Manager-Magazin goes to Gravity’s Jeff Winter for insight on recent bay area companies’ retention and recruiting practices.

Klaus Werle, senior editor at Manager-Magazin, took the opportunity to sit down with Gravity’s Jeff Winter and discuss recent bay area recruiting and retention trends. As the battle to court prospective talent continues, recruiters and companies are utlilzing techniques, both old and new.

Read the full story here.

To learn more about GravityPeople and to view a host of current openings for technology professionals click here.

Blood in the Water at Cisco: Gravity’s Jeff Winter tapped for his expertise

Joseph Walker, reporter and key contributor of, spoke with GravityPeople’s Jeff Winter on how recent Cisco Layoffs  affect the Bay Area labor market and subsequent recruiting practices utilized by recruiters and Cisco competitors.

This story comes on the heels of Cisco outperforming analyst expectations.

Read the full story here.

To learn more about GravityPeople and to view a host of current openings for technology professionals click here.

GravityPeople on NPR Morning Edition – No Zuck for You!

Zoe Chace of NPR interviewed GravityPeople’s CEO Jeff Winter today on the Technology segment of NPR’s morning edition.  The story highlighted the lower than normal unemployment rate for Bay Area technology workers and the fact that the future is looking bright for new grads as technology companies look to scoop up fresh, young talent.

The story goes on to talk about what Gravity, a leading Bay Area technology recruiting firm, has been prognosticating about for the last twelve months: technology companies are competing fiercely for talent because there’s a massive shortage of qualified candidates with experience in mobile and application development.

Check out our current job openings and have a listen, maybe you’ll be the next Mark Zuckerberg!

GravityPeople Wins Top Recruiting Firm Award

GravityPeople has been a top 20 recruiting company in  San Francisco since 1999. All of our team members are part of this community. We eat in the same restaurants as you, hike the same trails as you, ride the same mountains as you and we are proud to be a part of the California economy. It’s nice to be recognized as a leader in the local recruiting services industry.

We’re proud to receive this award though we think the category doesn’t necessary tell our entire story.

GravityPeople is a leading recruitment outsourcer providing direct-hire and hourly recruiting services. Established in 1998, GravityPeople has been serving the San Francisco Bay Area Technology community for over a decade.  Now with expanded geographical capabilities, GravityPeople provides strategic technical recruiting services to clients across North America.

To see a list of our open positions, please click here.

To learn more about the recruiting services we offer click here.

To speak with a technical recruiter or a contact that can assist with your recruiting project click here.

San Francisco Business Times Ranks GravityPeople as Top Search Firm

Last week, the San Francisco Business Times released their annual Book of Lists, a publication of listings of hundreds of the hottest  Bay Area companies in their fields, by ranking. GravityPeople is excited to be listed as the 4th largest Contingency Executive Search Firm in the region. And, even more encouraging, is the fact that our direct-hire /contingent technical search business comprises only 50% of our total annual business.  The other portion of our business is our growing recruitment outsourcing business that focuses on technical and other high-complexity searches.

This is not our first time making the Book of Lists.  GravityPeople was  named to the San Francisco Business Times “Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies” list in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Since the beginning in 1998, our goal has not changed; provide the best technology recruiting services in the recruiting industry. The recipe for our success hasn’t changed either. We respect others, work hard, and pride ourselves on having unparalleled industry knowledge.

2011 Technology Hiring Prediction: Attrition Inevitable

As a technical recruiting company, it’s critical to stay on top of IT staffing trends. In addition to frequently researching data published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dice Holdings’ annual salary survey , and other credible sources of labor statistics, we also like see what some of the large firms in our space are finding through surveys of their own. Recently, we obtained a copy Robert Half’s 2011 Salary Guide for IT. While Robert Half is best known in the technology recruiting arena for temporary staffing, some of their findings align with what we are seeing in the direct hire marketplace. Notably, over half of the CIOs polled by Robert Half admit that it’s challenging for their companies to find skilled IT professionals. Even more interesting is the statistic pertaining to the probable transiency of IT workers in the coming quarters. Nearly 40% of the respondents (over 1400 employed technology professionals) claim that they are inclined to look for new opportunities as the economy improves.

