In Boulder — where unemployment is around 4.6%, much lower than nationally — a group of employers are banding together to fly in top software developers for an unusual career fair.
Candidates will come in for two days during the week of October 27-31. They’ll learn the Boulder life, hear pitches from startups, and interview, probably speed-dating style. (You can bet they’ll be wined and dined at night, too.) Their flight, hotel, and transportation are all paid for.
Tim Miller, CEO of Rally Software, says “the general economy and the tech economy are booming. We’re all competing over what is is higher and higher demand for tech talent. It’s hard to get people locally.”
Rally hires about 1 or 2 percent of its applicants. If it hires a couple of engineers from the Halloween-week event in Boulder, Miller says the approximately $5,000 fee he’ll pay for the event will be a bargain.
Casey Schorr feels about the same way. He’s the CEO of Printfection.com, where you can design and sell T-shirts. Schorr says that signing up for the fair was “pretty much a no-brainer.” When one of Schorr’s friends — who is helping organize the event — told him about it, Schorr responded, “that’s an amazing idea, I’m in” before knowing the cost. The money, as it turns out, is about a quarter of what he pays a recruiter.
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“Finding really high quality software developers is very, very, difficult,” he says, referring to folks such as database administrators, PHP programmers, and My SQL developers. “Anybody you want working for you is already working for another company. We need to ‘import’ our talent, I guess you could say. There are a lot of great programmers out there who live in [for example] Fargo, North Dakota, or somewhere in Mississippi.”
Schorr says of the recruiting fair: “It’s pretty ad-hoc. That’s pretty much how the community runs up here in Boulder.”