@Hiretual’s 2021 Software Engineering Recruiting Report!

The single most-searched-for candidate on the sourcing technology platform Hiretual over the past twelve months has been for “Software Engineer”. Turns out, almost everyone, in every industry, in every market has a need for Software Engineers!

Hiretual recently released their 2021 Software Engineering Report (Click to download report) and it’s packed with some great data, you can download the report for free! Here are some nuggets from the report:

– The companies having the most success in recruiting Software Engineers are paying 13.2% more than the industry average!

– The sweet spot for experience level that companies are looking for is between 6-8 years. Those folks are probably going to be the hardest to find and most likely being paid above the market average. (Pro-tip – go for segments of experience that others aren’t – 10+ years, or under 4 years).

– The big East Coast cities are begging for Women and Underrepresented Ethnic Minority candidates more than the west coast. (San Francisco metro area probably has a more robust pool of women and underrepresented ethnic minority software engineer candidates than anywhere else in the US).

How can you use this report to help us recruit more Software Engineers?

1. Zig when others are zagging!

If everyone is trying to hire Software Engineers in San Fran and Austin, maybe you should hire in Chicago and Boston? Or Nashville and Atlanta. Let’s face it, most Sotware Engineers can Software Engineer from almost anywhere!

2. Fish in bigger ponds.

Use the data to know where to spend your job advertising dollars, and where to focus your sourcing efforts. Too often we spend way too much time fishing in small ponds for big fish when we should be fishing in big ponds for bigger schools of fish.

3. Pay us like you owe us!

Your C-Suite, especially your CFO needs data around compensation by market. It doesn’t matter how great you are at recruiting, and how great your recruiting technology is. If you aren’t paying the appropriate amount of money, you will lose.

Check out the 2021 Software Engineer Report by Hiretaul!

Graduating Starting Salary Articles Screw Up Talent Acquisition!

CNBC recently had one of those articles about what the top starting salaries are for new college graduates. You know the kind of article I’m talking about, the kind where some kid from a liberal arts college who graduated with an Art History degree thinks they should be getting an $85K starting salary because someone who graduated with a computer science degree gets that!

Here’s the highest starting salary from the CNBC article:

Here’s the problem with this type of salary data?!

  1. It’s taken out of context from a market and industry perspective! Okay, a “Petroleum Entry-Level Engineer” can make $87,989 for a starting salary. But only in the best case possible result of a combintion of great entry level candidate, from a top school, going to a top company, in an exensive area!
  2. New grads of other degrees think they are close to these top most-wanted graduates! You’re not! And it’s not even close! Congratulations, you really challenged yourself and got that Comms degree. Slow down, you’re only worth half of the top most wanted, at best! But, when they see these lists, they are like, “well, okay, I’m not worth $80K, but probably like $60K!” Nope. Try $40K.
  3. This is university and college career center porn. They love sharing these surveys which aren’t close to being accurate and usally based on self-reported new hire graduate salaires. So, really you’re making $42K, but you say $50K because you’re embarrassed you aren’t making more like all the “other” graduates. Who by the way, are also not making this much!

All of this gives Talent Acquisition pros a giant headache because we have to deal with the bad data and lies being fed to these kids. Look, we get it. If we were overcharging our “customers” by amounts that should spark a government investigation, we would also want our customers to believe they are getting great value for the money they are spending!

The problem is the companies that hire new graduates are dealing with the fallout of trying to re-educate students entering the workforce about what their true value is, and often that is a gutshot for a student also paying off tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

What should we be doing?

I think colleges and universities should make students sign a letter that they understand what the starting entry-level salary is for the program they are entering. And sign a new agreement every time they decide to change programs. Those entry-level starting salaries should be the actual starting salaries from the top 100 organizations that actually hire those graduates, and segmented by market.

I think a little taste of reality would help all parties out. Hey, FYI, you’re choosing to work in a field that pays peanuts. It’s totally awesome you want to do it, but understand this is what you’re buying into! Students go in eyes wide open. Employers get students who have better expectations. An universitys’ might have to start answering some questions on why they are charging $50K a year to attend school for a job that only pays $40K!

As you can tell, I’m not a huge fan of this kind of data and articles. Most of the highest we already know. STEM careers in IT and Engineering are always the most wanted. Some stand out because they’re actually so few, both jobs and graduating seniors (Petroleum Engineers and Chemical Engineers). Then, there’s a giant drop-off.

SHRMLab Better Workplace Challenge Cup Winners! #HRTech @SHRM

In my post on Monday, I mentioned that my new favorite segment of content at SHRM Annual was the SHRMLabs Better Workplace Challenge Cup. Odd name that doesn’t make much sense to what the content really is. It’s a technology pitchfest. A startup competition of HR Technology companies. I’m going to assume the name came from someone who is sponsoring it, regardless, it was awesome!

The competition started amongst 150 different startups within the HR Technology community who first pitched at regional SHRM events across the country. From those five regional competitions, the winners were selected to present and pitch at SHRM Annual. Here are the five:

  • Compt: A perk stipend software company based in Boston, Mass.  
  • Symba: An all-in-one workforce management platform for talent development programs based in Chicago, Ill.
  • TiLT: A leave management platform based in Fort Collins, Colo.
  • UnboXt: A leadership development platform based in Atlanta, Ga.
  • WorkWhile: A technology company that connects hourly workers to shifts based in San Francisco, Calif.

