San Francisco startups are now hiring across the country, posting remote jobs for any location, but some things have changed about how they find the best fit for tech jobs. Talent is now distributed across the country, with up to 80% of tech talent looking to move away from tech hubs, and that means different techniques for finding the right fit for your next hire. If you’re looking for tech talent, here’s how Silicon Valley startups find the best talent pools.
How recruiters find qualified tech talent for remote jobs
Arthur Bryan is a recruiter for Silicon Valley startup tech recruiting firm Cadre Talent. The firm also acts as a startup incubator and seed-stage investor, so they know their startups. They exclusively serve tech startups based in San Francisco, L.A., and Seattle and focus their network on engineers. Here is how Bryan explains his process and the trends that are shaping San Francisco startup recruiting now.
“A lot of teams have moved to remote,” Bryan says. “A lot of our startup teams are sticking with the remote model while large companies bring engineers back to the office.”
What does that mean for hiring? According to Bryan, this has two main implications.
First, you’re looking at the difference between hiring a front-end developer for 300k to live in the Bay Area, versus 180k base package plus early-stage equity without the California cost of living for remote. That means very different equations for potential hires depending on their priorities.
Second implication: competition, but it’s not as simple as more people applying. “You might be looking at hundreds of people applying for that one role,” Bryan explains, “but a lot of people who apply for remote jobs aren’t qualified.”
This means more work up front for recruiters sorting through applications, which takes us to the second point Bryan raised: the crucial role of the hiring manager or recruiter in this changing process.
How to hire tech talent in a competitive market
Bryan says that in his search for the right candidates for tech jobs for his San Francisco startups, he does one thing the same: he keeps the bar high on quality of education, work experience, and whether a candidate is a good fit for the role. “Companies aren’t dropping the bar, so we have to not just look at location but qualifications,” he says. “Lots of startups are founded by Stanford grads or Top Ten school grads, and they’re looking for that level of education.”
How can you attract those qualified candidates who can work anywhere and avoid high cost of living if they choose? “The market’s crazy right now,” Bryan says. Small companies are having a hard time hiring right now because large companies are outbidding them for top candidates.
The solution: Recruiters like Bryan working with San Francisco startups are still looking geographically close to home for the best talent around known tech hubs like San Francisco, L.A., Seattle, and New York. But they have also branched out to newer tech hubs where tech companies are founding second headquarters or hiring talent like Denver, Austin, maybe Miami where a lot of tech founders have migrated this last year. Outside of that, Bryan says he’s still looking for the same qualifications but opening up the location to new cities. That’s when the important work happens on his end.
“You have to have a good transparent interview process,” Bryan says. “Many companies were applying processes over and over that never worked, or they don’t have qualified HR or hiring staff. Employees are overwhelmed these days, and you add a job search on top of this. Hiring managers have to be involved in setting things up and keeping candidates interested. It’s a candidate’s market, and they will be getting multiple offers.”
Columbus, Ohio is a hot city for insturtech startup jobs
Hiring remote talent from the Midwest
One thing that’s different about sourcing talent from outside traditional tech hubs is that a lot of Midwest tech startups are home-grown. The progress made in growing tech between the coasts is often found in startups sourcing enough talent locally or remotely to stay where they are. That keeps the runway longer and the cost of running a business lower.
Stories have come out of mainstream media for several years now on how tech companies are moving to the Midwest, or VCs are setting up Midwest-focused funds to support startups where they’re being created. What does that mean for finding talent outside the traditional tech hubs for remote jobs?
For one thing, San Francisco startups are now competing for talent with larger companies that come from Silicon Valley and have set up second company headquarters in the Midwest. Columbus, Ohio, for example, is home to a growing tech scene of insurtech startups and established insurance companies. Columbus is now home to Columbus EV smart city infrastructure program Smart Columbus, as well as Amazon, Google, and Facebook, as well as companies like Huckleberry and Upstart. The changing city has been making headlines for drawing talent to the city to work in the growing insurtech and healthcare tech scene, which includes dozens of startups.
Other San Francisco startups like SpotOn have opened additional offices in Chicago and Detroit are seeking local tech talent in these hubs. OpenGov, another Silicon Valley startup, decided to open another location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“We were attracted to the momentum surrounding the city along with the tremendous amount of tech talent embedded across numerous organizations in the region. It felt like Milwaukee was a natural fit for our growing team," OpenGov President and Milwaukee native David Reeves said in a press release.
Many San Francisco startups have also adopted a fully remote model that allows a truly distributed team, including Spotify.
Creating a Midwest tech talent pipeline for remote tech jobs
Most notable about the Midwest remote talent pool is that tech workers still cluster around smaller tech hubs both for future job opportunities and for community with like-minded talent. If you’re looking to source remote talent for a tech job, you might find that industries established in cities around the Midwest still attract a certain type of talent, and that’s where you can find the candidates you’re sourcing for remote jobs.
Southeast Michigan, home of the American auto industry, still pumps out some of the best-ranked engineering grads than any other region of the country. Detroit also now has second headquarters for Accenture, Google, Microsoft, and Tata Motors. The budding startup hub is also home to newer mobility companies like Rivian and May Mobility.
Chicago is now second home to Google, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Lyft, as well as 450 startups and 400 growth-stage companies. Even though the Midwest is still undervalued and underfunded, it’s continuing to grow, and the talent is top-notch in many areas. According to Crunchbase, Michigan leads the increase in Midwest VC funding, with an 886% spike since 2016, from $300 million to $3.1 billion last year.
If you’re looking for remote talent for a startup job, the salary might be only one point of interest for candidates. Tech workers are rethinking their priorities and futures, with a reported 40% of global workers considering leaving their jobs in the next year for reasons such as burnout, extra savings during the pandemic, and pursuing a sense of purpose in work. This has companies scrambling to attract and retain top talent. If you’re hiring, be sure to keep lines of communication open on what talent is looking for in a startup job, and how they plan to live out the next phase of their lives. You might be surprised at the diversity of new priorities you hear from remote talent as the options broaden to a new hybrid normal for tech startup jobs.