An Inside Look At The Fight To Land Top Tech Talent

Zynga HR Colleen McCrearyColleen McCreary Zynga’s Chief People Officer

Photo: Zynga. Used by permission.

Hiring top talent in tech is increasingly competitive.At the Fortune conference in Aspen, four people in charge of hiring for tech companies talked about how startups with smaller budgets can hope to compete.

In the room was Andreessen Horowitz’s Shannon Callahan, Facebook’s Lori Goler, Zynga’s Colleen McCreary, and Wasserman Media Group’s Casey Wasserman. Wasserman is a sports agent/management and media company.

We were there, too, and here’s some of the most interesting tidbits we learned:

  • Some companies are offering college graduates $90,000 to $100,000 in just base salary, not bonuses or restricted stock, says Callahan. CORRECTED: Senior engineers with 8 to 10 years of experience can get $200k to $240k base total compensation.
  • Startups are struggling to compete with those giant salaries often hiring a few stars at top dollars and then not able to pay other employees as much.
  • The search for talent is so intense, that recruiters sometimes start identifying possible employees while they are still in high school to “track” and “cultivate them over time,” says Zynga’s McCreary. This isn’t a particularly new practice. She’s been aware of it since her years at Microsoft, which ended way back in 2004.
  • LinkedIn has changed recruiting. It used to be more one-on-one where they could approach a candidate with a job offer. Now if someone gets an unsolicited job offer, that person will fish around for more offers  because LinkedIn makes that easier to do.
  • Money isn’t always the best motivator. Employees want to think that they are doing good in the world. That’s one reason that Zynga launched which donates money to non-profits.
  • They all want to hire women engineers but say they can’t find them in the U.S. In 1989 37 per cent of computer science graduates were women. That has dropped to 18 per cent. Neither Facebook nor Zynga will say how many of their engineers are women, but Zynga’s McCreary estimates that between all the big Internet companies, it can’t be higher than 10%.

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