12/11/12
Posted at 20:10h, 11 Dec 2012 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Good morning, All,

Some of you know that I’m a recruiter by trade and now, our recruiter hat is on. I’ve gotten quite a few calls lately from clients, and inquiries from some of you whom I’ve run into at the numerous events we attend – all wondering why they can’t find midlevel talent. First, a few points of clarifications:

1.     No, they’re not in hiding;
2.     No, they haven’t been shipped off to a gulag in some unknown part of the world.
3.     No, not all of them have gone the entrepreneurial route and are off the job market.

The truth is that for the past few years, when you’ve called with a position to fill, I’d asked you if you were open to bringing on someone who was entry level as well. Answer: no – you didn’t want to/have the time to train someone. Fast forward to present day: it’s hard to find midlevel talent in NYC – and that’s not limited to technical talent, for those of us playing the home version. It’s because you wouldn’t hire them when they were entry level a few years ago. They do exist, but there is consequently a shortage of them, and they’re in high demand. Speaking of present day, I still ask if you’re open to bringing on someone entry level as well. Answer: again, no, you don’t want to/have time to train someone, so when you call in a few years and again ask where all of the midlevel people are: do not pass go; do not collect $200.

Contrary to popular misconception, there is no shortage of talent in New York and we have a sneaking suspicion that this problem is not limited to New York. There is a shortage of companies willing/able to pay people for their experience, or companies send a wish list of skills that is the equivalent of hiring three employees. Be realistic in your expectations/wants/needs/desires. And remember that midlevel people start as entry level people – unless they’re starting their own companies, and our suggestion to those of you out there who fall into that category: good for you – make sure you have a business model. You know: that boring ‘path to revenue’ thing, or you might soon have to take a job and no one’s going to hire you as a CEO or even VP of anything, despite the fact that you were CEO/VP of your own (failed) company. Back to our story.

Many of you are happy to hire interns. In fact, you’re always posting for them. We understand that you’re a startup and have limited funds. Fair enough, but for the record: interns are people without hands-on experience in their chosen professions. They’re usually recent grads or people who are changing careers, and are happy to work for the experience, so don’t ask for 4 years of coding experience, or social media experience – unless having a facebook page counts – and no, they’re not also going to also have expert level front end coding skills.

If you can’t afford entry level, you might try offering a paid internship, even if the payment is more or less a stipend. It fosters good will, and seeing ‘paid internship’ as opposed to ‘internship’ sends the message that someone saw value in what that person was doing. You might also want to consider: that intern that you’ve had working for you for the past year or three, unpaid? They’re their next employer’s junior/mid-level hire. And thanks for playing!

We recently worked with a newly-minted computer science graduate from a top engineering school, who had won or placed second in the numerous hackathon/startup weekend in which he had participated. Passed every coding test every client had given him – and all were happy to hire him. As an unpaid intern. After an exhaustive search here, he sent his resume out to a handful of companies in Silicon Valley, and was snapped up immediately. In fact, he had his pick of offers, and there was nary an internship in the lot.

So you see, New York does not lack talent: it lacks vision and foresight. Maybe Silicon Valley learned that lesson of hiring entry level people long ago. Time for us in other parts of the world to do the same.  Don’t turn someone down because they lack on-the-job experience: train them. And if you’re willing to offer them an internship instead, kick in a few bucks – if only for good will. They have rents to pay, too. Those people you see on park benches? No rents to pay –  but we doubt that they’d be willing to pick up HTML any time soon. Next: don’t turn someone down because they have more experience than you were looking for, either. It’s a tough market out there: that person needs a job, too, and he or she may bring experience you didn’t even suspect that you needed. And might teach you a thing or two, too, as an added bonus. Everyone, yea, even the lowly intern, potentially brings something to the table, so also make sure to teach them something, and treat them like you need them. They want the experience – give it to them and make sure it’s something beyond doing your grunt work. If they prove to be invaluable, find the money and/or the equity or both to compensate them. If you think that they’re going to stick around and continue to work for you, for free, while you’re pursuing your dream, well, in the words of Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday, 1950):” I might have been born yesterday, but I’ve been up all night thinking.” So have they,so dream on. And onward and forward.