Get ready for some attrition.

While we may never again see the astronomical attrition rates that characterized the employment scene during the inflation of the Dot-com bubble, it is inevitable that companies will lose valuable employees as current market conditions continue to improve.  There’s already evidence that large technology employers in the Valley are trying to counteract the flight of valuable tech pros.  Several of the big tech players, many of which were previously dismissive of attrition, are starting to battle back by counter offering at risk employees with higher salaries, new projects and promotions. Smart companies are realizing that the demand for talent has increased in the past couple of months and that it’s less expensive to keep a high performing employee than to find a new person and to wait for them to get productive.

Startups need to be the most vigilant.

Sure, free drinks, Nerf wars, game lounges and weekly sponsored lunches are nice but professional techies won’t settle for free Odwalla, dim sum, and Wii alone (as tempting as it may sound). Moreover, the promise of a huge liquidity event is more of a pipedream than ever. Tech professionals are going to look for new opportunities in 2011 at a higher rate for the first time in 3 years. Many startup companies, especially those stuck in the ‘90’s, that think that everyone should just naturally want to work long hours on mediocre projects for low pay and average benefits are going to have to channel their entrepreneurial creativity to find ways to motivate and inspire valuable employees to join and to stay engaged.   Oxygen bar? Just kidding. That’s never worked.

GravityPeople’s Jeff Winter Invited to be a Panelist at Dice Holding’s Investor Day 2010

Jeff Winter, GravityPeople

Jeff Winter, GravityPeople’s CEO has been invited to be a customer panelist at the annual Dice Holdings Investor Summit to be hosted in New York on September 30th.  As a customer panelist, Jeff will participate in valuable roundtable discussions that will explore trends in recruitment advertising, new stand-out job distribution services, advertisement spend patterns and the state of the overall recruiting economy in the coming quarters.

GravityPeople, a national technical recruiting company headquartered in San Francisco, has been a Dice customer for over 12 years. GravityPeople’s client portfolio ranges from early-stage venture backed technology companies to large publicly held household names and while organizational size may vary, all of Gravity’s customers demand the best and brightest technology professionals. “Dice has always been an integral part of our overall candidate attraction strategy for both our direct-hire and recruitment outsourcing business units”, comments Jeff Winter.   Jeff went on to say, “ has been our most consistent advertising resource for over decade specifically for technical talent. I’m excited to participate at the Investor Summit this year”.

Jeff’s panel starts at 11:30 AM ET and you can listen to it here:

See GravityPeople’s  Open Jobs

About Dice Holdings:

Dice Holdings, Inc. is a leading provider of specialized career websites for select professional communities.  Dice has a 20-year track record of bringing together millions of professionals and thousands of companies through specialized career websites in several professional sectors, including technology, financial services, energy, healthcare and security clearance. Today, Dice serves multiple markets in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Be a hiring machine – Part 3: Every Interview Must Include Marketing

Interviewing is certainly the process by which we make the determination to hire someone. However, there is also a critical component to this process—creating interest in potential employees. If we think back to the Four F’s (Find, Filter, Face and Finish) we will remember that Face is the process of interviewing. Just as bad filtration will lead to poor interview success, a lack of effective marketing will lead to poor acceptance ratios in the Finish cycle.

Every interviewer must understand that although the corporate goal is to reduce the risk of a bad hire, a candidate is trying to reduce the risk of a bad job. Therefore, companies must take care to provide information to the candidate that will reduce the perception of risk.

Marketing must be a component of all stages of the hiring lifecycle. At the “Face” stage, we can map marketing’s objectives to the interview triangle.

Ability: What will the candidate be doing? Why is this interesting?
Talent: What growth opportunities will the candidate have?
Character: Why should the candidate want to work for the company?

