepreneur demographics.

Read the full article here...

The Pace Of Growth: A Conversation With Michael Abbott

Growth is the goal of every business, but if it happens too quickly it can be a bad thing. Companies that are forced to hire a large number of employees over a short period of time often end up with under skilled people in key positions. There are ways to manage rapid team increases, but the ideal situation is to have enough time to place the best possible candidate into each role, so that your organization has a firm foundation from the very beginning.

An intimate group of up and coming industry professionals recently had the chance to sit down with Michael Abbott and discuss some of these issues. Abbott is an expert at rapid team scaling who is well known for his efforts at Twitter where he oversaw the expansion of their company from 45 employees up to over 400 in a period of two years.

In their talk, Abbott stressed that the best possible candidates are not always going to be randomly looking for a job when you need to fill multiple positions. With a startup you want to try and limit employee acquisition to a maximum of 15% - 20% growth per month. Anything beyond that can put undue stress on the company and lead to weaknesses in its structure.

When rapid growth is unavoidable there are some things that you can do to ease the operation. Getting a solid, regimented system in place is one of the keys to this. You need a rigorous interview process that will act like a gauntlet, both testing, and challenging potential employees. You should also try to identify candidates who are not only talented, but who also have a loyal team of talented people that they can bring with them.

Another thing to focus on is reducing the amount of time it takes for an employee to go from being hired, to becoming productive. Having a training program can streamline this process to some extent. Mentor programs can also help guide new employees as they navigate your organization. At the same time this gives you a chance to evaluate potential future leaders by noting those people who voluntarily and successfully take on mentoring roles.

Growth is a good thing for a company but it has to come at a pace that is healthy and measured. In extreme cases where rapid expansion it is unavoidable, implementing a regimental recruitment and interviewing process can help to avoid some potential pitfalls. It’s also important to have a system that quickly enables new employees to start contributing to the organization in a meaningful way.

Riviera regularly hosts fireside chats with some of the leading minds in tech. Recently a group of up and coming industry professionals had the chance to sit down with Michael Abbott of KPCB - this is the first of a series of posts recapping key insight.

Client News This Week

Another busy week is coming to a close and we'd like to congratulate a few of our clients and their announcements of more big news!


Lithium reveals its $200 million plan for Klout

Uber seeking $12 billion valuation in latest funding round

Mango Health closes Series A financing led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

With another $30M, Sumo Logic will keep tabs on your data

Indiegogo adds a few celebrity investors to its $40M round

Meet the Newest Partner - Dirk Cleveland

Recently, we inducted four new partners at Riviera, each of whom will be instrumental in the growth of the company and improving our overall recruiting experience. We’ll be sitting down with each of them over the coming weeks to chat with them on the impact of their new roles, and dig into the inner workings of their brains. Next up: Dirk Cleveland.

Dirk Cleveland

Riviera & Engadget Quadcopter Giveaway

We are starting to see these all around the city - whether they're at a park, hovering around a various meetup group, or being modded at hackathons, quadcopters are a fascinating gadget to tool around with. That's why Riviera has teamed up with Engadget, a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics, to give away 2 Parrot AR.Drones. We hope that the lucky winners can use these drones to explore new, creative uses for them - or simply film some cool never-before-seen footage. Contest ends soon, so get your entries in soon!

Engadget & Riviera Quadcopter Giveaway

Find out how to enter the drawing over at Engadget...

Full Metal Recruiting: The Simple Truth About Hiring

By: Ali Behnam, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Riviera

Sometimes I feel like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman yelling at Pvt. Leonard 'Gomer Pyle' Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket. It seems that hiring has become a private Vietnam for most companies, and I’m just trying to help hiring managers stay alive. Companies seem to be unaware that employee relationships start from the minute they reach out to a potential hire, which means you need to make a good impression from the get go. The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to increase your chances of getting the most desirable candidates to join your team.

Greet Like You Mean It

Provide the right experience from the moment a candidate walks through the door. In many cases, people aren’t treated well or made to feel welcome. They’re ushered to a silent lobby, or sit in an open space where not a soul offers a greeting or glass of water. That sends the wrong message. You want to make them feel at home; make sure anyone walking by takes a second to say hello. Offer a drink, or designate someone to give a tour of the office while the candidate waits for the interview to begin. Above all, be friendly. Remember: even if you don’t hire the person for this particular role, you want them to tell their friends what a great experience they had at your shop.

