Conversation With A Startup Founder: I Need Help With The Non Recruiting Activities Of Recruiting


A couple of months ago during Twin Cities Startup Week I had a chat with a with a Startup Founder who was telling me about how they were having an easy time with recruiting. And I was not surprised. The group has a strong set of leaders who are well known and respected. They each have a good to great network of tech friends in town. And they had been active in saying they were hiring.

I had a conversation with the same person New Year’s Eve Day and they are… stressed out. Things are not going well.

I asked if I could take some notes to write for a blog post and they said yes.

Here are some issues they have been facing:

  • Process: they don’t have one. Each candidate experience has essentially turned into a choose your own adventure book. And at times has had everyone feeling confused.

  • Time: they don’t have it and they’re wasting it. Interview cycles were 3 weeks and that was before the holidays started. They are losing people because they are taking offers at other places or becoming disinterested.

  • Negotiation: they suck at it. They generally are not talking about their own salary range or what candidate expectations are until they are ready to extend the offer. Two times they found themselves $10K+ apart. Other times they went way outside their budget. They are not communicating why someone should work there beyond salary. An offer should be a win-win for both parties.

  • Brand: they are beginning to hurt their own reputations. They are not getting back to people in a timely manner and they are not “rejecting” people in a respectful way.

  • Candidate pool: is good to really good. But it’s not great. They are not finding people outside of their network so candidates tend to have the same experience and work/worked at the same places. Their pool tends to lack diversity of thought, experience, gender and age.

Here are the highlights of the advice I gave:

  • Create a process that is easy to manage and the same for everyone. Exceptions to the process are just that and not the norm.

  • Time is never your friend when it comes to recruiting. It must be a priority. I get you are busy building a company, speaking with VC’s and tending to day to day operations. But this can’t be an after thought.

  • Negotiations are always tricky… my advice to both “sides” is to be transparent from the start.

  • You have to treat people better than the way you want to be treated. We live in a really large, small town. More than that, it’s the right thing to do.

  • Having a strong network is awesome… but you can’t just fish from the same place every time. You need to go to other places, meet new people and grow who you know.

Back to the title of this post… the Founder said to me they need help with the “non-recruiting activities of recruiting”.

Their problem is that they thought recruiting is just the act of finding people or in their case… people finding them.

What they really need is a recruiting strategy that is reliable, sustainable and scalable.

If you are a startup founder, CTO, etc. and want to chat about recruiting and related topics… send me an email. I love these kinds of conversations.

Click for current blog posts and for Minnesota IT jobs I am working on.

Stay in touch with me by clicking:


Newsletter Sign Up

Super Talented Minnesota Grads Are Working At Top Tech Companies Nationally

Minnesota Tech Jobs

I’m sitting in the passenger seat as we drive from Fargo back to Minneapolis and as I stare out the window I have been thinking about recruiting to our region (really, this is on my mind)… and how do we get more people to move to the area. I think about this a lot.

Then about a conversation I had this week about how everyone is recruiting and few groups are really working on retention.

And that gets me to this… as a region we need to do a better job at getting people to stay. Sure, some folks are going to leave (family reasons, wanting to experience a larger tech hub, experience something new, etc.) but what about the ones who wanted to stay and couldn’t find the right role?

A month ago I had a chat with a Full Stack Developer who interviewed with a number of Minneapolis and St Paul companies (startups, software and Fortune 500) and in each case did not get an offer. They are talented but it seemed that each group was being very specific about the skills they were looking for and willing to wait to find that one right person.

Yet… they received offers from Google and Salesforce.

That gets me to the presentation LinkedIn gave at Tech Cities 2018. They provided a bunch of data on the local tech scene including this…

“Notable employers of grads from MN universities by location”:

  • Amazon - Seattle

  • Microsoft - Seattle

  • Google - San Francisco Bay Area

  • Apple - San Francisco Bay Area

  • Intel - Portland

  • Facebook - San Francisco Bay Area

  • LinkedIn - San Francisco Bay Area

  • Salesforce - San Francisco Bay Area

  • Uber - San Francisco Bay Area

Continue reading "Super Talented Minnesota Grads Are Working At Top Tech Companies Nationally" »

U.S. Tech Jobs Roundup v1

U.S. Tech Jobs Distribution

I was in a meeting today with a group of senior HR leaders from about 15 companies and I was asked if I could give them some examples of what is going on in other cities around the country when it comes to tech and IT job trends. Were some cities and regions seeing growth, astronomical growth… were smaller cities and rural areas seeing people leaving for big cities?