The later the stage in the hiring process when marketing actually begins the less effective it becomes. Save your marketing punch for the closing stage of a candidate’s offer, and its reception will be lukewarm. Inserting a corporate spokesperson (ideally a future co-worker) into the interview process is highly effective in increasing offer acceptance ratios.

The company that provides the most information to a candidate in the hiring process will almost always beat a competitive offer.

Next week – Part 4:  A hiring machine sample interview process

About GravityPeople
GravityPeople is a leading recruitment outsourcer providing direct-hire and hourly recruiting services. Established in 1998, GravityPeople has been serving the San Francisco Bay Area Technology community for over decade.  Now with a national focus, GravityPeople provides strategic technical recruiting services to clients across North America.

GravityPeople’s Jonathan Chenard talks technical recruiting with the San Francisco Chronicle

Jonathan Chenard, Vice President of Services

Jonathan Chenard, GravityPeople’s Vice President of Recruiting Services, was recently interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle for an article on hiring in Silicon Valley. The piece appeared on this weekend and focused on rumors of attrition at large Silicon Valley employers like Google.

Jonathan is quoted as saying, “We’ve actually seen people actively looking for jobs who are at Google. In the past, those people have tended to stay put.”

It’s true, our teams have seen attrition from nearly all of the major technology companies in the Valley but we can’t confirm any mass exoduses. As the economy continues to improve, technology workers are presented with more opportunities, many of which are at start-ups. Tech professionals are again frequently weighing all of their options both internally and now, more often, externally.  Large companies which are commonly thought of as “safe harbors” during tough economic times (often mistakenly) are once again being forced to take talent acquisition (and retention) seriously as the technology labor market has again become very competitive. In fact, in June, we reported the shift from an employer’s market to a candidate’s market in a blog post that you can read here.

About GravityPeople:

GravityPeople is a leading recruitment outsourcer providing direct-hire and hourly recruiting services. Established in 1998, GravityPeople has been serving the San Francisco Bay Area Technology community for over decade.  Now with a national focus, GravityPeople provides strategic technical recruiting services to clients across North America.  To learn more about GravityPeople’s services from employers click here.  To see a list of GravityPeople open positions, click here.

Be a hiring machine – Part 2: Making the Determination

Making the Determination: Interviewing For Ability, Talent and Character

Here’s part two of our series on how to be a hiring machine.   You can read part one here.

When we interview we are trying to create a hypothetical environment to mimic a real-world situation.  This simulation will hopefully enable us to reduce the risk of making a bad hire by giving us a fair estimation of the candidate’s performance in our real-world environment.  What measurements will give us the best prediction of performance? The three critical measurements are:

What is Ability?

Ability is the measure of a person’s skill and experience and correlates to a job description’s “must haves”.  When a company interviews for ability, they are trying to determine if the person can accomplish the minimum requirements of the position.  The simplest question to ask is, “Can the person do the job?” Another, perhaps more concise question is, “Can the person be effective in this role immediately?”

Ability determines the execution ability of a company.  To slightly oversimplify, the more ability a company’s workforce maintains the more it can get done.  Of course, ability is affected by things like work ethic and decision making.  But in theory, a company with three software developers can write three times more code than a company that has one software developer.

For some jobs ability level might be the only concern: “Can they cut down a tree?”  For others positions, and this depends on the job as well as the company, there are two other measurements—talent and character.  Knowledge workers require high degrees of skill, but also high quantities of talent and character.  For example, hiring someone to flip burgers may only require the ability to flip burgers; it does not require a great deal of talent nor character.  Hiring a Vice President of Marketing requires ability, but talent and character are probably just as important.

Since skill and experience is a largely objective measurement, ability is then the easiest and least expensive to identify.  “Is the person ethical” is a much more subjective and nuanced question than, “Can the person write HTML?”  Since the latter measurement is largely objective, we can use lower-cost resources (lower-level employees, outsource) to measure ability.  Once we have inexpensively confirmed that the person has the skill to accomplish the job responsibilities we can move to more subjective questions.

