Call Me… I’m Never Too Busy

Call Paul DeBettignies

I have had what started as a couple, and now grown to quite a few, comments the past months similar to:

  • We had some recruiting we needed help with and knowing how busy you are we called someone else

  • We have been Twitter friends since 2009 and when I needed some advice on my last job search I wanted to reach out to you but I know how busy you are

  • I wanted to bring you in and talk to our executive team about how you use different tools for recruiting but I saw your calendar on the blog and I didn’t think you would have time for us so I didn’t contact you

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Conversation With A Ruby Developer… Is Working For A Startup Risky

Startup Venture Loft Minneapolis Open House

A few weeks ago at the Startup Venture Loft open house I was introduced to a Ruby Developer who was there to network and see what the startup community is like in Minneapolis. They work for a really large company in town and are looking to see what other companies and work environments are like.

This was a new experience for them.

After giving them a sort of high level view of the community, who is doing what, who I know to be hiring, strengths and weaknesses of the culture, etc. I was asked the one question I am always asked:

Is working for a startup risky?

And my usual quick and blunt answer is:


And my follow up answer to that is:

And there is risk working for your current really large company too.

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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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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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Job Search Advice Seminar: Be Your Own Headhunter

Be Your Own Headhunter, Job Search Advice, Job Search Tips 

After a number of presentations this spring (2014) including the alumni association at the University of St Thomas, two sessions at MinneBar 9 and an interview on WCCO AM (CBS) Radio about March jobs numbers and employment in Minnesota (see photos below)… I have had a lot of folks asking if they could talk with me about their job search.

With the improving economy many folks are taking a look around to see what is available and there are those impacted by layoffs nationally and locally (Target, Best Buy, Thomson Reuters, Cargill, etc) who are looking for some guidance.

I think the best way I can be of help is to bring back my job search presentation: Be Your Own Headhunter.

The first live session is May 6th at Noon (Central time, Minneapolis).

The session will run 2 to 2.5 hours including a lot of Q&A from those attending. Yes, if you ever wanted to ask a Headhunter about a job search this is the time to do it.

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Conversation With A Java Developer… Should I Learn Ruby On Rails?

During MinneBar a Java Developer tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I had a couple of minutes to give her some career advice.

What she asked is a common question right now with Java and .Net Developers:

Should I learn Ruby? (I think she was really asking should she become a Ruby Developer)

A simple question with a not so simple, short answer:

The easy answer is yes. Well, maybe. It depends.

The IT Recruiter in me who works mostly with startups and tech companies wants to say:

Yeah and what are you waiting for.

But it is not that easy.

Do I think that developers should learn new languages?


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IT Contractors… How Long Are You Locked Up For?

IT Consultant Exclusivity

Jerry Albright (@Jerry_Albright) a colleague of mine, CEO of Professional Search Group in Indiana, has a Facebook group for Recruiters (those of us who make placements) and we share stuff about what is going in our business. Today he posted something that if I were an IT contractor… I would want to know about.

As I understand it Jerry submitted “Moe” for a contract position at “Widgets, Inc”. Jerry learned “Moe” had been submitted months ago for a different position at “Widgets, Inc” through another contract shop. The bill rate was not something the client was going to pay and it did not help “Moe” was not a great fit for that particular gig.

That happens.

When Jerry submits “Moe” for this other gig “Widgets, Inc” says “Moe” is locked out for opportunities there for 12 months.

12 months???

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CareerBuilder Survey: Best And Worst Words For A Resume

Thinking back to the presentations I did at the University of St Thomas the past month (Social Media – Best Practices for Maintaining an Optimal Online Presence) one of the most frequently asked questions I received was:

You talk to us about using buzzwords, keywords and acronyms in our profiles and resume… what are some of the words you most like to see?

Given the amount of time we had I did not get into a long list but I did mention a few themes:

  • Increased sales
  • Cut costs
  • Increased web traffic, newsletter signups, engagement with customers
  • Made something more efficient

And add numbers… as in statistics like:

By doing this “thing” we increased sales “X”%

In streamlining this “process” we cut costs “X”%

Implementing “this strategy” we increased web site traffic “X” times

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IT Career Advice: Are You A Jerk, Would You Want To Work With You?

Dear Mr. or Ms. IT pro, are you a “jerk”?

Or a “brilliant asshole”?

Are you self-aware enough to know?

A few weeks ago I was in a room with a dozen or so VP of IT and CIO’s talking about how to grow the local IT talent pool, what the current demand is for different skill sets, we tried to predict what would be in demand and some other things.

Another topic was, do we hire for skill set and being able to code or do we hire for personality and we can train.

There were varying opinions with most leaning towards hiring for personality, culture fit and working on the skill set. The idea being technologies change but people… not so much.

One of the comments made was:

“I am tired of brilliant ass holes”

And everyone responded with a nod, giggle or “yep”.

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Conversation With A PHP Developer... Should I Take The Startup Job?

A PHP developer I met this spring at sent me an email wondering about a job offer they received and wanted to walk through it with me.

I know they had been thinking about an employer change for months wanting to get into the startup world and always stopped from taking the leap for one reason...


I get that concern, I really do.

It can be very scary to jump from a large, mostly stable employer (if there is such a thing) to work in a young company (the company, not the people), without customers (likely), that has funding (seed capital) for 9 months (yikes) and little to any benefits (whoa).

We went through a long list of things to consider:

- Salary

- Company culture (what there is of it)

- Experience of the Founders

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Conversation With A Minnesota IT Recruiter... “Would You Work For Your Client?”

Boiler Room, Vin Diesel.jpg

“None of this Debbie the Time Life operator bullshit. So get on the phones, it's time to get to work. Get off your ass! Move around. Motion creates emotion.” - Boiler Room

I had an eye opening, jaw dropping conversation with a Minnesota IT Recruiter colleague.

They were looking for a pep talk and I don’t know that I helped much.

They have worked at one of the large (read that as publicly traded, office in every city) sweatshops consulting firms for quite a few years (counting on two hands now) and has finally grown tired of the “Boiler Room” business approach most groups use.

To which I first asked:

“What took you so long?”

There were a bunch of reasons why they have “finally” come to this point.

But one is still nagging at me. I asked them:

"Would you work for your clients?”

And the answer was not “no” it was:

“Hell No!!!”

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Minnesota IT Job Search And Career Advice

The past couple of weeks I have seen a noticeable significant increase in the number of Minnesota IT professionals reaching out to me via Twitter, LinkedIn, email and shared people connections looking for job search, career, annual review and need to ask for a raise advice.

Maybe the increase is because I have not been attending user group events this summer (#GoneFishing) and absence has made the IT folks hearts grow fonder.

Paul DeBettignies Fishing, Minnesota Recruiter, Minnesota Headhunter

Could be... I doubt it.

My opinion: it’s the beginning of a shift in our IT community... those doing the work are more than ever weighing their options. And they (you) are being more aggressive about.

These are a sample of the questions from the past weeks:

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