Be Effective Versus Efficient

Candidates are human and want to be treated as if you care. Oftentimes the manager will spend the designated hour of time and pass the person off. Particularly if you’re hiring an executive, a candidate is going to tie the next four or five years of their career to you and your company. They will spending more time at the office with you and your team than with their families. Don’t just run through a set of questions and check the box; interact in a personable way. Do what your mom told you when you were in elementary school--treat people the way you would like to be treated--and get to know their spouse and other important facets of their personal life.

Have a Consistent Process

Be consistent in your overall internal process. Coordinate with those who are doing the interviewing to figure out who's playing what role. Set the interview teams up so they are asking the same questions to each candidate. If you’re leading a small start-up, chances are it’s your job to manage every aspect. A tight hiring process indicates that you know how to run a business, and great talent will recognize that.

Know Your Limits

I want to date a supermodel, too, but unfortunately I do not look like Brad Pitt (regardless of what my mom says). Be realistic about where your company fits in the pecking order. Every founder says their company is the next bizzilion dollar company that will change the world. The reality is very few do. The best candidates evaluate deals in the same manner a sophisticated investor would. If you company is truly great, and has the traction and buzz in the market, it will probably be able to land the best candidates; otherwise, stop trying to date a supermodel.

Remember, your relationship with a potential employee starts with recruiting. If you show candidates that you’re empathetic, invested in their futures, and respectful of their time, you’ll find and retain truly valuable talent.

Client News This Week

Big news from a few of our clients this week! Congratulations to all - keep up the great work.

Excel-killer startup Anaplan just raised $100 million on a $1 billion+ valuation

Zendesk shares soar in debut

ADT partners with Life360 to expand home security beyond the home

Content delivery network Instart Logic rakes in $26 million in funding

Pinterest Raises Another $200 Million And Is Now Valued At $5 Billion

The Ship Show - Sam Wholley Talks Recruiting Via Podcast

Partner Sam Wholley was recently invited to share his thoughts on the current state of recruiting with The Ship Show, a bi-monthly podcast, featuring discussion on everything from build engineering to devops to release management, plus interviews, new tools and techniques, and reviews. With his background in tech and his recruiter point of view, Sam was a great guest to provide a little perspective into the world of tech recruiting. His segment starts 11 minutes in and he engages in a free flowing Q&A with the hosts covering all things recruiting.

(The Ship Show) Your Profile Tells Me You’re Perfect for this Amazing Podcast Opportunity

Bring up the topic of tech industry recruiting with any developer and you’re likely to get an ear-full: stories of recruiters treating candidates disrespectful, clueless recruiters who don’t know any of the acronyms, recruiters continuing to talk to you even after you’ve asked them to stop… the list goes on and on. In fact, it’s so prevalent, Twitter and Tumblr accounts have popped up just to make fun of recruiters. But why is recruiting so broken in our industry? Are all recruiters like that? And is there anything all of us—companies, recruiters, and candidates—can do to make the experience a bit better (and more efficient!) for everyone? Join us as we put recruiter Sam Wholley through the gauntlet for:

Your Profile Tells Me You’re Perfect for this Amazing Podcast Opportunity

How to Deal with Resume Gaps

By Wendy Saccuzzo, Career Development Specialist at Riviera Partners & Director of Career Development at Women Who Code.  Follow me on Twitter @wendyhays11.

During the job search process, one challenge many people need to address is resume gaps. The best way to do so is to be as honest as possible while balancing the risk of potentially opening yourself up to discrimination. Consider this mantra: an interviewer can always ask for more detail, but if you say too much, you can’t take it back.

I recommend finding someone you trust who is knowledgeable in career development and HR issues, getting their feedback on your proposed response, and then fine-tuning your response based on their feedback. Sometimes, people just need to tell their story out loud in order to alleviate some of the pressure and stress.

As a career counselor, I have fulfilled this role as advisor. I specialize in career transition, and I have survived the resume gap situation myself, having been a “stay at home parent” and a graduate student. When someone entrusts his or her story to me, we can reflect on the situation and can come to an agreement on the simplest way to convey an answer that satisfies the question while still providing the minimum amount of information required to explain the gap in the most positive way possible.

A few recommendations on keeping active during a gap so that you are still an attractive potential employee to hiring managers and recruiters:

Job search can be a full time job in itself, and often job seekers can greatly benefit from a strategy session with a career counselor like myself if they feel stuck and need to take their search to the next level.

Note: If your reasons for a gap are due to health issues or caring for a loved one, and you encounter discrimination by a potential employer because of it, you should consult with a reputable employment attorney for advice on what is and is not legal to ask during the interview process.