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    Entries in Technology (266)


    Need to fill a technical job? It helps if you are in one of these four cities

    Some really interesting and detailed data on jobs, job seekers, employment opportunities and the interplay among all the moving parts of the recruiting game in the recently released report from Indeed titled Beyond the Talent Shortage: How Tech Candidates Search for Jobs.

    There is plenty of fascinating information in the report, but the one element I wanted to call out was the really pronounced and increasing preference by tech candidates for only four popular work locations - San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin. According to the Indeed report, "In 2013, interest in the 18 software-related jobs we analyzed was 3.3 times greater in San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin than in the US on average. In 2015, interest in those cities was 3.6 times greater."

    The below chart from Indeed shows how these job seeker preferences for the 'Big 4' tech hubs compared to the US overall have increased over time:

    So the Indeed data just puts some numbers behind what you have probably known for some time - if you are recruting technical talent and are not located in one of these Big 4 hubs, you're likely entering the competition already in a losing position. The Indeed data shows that while cities all across the US, heck, all over the world, are seeing increases in open technical jobs, that tech candidates are only honing in their efforts more on the Big 4 tech hubs.

    So while in the past, and especially in times of recession, candidate interest would have been primarily driven by the availability of jobs, the increasing candidate interest in these 4 tech hubs suggests further concentration on the part of job seekers on these locales. 

    What can/should you be doing if indeed, (pardon the pun), you have difficult technical jobs to fill and you are not located in one of the Big 4 tech hubs? The analysis from Indeed offers a few decent suggestions:

    1. Get yourself to one of the Big 4 citiies. This is the 'fish where the fish are' strategy, and of course it is easier said than done. But if these trends continue on their recent trajectory, it is only going to become more challenging to recruit tech talent to non Big 4 locations. It might be worth setting up a small, satellite office in one of these sought-after locations when compared to the opportunity cost of having important roles remain empty.

    2. Let go of your 'Everyone needs to be physically at HQ' policy. Organizations have seemingly gone around and around on the value/importance of having everyone on the team physically co-located versus embracing more flexible work arrangements. And I suspect these conversations and shifts in attitude will continue to go on pretty much forever. But if the talent you need has decided they (mostly) would rather be in Seattle or San Jose and you are in Pennsyltucky then you might have to make some kind of a compromise.

    3. Figure out how to better 'sell' what your location does have to offer to candidates that generally prefer the big Tech hubs. A while back I wrote a post about 'selling' your non-glamourous city to candidates, and the things i touched upon then I think are more or less still true now. The Big 4 cities may have a lot to offer candidates, but (hopefully) your city does too. And it might also be time to take a cue from politics once in a while and go negative - those Big 4 tech hubs are not all wonderful, and your city might have the edge in things like cost of living, open space, even the presence of 'winter', which I am told some people enjoy.

    There is plenty more interesting information in the Indeed report - take some time to look it over if you are at all interested on what their data shows and suggests about the market for technical talent.

    Have a great weekend!


    Three lessons from getting caught offline unexpectedly

    Everyone runs into this at one point or another - a sudden, unexpected, and uncertain as to the duration period where you are knocked offline, out of contact, and unable to do just about any real work. It happened to me this week, and I have to admit I was not really unprepared as to how to make the best (or at least not have it be the worst), of a tough situation.

    These days, even a short stint of being out of contact can quickly escalate into a pretty dire set of circumstances - incoming messages pile up at an alarming rate, people are not sure why you are not getting back to them, (since you didn't know you needed to alert them), and certain folks begin to resort to alternate/additional means of contacting you when Option 'A' fails. To the person who followed up their email to me with a call, text, LinkedIn message, Twitter DM, AND Facebook message - this one is directed at you.

    So what did I learn from the aftermath of being offline and off-guard for a few days that might help me be better able to handle such a situation should it occur again in the future? I can think of three big and simple things, plus one request for a tool that if it existed, would have helped me out immensely.

    1. Making sure I had the actual phone numbers programmed into my phone of the most important 5 people that I am currently worknig with on various projects.  When you rely on email for about 95% of your work communication, and you are forced into a situation where you only have access to a phone, (and no charger), have extremely limited windows of time where you can work,  then trying to get much of anything done in email only for an extended period is just about impossible. Sometimes you have to just connect via phone to get anything done, and not having all of the numbers I needed at hand was a huge barrier to getting anything done.

    2. Figuring out how to set up an 'Out of the Office' auto-responder when having access only to the email apps on my phone. Like I mentioned, I was caught off guard to being out of touch and I didn't know how long I would be essentially out of reach. From the apps I use on my phone for my various email accounts, I was unable, (given my limited time and attention), to set up the classic 'Out of the Office' auto-responders that while not perfect, at least would have given people trying to get in touch with me a general sense of what to do or expect. I need to figure out how to make that work.