What they were getting to (and I do this a lot) is “how are we doing” compared to other cities and can we speculate on some conclusions.

Let me speculate first and a reminder that while I am highly interested in economic development I am not an economist. I am a tech recruiter, regional advocate and highly opinionated blogger and podcaster.

Are we doing OK? Yeah

Are we doing better than we used to? Yes

Do I think we are about to could get passed by some other cities that “rank” below us? Absolutely

We need to get off our Midwest, we don’t like to promote ourselves ass and started being vocal about the career and life opportunities here. If you know me at all you have heard me say something like that 127 times by now. Yet… I am still saying it because we have barely moved the needle on it. As individuals, employees, companies, elected officials and community engaged people we need to get loud. Louder.

We have to get this idea into our head… we are NOT competing for “talent” (still hate the word) with Best Buy, Target, 3M, Total Expert, Code42, Accenture, Medtronic and whoever is going through a growth phase. We are competing with regions like Boulder, Austin, Chicago, startups in the Bay Area who allow workers to be remote and the tech companies in Atlanta who lives and breathe diversity and inclusion.

We MUST more frequently and more loudly tell our Minneapolis/St Paul story. It’s a good one. And if we don’t tell it then we can’t be shocked when other regions look more attractive.

You can find some more on this topic by clicking A Bunch Of Thoughts… Minneapolis And Amazon HQ2

The quick research I came up with for the group:

Continue reading "U.S. Tech Jobs Roundup v1" »

Commercial Project Manager Best 2018 Job On Indeed

Top U.S. Jobs, Commerical Project Manager #1 Job, Minnesota Jobs  

Indeed has their The Best Jobs in the United States: 2018 and I am happy to see construction related jobs are coming back:

  • #1 Commercial Project Manager

  • #5 Preconstruction Manager

  • #6 Construction Superintendent

  • #12 Construction Estimator

  • #19 Construction Manager

While I am a tech guy and not surprised that 8 of the 25 jobs are tech related it is good that other jobs are in(coming back in) demand. And not as a political statement… we need to focus on infrastructure in our country. Not everyone needs to or wants to code and the construction industry is one place people can get training, earn a good living and have a career.

I was asked by some high school students if everyone needed to go into tech and my answer was,:

“No. Is it a good idea to learn some basics? Yes. Is it a good idea to understand tech in a macro sense? Yes. There are plenty of careers outside of tech that will not be going away anytime soon. I am not a believer that AI and robots are taking all our jobs. Will they have an impact? Yes. Things change. We must too. And let me be clear that tech companies also have marketing, sales, customer success, help desk, HR and other jobs. No, you don’t need to be a coder but you do need to be a life long learner in every career, whatever you do.”

Continue reading "Commercial Project Manager Best 2018 Job On Indeed" »

State Of Startup Recruiting

Startup Recruiting, Recruitng For Startups

The past months I have been talking with a number of Midwest startup CEO’s, CTO’s and non tech Co Founder’s about recruiting and what to expect in 2018.

The main point I left with all of them is that they as individuals need to spend more of their work and personal time on it. My experience is that Bay Area CEO’s will spend up to a third of their time recruiting. And in the Midwest… CEO’s generally spend much less time than that.

And yet, everyone knows that recruiting is very competitive and time consuming.

While I was having these conversations State of Startups 2017 was released by First Round Capital. In their third year of the survey it’s a great look into the operations of these groups. This year 869 startup founders took their survey.

I should note that 56.9% of the respondents were from the West Coast, 29.7% from the East Coast, 7.2% from the South and 6.1% from the Midwest. I say that because location of the respondents matter as each ecosystem and region is very unique. Generally I think it’s a good data set from which to refer to and have conversations about.

Continue reading "State Of Startup Recruiting" »

Survey: Minneapolis #6 City For Tech Hiring In 2018


Minneapolis IT Jobs, Minnesota IT Jobs

A few weeks ago on the MSP on Deck Podcast 12 - The most popular tech news stories of 2017 + what big things are in the pipe for 2018? we made predictions for 2018 and one of mine is that Minneapolis and St Paul will see more IT job growth and a greater number of layoffs than 2017.

Yes… I am predicting both.

Let me start with the “bad news” first. As 2017 went on there were a number of unannounced layoffs at many large companies… usually in the 10’s, 20’s and 50’s range of jobs. It seemed like some large companies were doing this so not to have to file a notice with the State of Minnesota.

That’s speculation on my part and I stand by it. Add up all the numbers and they would have had to file a notice. These layoffs were generally part of restructuring staff, maybe over hired in a group, becoming more efficient, etc. And they were in all skill sets from marketing, sales, customer service and yes, IT.

