Thoughts On Amazon Recruiting In Minneapolis

Last week Kathy Grayson at the Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal posted this article Amazon’s cloud-computing arm shops for Twin Cities talent

There have been some interesting reactions to the news ranging from:

Why here - yes, we do have a lot of very good IT pros here & who are looking for something new

Who would want to move to Seattle - two words, polar vortex

Oh crap, we can’t compete with them – yes, yes you can

So let’s cover those briefly…

To those who say we do not have enough talented IT pros in town or that we can’t compete with groups on the coast I say this… BS

Too strong? I have a much stronger response that will likely offend a bunch of you.

So let me pull this from the article… this is a more polite way of saying it:

Scott Burns, CEO of growing St. Paul software company GovDelivery Inc., said he's not surprised Amazon is recruiting in Minnesota.

"Anyone from Amazon or from Google is wise to tap into this market. We have a lot of talent," he said. "We compete by making [GovDelivery] an awesome place to work."

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Conversation With Tech And HR Leaders… Minnesota IT Jobs And Hiring Numbers

This morning I had my 4th of 6 meetings this month with Tech and HR leaders talking about recruiting strategies to fill their Minnesota IT Jobs in 2015.

I have a bunch of stats, salary ranges, news stories, etc. and then we get into some examples of groups doing this well and those… not so much. Everyone leaves with a skeleton plan on what to do and then they can fill it in to best suit their group.

During these conversations I have noticed that attendees fall into three categories:

- Those who in my opinion “get it”. They understand this is a competitive time and for the past couple of years have been putting time and/or money into their recruiting. They are looking to fine tune their strategy and make the engine run better and faster. 15% of the groups are in this category.

- Those who in my opinion don’t “get it”. They think recruiting is about posting a job on their career site and Craig’s List. They have a 6 cylinder engine running on 4.5, see the “check engine” light on and ignore it. 25% of the groups are in this category.

- 60% of the groups fall into “are trying”. They have a 10 year old car with a little rust on it. They get OK gas mileage but don’t have the extra horsepower in the engine to pass anyone. Sooner or later it gets them where they are going and they know that there are not many miles left. The car needs to be replaced.

Basic recommendations I have been giving to the last group:

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IT Career Advice: Managing Your IT Career (video)

Minnesota Recruiter, Minnesota Headhunter, Minnesota IT Jobs, Paul DeBettignies

Videos from MinneBar 9 are posted including my “Managing Your IT Career v6 - (Why do recruiters suck so bad?)”.

We had a fun conversation and I only had one slide with a few bullet points I wanted to talk about:

  • I have an affliction
  • Why do recruiters suck
  • Hot IT skills
  • Jobs scene
  • Economy
  • Negotiate $5 an hour ($10K a year)
  • LinkedIn – Friend and Foe
  • No Ninjas

Besides my points we covered other topics including:

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3 Minnesota Companies Listed In 2014 Computerworld 100 Best Places To Work In IT

ComputerWorld 2014 100 Best Places To Work In IT

Conputerworld has released it’s 100 Best Places To Work In IT and once again 3 Minnesota companies make the list.

And once again it is the same 3 companies: General Mills, Medtronic and Securian Financial Group.

How they made the list:

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Conversation With A CIO… Stop Recruiting My People

Stop recruiting my people 

Fact… Minneapolis is a really large, small town. No “six degrees of separation” here. I think it is 2.5.

Last week I accepted an invite from a CIO to talk about my recruiting his people. I knew it was going to be a difficult conversation but I know him through a friend and was willing to “take it for the team”.

Yeah, not a good idea.

It was a brutal conversation. The kind where the coffee shop manager had to walk over twice and ask us to “keep it down”.

I’m not going to get into specifics of the conversation other than to say this (because I know you are likely wondering)… I was contacted by a team of developers through a common friend.

Let me say that again… they called me.

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Survey: Top 40 Most Searched IT Skills Spring 2014

Dice Most Desired Skills Developers

Whether I am talking with a Recruiter or HR pro, IT developer or CIO the most frequently asked question is:

What are the hot skills?

My Recruiter and HR friends are usually asking so they can figure out if they suck at recruiting or if the demand/competition is as intense as they think.

Developers are asking to know if they should be raising their rates/salaries and/or where the market is going with technology.

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Minnesota IT Jobs, Salary and Recruiting Report Summer 2014

With the annual spring 2014 tech, recruiter and HR conferences over and A LOT of “War for Talent” and “Skills Shortages” conversations over the past weeks and months I decided this is a good time to sit down and put together a “what’s going on”  and "ewhat's next" with Minnesota IT jobs, salaries and recruiting.

This is my perspective from working with and recruiting for startups and tech companies and conversations with large companies about their recruiting strategies.

This gives me a unique view of the tech community.

I put together a summary of all of that info, added in a bunch of reference points from national IT job and salary surveys and put it on YouTube.

If you want a copy of the slide deck send me an email:

Here is the agenda I used:

  • Intro
  • Upcoming events
  • What’s going on in MN
  • Recruiters in demand
  • Job and Skills info
  • Salary info
  • Recruiting
  • Conclusion

If you are a startup CEO, in HR or a corporate recruiter, tech manager or CIO, coordinate a tech group or are an IT professional (did I leave anyone out?) and have questions, thoughts or comments send me an email.

This is the fun stuff for me… my version of being a nerd:


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Debut: Minnesota IT Job Board

I did it!!!

If you are a friend of mine or have had a conversation with me about Minnesota IT jobs or recruiting in Minnesota in the last say… five years, you have likely heard me say something like:

“(rant) I should just start posting jobs and help spread the word”

Well… check this one off the “to do” list:

is live.

About time, right?

For now I am going to host it here as an extra page on Minnesota Headhunter until I know it has some traction and yes, I have a bunch of appropriate domain names. I’ve had them for many, many years.

The page is still a work in progress but I want to put it out there now so I don’t sit on it for another few weeks.

I do have the first 10 jobs posted.

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Event: Recruiting For Minnesota Startups

Google For Entrepreneurs Minnesota Headhunter, Minnesota Recruiter, Minnesota IT Jobs

At MinneBar 9 I did not do my “Recruiting For Startups” like I had the previous 3 years… I should have. I spent a good chunk of my day answering questions, giving advice and helping create recruiting strategies.

These are conversations I enjoy… I messed up by not doing the session.

Fortunately this topic fits under the “Black Box” program through Google for Entrepreneurs at CoCo.


Recruiting For Startups

Who should attend:

Startup or early stage company CEO, CXO, VP/Dir of IT, Founder/Co Founders who do not have HR or a Recruiter on staff and are recruiting now or before the end of 2014.


June 2nd
6 - 8 pm


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Coffee With Paul DeBettignies… Minnesota IT Jobs And Salaries

Minnesota IT Jobs, Minnesota Recruiter

Far and away the most frequently asked question I receive is, “Hey, do you have time for coffee?”

I want to say yes but for starters… I don’t like coffee.

Seriously, I don’t.

For many Downtown Minneapolis or the Warehouse District where I spend most of my time during the work day is not convenient for many people.

And I do my best thinking when I am walking around be it by the river, lake or pacing on the phone. Sitting in a chair in a coffee shop is not where I do my best work.

So I have come up with an idea… do a monthly webinar with a “theme”.

I will pick some topics and questions to cover and rely on those who are attending to ask the questions they have as if we were having coffee.

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