    3. Setting up 'smarter' email filtering. In the few moments I had to take a look at my email, I was simply overwhelmed with the volume of 'non-essential' messages I had to sift through in order to find the ones that did, truly matter. I have to take some time, find some add-on tools if needed, and set up a smarter system for tagging and filtering incoming messages to keep the Inbox clean of non-important items and more easily surface what is actually important. When you are working only with a phone, in very short time intervals, you need to only see what is needed.

    So those are the three things I need to do to be ready to handle this situation the next time it comes up. But there is one thing I don't know how to do at all, because I don't think it exists, and that is how to set up the equivalent of the email 'Out of the Office' auto-responder on all of the other ways that people try and connect these days. Like I mentioned, when some emails were going unresponded to, I started getting LinkedIn messages, Twitter mentions, and texts, and there is not any way that I know of to have one, universal, 'Out of the office' that would cover all of these methods and platforms. Which is why, I continue to contend, they are mostly terrible for business communication. So please, someone build a tool (and it has to be an App), that can make the 'Out of the Office' universal across other apps and platforms besides email.

    Ok, that is it. Now back to trying to catch up!


    Top 5 Reasons to get your HR Technology Conference ticket today #HRTechConf

    I think by now most readers of the blog know that I am the Co-Chair of the HR Technology Conference, coming up fast on October 18 - 21 in Las Vegas. I have spent months putting together the program and working with literally hundreds of folks ranging from HR executives, IT and Business leaders, the big, massive HR tech companies that everyone knows, and a growing and increasingly innovative set of HR tech startups to develop this year's slate of content, demonstrations, and educational sessions.

    And since a great opportunity to attend the Conference at a reduced rate expires tomorrow, Wednesday September 16 at Midnight EDT, I thought I would try and make sure blog readers were aware, and offer up some of my own thoughts about why this year's event is once again a 'must-attend' for HR, Business, and IT leaders, as well as anyone interested in how technology can enable better business outcomes through people.

    So with that said, here are my Top 5 reasons to register today and come out to the HR Technology Conference this October:

    5. Presentations from HR and Business executives from many of the world's leading organizations on their challenges and how they have utilized a wide range of HR technology solutions to address these challenges. Just some of the companies on the agenda this year are MGM Resorts, Allstate, Unilever, Cisco, Marriott, Novo Nordisk, Delta, UPS, and many more. You will hear first-hand and unfiltered how these and many more organizations are attacking the same kinds of problems you have in your shop.

    4. Two General Sessions focusing on what is "Awesome" and new in HR Tech. Once again we will showcase the best innovations in the HR Technology industry both from the vibrant startup community, and from the big, brand name tech companies that you know. Details on both of these "Awesome New Tech" sessions will be released soon, but rest assured (I have seen all of the demos), that you will not want to miss either of these sessions to learn how the most innovative solutions can help your business.

    3. The first ever HR Tech Conference Hackathon, where teams of top engineering and design talent from across the HR tech insecurity will show off their skills and creativity in a classic, 48-hour hackathon format. This will be a great look into the behind the scenes of how great HR technologies get created, and a chance for many of the top and most talented people working in HR tech to shine.

    2. In another first for HR Tech, the new 'Customer Success' track will help HR leaders, no matter where they are on their organization's journey with HR technology, to gain important insights, tips, and learn from best practices on every point of the journey. From creating an HR technology strategy, to business case creation, vendor evaluation and selection, change management, implementation, and relationship management - leading industry experts will be their to help guide you along the way. At the Conference, we want to help provide attendees with the tools to succeed along the entire journey, not just the first step.

    1. Finally, once again HR Tech will be the largest, best, and most comprehensive event in the industry for everyone interested in improving work, workplaces, and business outcomes and how technology can support these goals. We will once again have a sold-out Expo, with a growing section carved out for the HR tech startups that are innovating like mad, a record-high number of sessions and speakers, and thousands of the best and most creative people in the HR tech industry today. HR Tech has become an essential event for leaders that are charged with solving the most important business challenges today - driving better results through people. 

    And one Bonus Reason, it is Vegas!

    C'mon, you know you love going to Las Vegas. In late October the weather will be perfect, sunny and highs about 80 or so, the food, drink, and entertainment options are limitless, and you the Conference and the other myriad social events that happen around the Conference are an incredible opportunity for you to network, socialize and have fun.

    I hope to see many of the blog readers out at the Conference this year!

    As a reminder, the Early Bird registration rate expires at Midnight EDT tomorrow, (Wednesday September 16). And as an added bonus - if you head on over to LinkedIn and become a member of the HR Technology Conference Group, you can use the registration code LINK15 to save an additional $150.00 on top of the $350.00 Early Bird discount (expiring Sept. 16) – That’s $500.00 in savings when you register by Wednesday.



    HRE Column: The Big Trends in HR Tech and the #HRTechConf

    Here is my semi-frequent reminder and pointer for blog readers that I also write a monthly column at Human Resource Executive Online called Inside HR Tech that can be found here.

