Sunday, April 6, 2014

Employee Poaching On the Streets of San Francisco

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Every morning, herds of tech workers gather there awaiting shuttle buses to the campuses of Google, Facebook, Adobe, LinkedIn, among others. Corralled and stuck in line, the tech bus crowd is a captive audience.

For the past two weeks, recruiters from software startup Bigcommerce have taken advantage of Silicon Valley's well-known commuting regimen. Members of its executive team, bolstered by a small army of help-for-hire, have descended upon techie shuttle stops around the city in a bid to win over top engineering talent.

"Are you interested in changing the world of e-commerce?" Steve Donnelly, the recruiter, asked a couple of dapper guys waiting for the Facebook bus. They were not interested.

And if changing the world wasn't an enticing enough offer, of course there would be free drinks as well.

The ploy is gimmicky, yes, but it is also apparently effective: The company has spoken with more than 1,000 potential candidates, extended offers to at least six and hired two, so far. Bigcommerce, based in Austin, Texas, is opening a San Francisco office and needs more than 40 engineers and product developers in a hurry. Since turning bus stops into job fairs, the company says traffic to its career site has increased by 54 percent and application volume by 150 percent.

West Stringfellow, the company's new chief product officer, came up with the idea at a previous job when he commuted from Noe Valley to Market Street, passing shuttle stops on the way.

"Every day, I would just see all this top talent hanging out on the sidewalk," he said. "I thought, if I ever have to build a team really fast, I'll just go hit those folks right where they're standing."

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