Startups and small tech groups are a part of this too. A customer is lost, a MVP does not work, investors worry about the burn rate, etc. Layoffs are in the 2’s, 5’s and 10’s.

And that’s my basis for more tech layoffs in 2018 than 2017… it will continue. It happens and it’s a normal thing in a growing economy. Many companies have hired hard and fast the past 18 months and some may have gone a bit too far.

Continue reading "Survey: Minneapolis #6 City For Tech Hiring In 2018" »

Companies Sued Over Alleged Age Discrimination In Facebook Job Ads

Let met start with a disclaimer (and one Teresa Thompson, my attorney at Fredrikson & Byron would want me to make)… I am not an attorney and while I may think I am an expert at some legal things after many years of watching  Law and Order reruns, I am not. Speaking of Teresa… she spoke about this topic at my Midwest Recruiting Bootcamp this summer.

ProPublica and The New York Times collaborated on a story posted yesterday with these headlines:

The short version is that they found ads posted by companies like Verizon, Goldman Sachs, Target, and yes…Facebook targeting certain age groups. And that Amazon, Northwestern Mutual and the New York City Department of Education are in the process of or recently changed their strategy.


And to be clear… these are not the only groups who have been doing this. More on that in a moment.

One of the conversations Teresa and I have had is… can companies, tech specifically, who have an emphasis on inclusion and diversity in the workplace post jobs targeting women and people of color. But does that then discriminate too was one of my questions. From there I get further in the weeds so let’s get back to this post…

And this class action lawsuit that was also filed in the past day:

“Today, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and three workers filed a class action lawsuit against T-Mobile US,, Inc. (Amazon), Cox Communications and Media Group (Cox), and hundreds of other large employers and employment agencies who allegedly engaged in the unlawful practice of excluding older workers from receiving job ads on Facebook for open positions at their companies. The lawsuit, which challenges how Facebook’s paid ad platform is allegedly being used to hide job ads and opportunities from older workers nationally, has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.”

Continue reading "Companies Sued Over Alleged Age Discrimination In Facebook Job Ads" »

Survey | 56% Of Candidates Do Not Negotiate Salary In A Job Offer

Negotiate Job Offer A recent CareerBuilder Job Offer Survey with some interesting statistics on how candidates and employers deal with an offer.

The candidate numbers:

  • 51% they don't attempt it because they don't feel comfortable asking for more money
  • 47% they are afraid the employer will decide not to hire them
  • 36% they don't want to appear greedy

Digging deeper:

  • 45% 35 or older typically negotiate the first offer
  • 42% 18-34 negotiate the first offer
  • 47% of men say they negotiate first offers
  • 42% of women say they negotiate first offers
  • 59% of Information technology workers are likely to negotiate
  • 55% of sales candidates workers are likely to negotiate
  • 53% of financial services workers are likely to negotiate
  • 48% of health care workers workers are likely to negotiate

Continue reading "Survey | 56% Of Candidates Do Not Negotiate Salary In A Job Offer" »

Minnesota Morning | Ageism In Tech, Minnesota Has More Jobs Than Unemployed Workers And Make It MSP Recap

CoCo Minneapolis, Coworking
I am back spending more time at CoCo in the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. With the expansion there are more places to work, engage, be social and hide out. I still find my best place to work is “the balcony”. It’s a sweet view, quiet and I still feel like I am near the action without being in it.

And… I will be spending more time in the building. Look for an announcement in the next day or two.

Squirrel moment: Monday I posted 6 new including experience for The Wildflower Foundation.

Ageism In tech

A little more than a year ago I wrote this post, and was not surprised at the number of private messages and email I received from tech pros with a similar story.

Indeed came out with this Report: Ageism in the Tech Industry:

Our survey of tech workers found that close to half of respondents (43%) worry about losing their job because of their age. Even more troubling, nearly one 5th (18%) say they worry about it “all the time.”

That’s a lot of people #ObviousThingToSay

Continue reading "Minnesota Morning | Ageism In Tech, Minnesota Has More Jobs Than Unemployed Workers And Make It MSP Recap" »

Minneapolis Recruiting IT Pros In Chicago

Minnesota IT Jobs 




Good Morning Chicago!!!

This morning a number of my recruiter colleagues from Minneapolis and St Paul are arriving for a day of recruiting Chicago tech professionals ending with a 2 hour gathering at Motor Row Brewery on Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago.

That’s right… we’re busting out of Minneapolis and knocking on Chicago’s door.