Ability First

Only after the interview process has determined the ability level of a candidate is adequate should we concern ourselves with the more costly measurements of talent and character.  If the person can not do the job there is no reason to confirm whether they can grow with the job or if they fit the corporate culture. Perhaps this sounds strong, but for both candidate and company alike, spending time in interviews that test for cultural fit and for growth potential before we know if they can do what is required of them day-one is a waste of everyone’s time.  Thus, the first step in the interview process should be to gauge ability level; it is the easiest and cheapest to identify and a “must-have” requirement.

What is Talent?

“How well does this person fit our long-term objectives?” This is an appropriate way to correlate talent’s importance to interviewing and hiring.  Every company has immediate needs, and those immediate needs, like tax preparation or Java coding, are what we look for in ability.  Talent optimizes these abilities and it should also map to long term corporate objectives, like managing teams or launching an office.

In older economies, talent had some importance, but perhaps not as much as skill (if you need someone to chop down a tree, do you need them to design a saw as well?).  In knowledge-worker organizations problem solving and decision making are often as important as skill.

If you map talent acquisition to corporate development objectives you can actually build the higher-value employees in your company instead of hiring them from outside.  Look why some companies hire college recruits—the ability requirement is low, but they hope to build ability through talent development.  For companies like consulting firms and investment banks it is more effective to build the talent for five years then to recruit someone with five years of experience.  In many industries, we simply do not have the luxury of a five-year training window, so we can not solely screen for talent.

Talent can be measured with behavioral and problem-solving questions.  Behavioral questions measure a person’s past performance in certain situations, which give us a measure of their decision-making abilities. It takes a skilled interviewer and appropriate content to drive this stage of the interview cycle.  If you ask someone to name a time they were given a project with little supervision or resources and how they dealt with it, you get a very subjective response.

Talent Second

Talent is more difficult to identify than ability.  Whereas ability measurements like skill-testing produce results that are easy to measure (it is easy to see that 2+2=5 is the wrong answer), talent measurements require more interactive open-ended questions.  Not only do we need to spend more time with the applicant to gauge talent, we need a more skilled resource to measure it.  Thus the measurement of talent becomes more expensive.  However, talent is more easily identified than character, so we should take care in identifying talent in the middle stages of the interview cycle.  If the person does not fit our development strategy, does not solve problems well or makes bad decisions it is likely a waste of resources to see if they augment corporate culture.

What is Character?

“Do I want to work with this person?”

“Will this person have a positive affect on our culture?”

Both of these questions are appropriate measures of character’s value to the interview process and hiring.  Like talent, character optimizes the output of ability.  Someone can be very skilled, but if they are difficult to manage—then the value of their skill is reduced.  Character also maps to broader human capital objectives in that it closely aligns with employee retention.  If you hire disagreeable people, your turnover is likely to be higher than average.

Character can be measured by behavioral interviewing questions.  It is often not the response that is important, but the way the response is given that is important.  An answer that says “yes” but has associated body language that is contrary to the answer is a character “red flag”.

Character Last

Of the three, ability, talent and character, the nebulous nature of character makes it by far the most difficult to quantify. Due to this problem, the last stage of interviewing requires the highest value employees to competently measure character.  In a well-run interview process we desire to reduce the risk of a bad hires as well as maximize the time and effort of employees.  No one will say in an interview that they are not a hard worker or that they have a bad temper.  In light of this, character should be measured near the end of the interview process by very adept interviewers whose opinion will be trusted.

In saying that character should be measured near the end of the interview process, we do not intend to say it should not be looked for earlier.  Care should be taken at all stages to identify risk associated with character.  Although we can tolerate some deficiencies in talent and skill, deficiencies in character are almost always a reason for a no-hire.

Next week – Part 3: Mix 2 parts marketing and shake

About GravityPeople

GravityPeople is a leading recruitment outsourcer providing direct-hire and hourly recruiting services. Established in 1998, GravityPeople has been serving the San Francisco Bay Area Technology community for over decade.  Now with a national focus, GravityPeople provides strategic technical recruiting services to clients across North America.