Getting the Best Hires: Location, Location, Location

If you’re starting a company or perhaps growing and ready to ramp up staff and add office space, pick your location wisely because geography is a big factor when attracting top talent. Location of an office often plays a huge role in a job candidate’s decision to accept an offer--I’ve seen candidates decline great offers based solely on the commute. There are a few ways to overcome this challenge.

Move to an office in the big city

One way to attract engineering talent in the Bay Area is to move closer to San Francisco. Over the last several years, the concentration of technology companies has shifted from Silicon Valley and San Jose to San Francisco. According to Riviera’s latest Engineering Salary Review, 52% of engineers took new roles in SF, 34% in the Peninsula, and only 14% in the South Bay. This infers that if you’re in the Bay, you’ll have a much larger pool of talent if you move your company closer to San Francisco. One of our clients, an enterprise collaboration tool startup, was having so much trouble finding Ruby on Rails developers that they moved their office from Mountain View to San Francisco. After the move, they saw a significant uptick in their candidate pool and hiring. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s important to be close where the talent is hanging out.

Choose a location near transit

Considering a location also has to do with that the best infrastructure and commute options. Being close to public transportation greatly increases your chance of attracting top talent. I’ve found many engineers do not own cars, and their primary mode of traveling is by public transportation. Thus, being close to BART or another form of transportation increases the pool of talent that will consider your company, while being far from easy public transportation greatly decreases that pool. Seems obvious to some but when enchanted by the lower rent districts that fall outside a comfortable walking distance, you might second guess the reasoning. Think long term--even though office space close to public transportation might be pricier, you’ll be able to attract the right team to build out your company much more quickly. In the startup world, speed is everything.

Swim in the talent pool close to home

Of course, not every company can up and move, whether it’s to a new city or just closer to transit. To increase your chances of hiring--and decrease chances of wasting time--it’s best to start with talent that’s already local to your area. In Northern California, people from South Bay (Palo Alto and south) are significantly less likely to go to San Francisco and vice versa. Also, people in the East Bay tend to prefer going to San Francisco or San Jose area and are less likely to travel to the Peninsula unless they have a car.

Another factor to consider the number of steps it would take a candidate to commute to your company. For example, someone who lives in the Sunset district of San Francisco might decline your offer if they have to take three different buses to get to your SoMa-based company. On the other hand, a candidate living in Palo Alto might be okay with the commute because SoMa is a simple Caltrain ride away. So actual distance may not matter as much as the path of least resistance.

Get creative with the commute

You can help alleviate commute concerns in a variety of ways.  Several of our clients provide monthly train or bus passes and/or credit to employees who commute farther distances. If you have multiple employees living in a specific location, you can offer a shuttle service to and from the office. Or a more affordable alternative to hiring a shuttle is to set-up carpooling, providing an online tool where colleagues can easily communicate and organize rides--or even have someone in the office manage this directly. Finally, you may want to give employees the opportunity to work remote occasionally. We’ve seen candidates accept jobs that are farther afield for the chance to work from home once a week.

At the end of the day, location and accessibility matter to finding the best talent and new hires to build out your company. As you grow, give this some deep thought and you might soon realize your office location made all the difference to the quality of your team, and the ultimate success of your company.

Aaron Ho is a Technical Recruiter at Riviera. 

Reuters - Exclusive: Apple ups hiring, but faces obstacles to making phones smarter

When Apple goes on the hunt for people who specialize in artificial intelligence, you know that the rest of the Silicon Valley is going to be snatching up those people as well. As Ali Behnam told Reuters recently, data scientists are the most sought-after experts in the market. In fact, it's estimated that the number of machine learning experts has tripled or quadrupled at Apple alone.

(Reuters) - Exclusive: Apple ups hiring, but faces obstacles to making phones smarter

Apple has ramped up its hiring of artificial intelligence experts, recruiting from PhD programs, posting dozens of job listings and greatly increasing the size of its AI staff, a review of hiring sites suggests and numerous sources confirm.

The goal is to challenge Google in an area the Internet search giant has long dominated: smartphone features that give users what they want before they ask.

As part of its push, the company is currently trying to hire at least 86 more employees with expertise in the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning, according to a recent analysis of Apple job postings. The company has also stepped up its courtship of machine-learning PhD's, joining Google, Amazon, Facebook and others in a fierce contest, leading academics say.

Read the full article here...

The Technology Factor: Working Together to Hire Top Tech Talent

Recruiting in any industry is no cakewalk. Each role and each candidate comes with a set of challenges you have to solve for, and finding the perfect match requires understanding those challenges. When it comes to technology recruiting, the big predicament is around the fact that technology advances incredibly quickly, which means the hiring manager’s needs do too. Whether you’re operating at the executive level of the individual contributor level, you need to understand the domain thoroughly in order to find the right people.

To keep up with the changing technology and needs, recruiters need to partner with hiring managers. It’s important that they take the time to garner at least a basic understanding of the technology. Recruiters need to understand why people want to work with the technologies, as well as how the technology will advance a candidate’s career. This requires getting involved with the process, rather than just playing “buzzword bingo.” As a former engineer, I knew when someone was playing buzzword bingo with me, and it wasn’t an experience I enjoyed as a candidate.

Here at Rivi, there are plenty of examples where we’ve rolled up our sleeves and tackled the technology challenge. Recently, I spent some time building out an innovation group in the Big Data space from Engineering Leadership down to the IC level. Before my team even started sourcing, I had multiple meetings with the hiring stakeholders to ensure I understood the technology, why the technology was important to the organization and how people’s careers could progress (at all hiring levels). Additionally, I took time to read white papers on the specific Big Data technologies they were using.  Finally, the hiring manager and I partnered with ideas on where to source for these people.

As a result, there was a point in the search where there were more candidates interested in the role--and clients interested in those specific candidates--than could possibly fit into the interview schedule. When we take the time to really learn about the technology involved and partner with the people who have the inside knowledge, we can make the best possible matches for the companies we serve--and the candidates are more likely to be happy in the roles.

Thor Bucy is a Director at Riviera and oversees the non-executive recruiting practice.