Deadlines:

The list of Startup Weekend Upcoming Events

The Awesome Foundation wants to give you $1000 for your best idea – almost anywhere in the world.  We give micro-grants each month to projects that are inspiring, delightful, and elegant: in a word, Awesome. To apply in NYC: http://bit.ly/NWueRO For more information and the complete list of chapters all over the world: http://www.awesomefoundation.org/

NEW  FinTech Innovation Lab, deadline December 19th. This is 12-week accelerator program run by the Partnership for New York City Fund and Accenture for early and growth stage companies that have developed cutting edge technology products targeted at financial services customers. For more information and to apply: http://www.fintechinnovationlab.com/

NEW ConnectNYC Fiber Challenge, deadline: December 27th. NYC challenges small businesses to compete for high-speed broadband at their location. Winners receive free fiber build-out to their business, an overall value of up to $7M for all winning businesses. For more information and to apply: http://nycfiberchallenge.com/

DEMO Mobile: The Future Is In Your Hands. Scholarship deadline: January 17th. Standard deadline, February 15th. Apply to launch or pitch: http://bit.ly/QjQQvE

Techstars NYC, deadline January 18th.  We invest $118K in each company we fund through $18K in seed funding and an optional $100K convertible debt note. TechStars itself is backed by over 75 different venture capital firms and angel investors. We also provide three months of intensive top-notch mentorship, incredible perks, and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program. Our companies average over $1M in outside venture capital raised after leaving TechStars. To more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/TNP5Cz

NEW LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future: Global Cities invite urban & social innovators to pilot their solutions. Deadline: January 31st. 21 cities are participating, each with their own pitch to companies, entrepreneurs, innovators, consortia, research centers, organizations and experts. For more information: http://bit.ly/tm2hxS

NEW   DreamIt Health, deadline February 8th. This is the first-ever Philadelphia-based health care accelerator. Powered by IBC and PennMedicine, this collaboration marks the first time a leading health insurer and a leading health care provider have come together in an accelerator to deliver the resources entrepreneurs need to capitalize on emerging health care opportunities. DreamIt Health’s 4-month program provides selected companies with a stipend up to $50,000 and office space, plus in-depth mentoring (which are uniquely assigned in a one-to-one fashion to each company), coaching from industry experts, and access to other critical health care-specific resources to rapidly develop and test its product. For more information and to apply: http://bit.ly/RQRqTc

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For you edification this week:

12 Quotes That Reveal How Larry Page Built Google Into The World’s Most Important Internet Company: http://read.bi/TLUj3o

Sell First, Market Later. Gary Gaessler explains why he believes nothing happens until sales are made, and why founders should consider putting marketing on the back burner until revenue begins rolling in: http://fi.co/posts/856

The Best Feedback for a First Time Entrepreneur. Rajesh Setty also includes the feedback that won’t help you at all – and all good to know: http://bit.ly/XGj5rP

Google stops offering Google Apps for free to focus on providing a paid-for experience. The Wall Street Journal reports that subscriptions to Google Apps and its mapping service for businesses and governments have netted the company some $1 billion over the last year, so, sure, makes sense, and pay attention:  http://tnw.co/XGeN3G

Facebook Privacy. Yes, we know it’s something of an oxymoron and careful of likes and comments. They’re suddenly viewable by everyone. Here’s how to change that: http://bit.ly/y4EwwT

Two pieces, just for the fun it:

North Korea ‘s Kim Jong-un Launches a Fragrance instead of a rocket. It’s one of those stories you just can’t make up and of course it’s called Number Un: http://nyr.kr/SywzRB

Former Microsoft Exec Decides to Just Sell Weed Instead. After a particularly rigorous code review or boring business meeting, who among us hasn’t considered just quitting our day jobs and drifting into the drug trade? And it’s now legal in Washington State: http://bit.ly/XGg3ne

Holiday prezzie – 6 Ways to Save Money Shopping on Amazon. Not everything is the bargain it appears to be. Just as in the offline world, doing a little research pays: http://bit.ly/XGi573

Elevator Pitch/Member News
Hint, hint: Feel free to tell us what you’re working on, or if you’ve been featured in the press…Share, and we will, too!

Congratulations this week go to our friends at DreamIt Ventures, who graduated yet another class of startups this past week: DreamIt Ventures graduates 15 startups in its 2012 Philadelphia class: http://bit.ly/RQR92I

Two things last things: starting January, we’re going to resume regular networking events and will feature a speaker at them. Also, if you hear of any deadlines for accelerators, contests, whatever – please do let us know. We’re always happy to spread the word. That’s it from us this week.  Hope to see you around town at some of the events this week. It’ll just be another week or two, so get out there and make the most of it. You can do it and remember to bring lots of business cards – and don’t give out your last one. Smartphone, baby. Let them take a picture. And now, as always, help is on the way…