Photo: Morgan Missen via About.me
The war for talent has never been hotter in Silicon Valley. Sometimes a key hire can make the difference in when a company launches a product—or lands its next financing round.Think we’re kidding? We know one late-stage company that waited to round out its management team before gunning for an eight-figure fundraising.
Even venture capitalists are taking a more hands-on role in recruiting, building up internal operations that keep their portfolio companies fuelled with engineers, designers, and salespeople. Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, and others now have in-house “talent partners.”
So if you want to work for Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or the next rising star in tech, who can get you in the door?
At Twitter, Ryan took the company from 50 employees to 500. He hunted down statistical geneticists for 23andMe. Now he's got his own firm, Lab 8 Ventures. It's quietly hunted engineers for Amazon as far afield as Australia.
'Most of the companies I'm working with are keeping a pretty low profile and tend to be small, but have generally been NEA-funded,' Ryan tells us. (NEA, or New Enterprise Associates, is a venture-capital firm that's backed Juniper Networks, TiVo, and Diapers.com, among other companies; it raised a $2.6 billion fund last summer.)
Like many members of the Google Ventures team, Farrell is a veteran of the search giant. While the venture-capital arm is technically independent, its networks are thoroughly interwoven with Googlers--which means a huge depth of talent at Farrell's fingertips.
'We can give a founder 50 Java resumes in a day,' Farrell told VentureBeat last year. Maybe yours could be one of them.
Behnam cofounded Riviera Partners. He's best known in the industry for placing Mike Abbott as Twitter's VP of engineering, a hire that helped slay the site's dreaded Fail Whale, the mascot synonymous with outages. (Abbott is now a partner at Kleiner Perkins.) Cloudera cofounder Jeff Hammerbacher also gives Riviera high marks.
When Callahan joined Andreessen Horowitz three years ago, she all but pioneered venture capital's new talent-recruitment model, bringing it in-house rather than relying on partners' contact lists and external recruiting firms.
As we wrote in August, anyone working in tech and wanting to work at one of the hot, fast-growing firms backed by Andreessen Horowitz ought to get to know Callahan.
Barton was Facebook's first technical recruiter, joining the then-tiny startup in 2006. He then helped build up Quora's technical team. He's currently on semi-sabbatical, taking on small recruiting projects, according to his LinkedIn profile. It's hard to think of a recruiter who's more plugged into the Facebook diaspora.
Fun fact: Barton sings for Feedbomb, a band made up of current and former Facebookers, alongside Randi Zuckerberg.
De Baubigny's hire in 2001 was groundbreaking for the venture-capital world for in-house recruiting; she helped shape Google and Amazon's management teams. More recently, she placed Dan Rosensweig as CEO of Chegg and Doug Mack at One Kings Lane. While Kleiner has a smaller talent team than some firms, it's efficient: With just two other partners, de Baubigny placed nearly a hundred executives and engineers in portfolio companies last year.
A recent push for Kleiner: Helping companies attract college interns as well as seasoned execs through its Engineering and Design Fellows programs.
The startups Samuels has helped build up aren't well-known--yet. But some of them have gotten bought by household names--RedBeacon by Home Depot and Tapulous by Disney. She's currently tapped into buzzy companies like Twilio and Optimizely.
Love, a longtime independent recruiter who keeps a low profile, declined to comment for this article, but his name has come up time and again from customers as one of the best in the business, particularly for consumer Internet companies. He's done searches for TaskRabbit, Smule, Trulia, and others. We understand he's pretty selective about who he works with--so consider yourself lucky if he takes you on.
Greylock, the venture-capital company behind LinkedIn and Facebook, approaches recruiting differently. Talent partner Dan Portillo, who joined in 2011, emphasises teaching portfolio-company CEOs how to recruit. His presentation, 'Owning Your Recruiting,' is a must-read, whether you're hiring or trying to get hired. For job seekers who can cleverly reverse-engineer Portillo's methods, it's a playbook for how to get yourself targeted by a Greylock portfolio-company CEO.
After stints as a top recruiter at Google, Twitter, and Foursquare, Missen struck out on her own to start Main. Think of Main as a CAA for geeks--the Hollywood talent agency model, but applied to the code-savvy stars of the tech world.