Minneapolis Recruits Chicago Minneapolis Recruits Chicago

Minneapolis Recruits Chicago

Continue reading "Minneapolis Recruiting IT Pros In Chicago" »

Minnesota Headhunter Chats With Chris Russell On The Rec Tech Podcast

Just before Labor Day I spent almost an hour chatting with Chris Russell for his Rec Tech Podcast. Chris and I have been long time followers of each other professionally and also of our fishing escapades. Chris is very active in the HR tech, startup and recruiting app space and is someone to follow.

You can find him on RecTech Media, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

We covered a lot of ground ranging from #LakeLife to the Minnesota tech scene to recruiting and more:

Continue reading "Minnesota Headhunter Chats With Chris Russell On The Rec Tech Podcast" »

Recruiting Advice: Put Your “Careers” Button At The Top Of Your Page

Kipsu Jobs General Mills Jobs

Let me nerd out for a couple of minutes… where is your “Careers” or “Jobs” button on your web page?

Is it above the fold/scroll like the screen shots above from Kipsu and General Mills? Well done and you can stop reading now.

Or is it at the bottom of your web page, buried in an “About Us” drop down menu or worse, non-existent and part of another page? Then you should keep reading.

If recruiting is truly important to a company then frankly it should be at the top of the home page. Why would you ask people to scroll all the way down to find your jobs? That’s just bad user experience.

Here are the two most frequent reasons I get for this and a short reply:

  • Our web site is optimized for sales and product info
    • Umm… if you don’t have a staff how are you going to convert sales and make a product?
  • Our marketing team does not want more “clutter” on the navigation bar
    • Make a deal with them… ask them to do an A/B test and see what Google Analytics shows. If it is actually a diversion, then yeah get rid of it.

As a recruiter I want access to every tool in my toolbox that will help me do my job better and this is an often overlooked one.

Check out Midwest Recruiting Bootcamp for recruiting and hiring manager conferences, webinars and conversations about recruiting in and to Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota and the Midwest:

Midwest Recruiting Bootcamp


Stay in touch with me by clicking:


Minnesota Recruiter Minnesota Recruiter Minnesota Recruiter Minnesota Recruiter


Newsletter Sign Up


50 Phrases Not To Use In Your Job Descriptions

Stop Using These Job Descriptions

A little sarcasm, small rant and moment of reflection with this one… we always see the surveys about what words and phrases not to use in resumes. You know the one’s:

“Hey dummy stop using these words. They make you look silly.”

How judgmental. Particularly when I see the same words in resumes from my Recruiter and HR Friends all the time.

And every time I see one of those lists I think/reply/rant:

“What about job descriptions?”

I think they are the more offending piece of work.

Continue reading "50 Phrases Not To Use In Your Job Descriptions" »

Webinar: Minnesota IT Jobs, Salary and Recruiting Report - Spring 2017

Minnesota Headhunter, Minneosta IT Jobs 

A frequent question I get locally and nationally is “what’s going on in Minnesota?”.

After all the fall and winter events and conferences and leading into spring it’s time for me to give some clarity… I am putting together a summary of all of the info I have gathered over the past months, add in a bunch of reference points from national IT job and salary surveys and do a webinar.

This is my perspective from attending user groups, working with and recruiting for startups and tech companies, conversations with large companies about their recruiting strategies and speaking at local and national conferences.


  • March 1st, 2017
  • 1 pm CT


  • Free

To register click:


  • Intro
  • What’s going on in MN
  • Recruiters in demand
  • Job and Skills info
  • IT salary info
  • Recruiting trends
  • Conclusion

Who should attend:

  • Corporate Recruiter or HR
  • Hiring Managers
  • Startup CEO
  • IT Manager, Director or CIO
  • IT professionals
  • (Who am I missing?)

Q&A will be part of the webinar. Please interact with me.

If you have any questions ahead of time send me an email

FYI… a few events this spring you may want to attend:

Save the Date:

Minnesota Headhunter for current blog posts and Minneapolis IT Jobs for searches I am working on.


Stay in touch with me by clicking:


Minneapolis Recruiter Minneapolis Recruiter Minneapolis Recruiter Minnesota Recruiter

Newsletter Sign Up


STOP… What If LinkedIn Dies?

RIP Linked In

At my MTNRN presentation, click Recap: 2017 Ready, Set, GO!!! Recruiter Checklist, I had this simple slide:

What if LinkedIn died

My challenge was… go one day a week without using LinkedIn.

And there were some butts squirming in the chairs. A couple of recruiters said they might not be able to go an hour without using LinkedIn.

That surprised me a bit.

Continue reading "STOP… What If LinkedIn Dies?" »