    This month, I took a look at the program for the upcoming HR Technology Conference (which if I can pat myself on the back for a second, put together), and tried to tease out some of the trends and themes that have risen to the surface from months of planning and literally hundreds of pitches.

    I came up with three big trends that I tried to describe in my HR Executive column. From the HRE piece:

    Organizations of all sizes now have access to powerful technology solutions in support of all the functional areas of HR. It will be incumbent upon the HR leader of 2015 and beyond to make the best technology choices in order to successfully develop and execute the organization’s people and talent-management strategies.

    When I review and reflect on this year’s HR Tech conference program, several key themes emerge:

    Data and analytics continue to drive HR and talent management.

    A continuing theme in 2015 has been the realization and maturation of the importance of bringing more analytical approaches and rigor into the HR discipline. The importance of data; the strategies to gather, compile, assess, and make meaning from that data; the role technology plays in support of these efforts, and the ways that data enhances our understanding of people and talent will be explored at this year’s event. Large organizations such as IBM, Unilever and Wawa Inc. are using data, analytics and the modern tools that have become increasingly available for HR and business leaders to efficiently manage this barrage of data and, in time, make more effective and efficient people decisions and set talent strategies.

    We will also hear how analytics are being directly applied in specific functional domains such as recruiting, learning and succession planning, and are not just being carried out for their own sake.

    Finally, the popular “Awesome New Technologies” demonstration sessions will once more have a heavy data and analytics slant. Many of the new innovations that will be presented showcase new ways to capture, present, analyze and make actionable HR and workforce data.

    Building on a theme from 2014, the HR Tech Conference program will once again reflect the continued confluence of marketing, social media and technology with HR, and how these trends are being exploited in functions such as talent acquisition, employer branding and employee engagement. The program lineup will feature interactive panel discussions and conversations with HR, business and talent-acquisition leaders from organizations such as Glassdoor, Cisco, United Health Group and Marriott on the ways modern HR is advancing the application of best practices, borrowed from classic consumer-marketing approaches, to execute talent strategies...

    Read the rest of the HR Exec column here 

    Good stuff, right? Humor me...

    If you liked the piece you can sign up over at HRE to get the Inside HR Tech Column emailed to you each month. There is no cost to subscribe, in fact, I may even come over and wash your car or cut the grass for you if you do sign up for the monthly email.

    Also, if you are interested in the HR Technology Conference you can learn more, see the full agenda, and register to attend at the HR Tech website - www.hrtechconference.com.

    Have a great weekend!


    The Mindset List

    I am such a mark for Beloit College's annual Mindset List, a look at some of the important and sometimes really surprising changes that have occurred in the last 18 years or so, or expressed differently, just how much differently this year's crop of college freshmen have experienced and view the world compared to us older folks.

    Right off of the bat, Beloit reminds us that this new group of students, (mostly born in 1987), have never known a world where hybrid cars were not mass produced, South Park has not always been on TV, and among those who have never been alive in their lifetimes are Princess Diana, Notorious B.I.G., Jacques Cousteau, and Mother Teresa.

    The Mindset List is always an interesting read every year, but the odd thing about the list is that while it describes and highlights the world view and perspectives of 18 year olds, they are the ones who are likely the least interested in the actual contents of the list. Their world and world view is just what it is. They don't stop to try and think of or conjure up a time where free Wifi did not exist in every Starbucks in the world. It is the modern version of the classic 'I had it much worse than you' line that every parent in every generation for the entire history of time has at one point leveraged to try to make their children feel guilty about how good they have things.

    I am serious, the first evidence of this phenomenon in recorded history was from some primitive cave drawings and inscriptions found in France. Loosely translated, they read, 'Sure kid, it's so easy to kill that antelope with that accurate, sharpened spear. When I was your age, all we had to fight for our lives with was a big rock.'

    These kinds of admonitions have only weakened over time. I can recall on more that one occasion lamenting to my son that he did not understand how good he actually had things, since when I was his age my TV remote WAS ACTUALLY ATTACHED TO THE TV WITH A LONG CORD.

    Hard times for sure.

    There are some real gems on the Mindset List for this year of course, here are a couple of my personal favorites. Incoming college freshmen:

    They have never licked a postage stamp.

    When they were born, cell phone usage was so expensive that families only used their large phones, usually in cars, for emergencies.

    Their proud parents recorded their first steps on camcorders, mounted on their shoulders like bazookas.

    There are plenty more gems like that on the list, and I recommend taking a few minutes to take a look at the entire piece.

    I know it is a little obvious, and maybe seems kind of unimportant to most of us but it is really, really easy to lose sight of just how much the world and technology and society and work and everything else changes in a relatively short time. 

    It is good, no matter how old or young we are, to think about how folks not quite like us see and understand the world.