All five pitched very well, and if you are looking to expand your HR Technology knowledge these five would be great ones to start with demos!

The winner was Compt. Deserving, I mean all of them were deserving, but Compt came across as a little more “sexy” for the judges. Perk companies tend to do that. They pitch well, especially to folks who don’t have a deep knowledge of the HR Technology marketplace and what HR pros actually use. Perk companies always sound cool, because it’s the kind of thing as employees we wished we had, but we don’t because it turns out it costs a bunch of money we don’t have! All of that said, Compt did very well and they do have some great technology.

My personal favorite was Tilt, for the simple fact, I know this is a technology that almost any company with over a hundred employees could use. Managing leave, well, is hard. HRIS systems do a little of this, but not to the extent that it makes the person leave feeling confident and also makes the HR person in charge of leave feel like they have their arms around everything.

I wasn’t a huge fan of bringing in SharkTank judge Daymond James, but honestly, I was in the super minority! In hindsight, it was a good call on SHRM’s part because it got a lot of people in the room who were stargazing, to actually take a look at some great HR Technology. Kind of a brilliant move on SHRMLab’s part to find a way to get folks interested in HR tech who aren’t normally interested in HR tech! Maybe SHRM can get Matthew McConaughey SHRM 2022 in New Orleans to judge!

I’m out at the HR Technology Conference in a couple of weeks and I’m one of the Emcee’s and Judges for their HR Technology startup competition, the Pitchfest. I love that more HR tech companies are getting an opportunity to be in front of actual practitioners. There is so much great HR Tech in the world, and most of us know just a fraction of it. Kudos to both SHRM and The HR Technology Conference for giving these startups a platform to be seen!

#SHRM21 Wrap – What I learned at @SHRM Annual this Year!

It’s a wrap! The largest HR conference in the world happened this past week and weekend, with around 8,000 in-person HR pros in attendance and another almost 4,000 online virtually. SHRM’s Annual Conference is one the most attended conferences in the world each year, so it was fun to see it back live.

What I learned from SHRM Annual 2021:

– The 8,000 in-person attendees really wanted to be in person! I’ve seen a few people online be very against in-person conferences, The HR Technology Conference has also seen its haters, but the reality is, we will be facing Covid most likely for the rest of my life, like the flu. SHRM and LRP, and many others are doing the work to figure out our new normal. The people who showed up were active and excited, and the live conversations were fun and needed for a lot of people’s mental health. The SHRM crew was vigilant around masking and tracking, and most likely we’ll see this kind of thing at conferences for a while.

– SHRM is making some big advances into the HR Technology space. They had an HR Tech startup pitch fest, which ran through regional SHRM chapter competitions with the finalist pitching at Annual and they even brought in Shark Tank judge Daymond John to sit as a judge. SHRM also has started SHRMLabs around technology and is attempting to have some impact on the HR Technology space. Also, SHRM CEO, Johnny Taylor, commented publicly that SHRM will continue to build more knowledge in this area. Shout out to Guillermo Corea, who is leading SHRMLabs and I’m excited about the future of SHRMLabs under his direction.

– The SHRM Blog Squad is no more, and the replacement is the SHRM Influencers. Those that accepted the assignment were active and awesome! SHRM kind of dropped the ball in terms of setting them up with some special things. The Influencer lounge was sparse and not something you would want to hang at, and I would expect this to evolve as well in the future. Most of the social push SHRM gets at Annual is done by this small group of really dedicated pros.

– SHRM got kind of stuck with dates, so it wasn’t awesome having the conference run over a weekend and end on a Sunday in the west coast time zone. Most attendees took off early Sunday to get back for work on Monday, which made it fairly lightly attended on Sunday. Not much they could do, having to change dates and venues, you kind of take what you get. Everything will be back to normal in June 2022 when SHRM Annual is going back to New Orleans!

– The SHRM members I spoke to, especially those who have been to multiple SHRM Annual conferences were super impressed with the content and speakers. We’ve had some crazy times since SHRM 2019, and there was a lot of knowledge sharing and ideas floating around. The first-time attendees I spoke to all seem to really love it as well. I find the vast majority of SHRM members who come to the Annual conference really like the experience and feel like it elevates themselves as professionals.

– The SHRM Expo was smaller than the past few years, which was expected, but still very big. My biggest takeaway was the lack of TA and Recruiting technology companies there when every single attendee is desperate for help in hiring! Hiretual was one of the standouts and it seemed like they were consistently running demos. The number of Health Tech companies there almost seemed odd. It seemed like every other booth was Health Tech. The SHRM audience definitely trends SMB to Mid-enterprise, where most of these “HR” titles are buying for everything across their stack. Recruiting tech that caters to those HR shops that have 1-10 HR and TA users definitely could kill it at SHRM Annual.

– There is a very small but vocal group of Johnny Taylor haters, who also happen to be non-SHRM members, on social media, but I find that SHRM members love JCT! I spoke to many members and specifically would ask, “Tell me, what do you think of Johnny and the job he’s doing at SHRM?” 100% of just normal SHRM attendees I spoke to have really high praise for Johnny and the changes at SHRM. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the membership believes he’s the guy.

– SHRM Board Member, Steve Browne, the “people’s” board member, is done and moving on to other career things. It seems like just yesterday that the HR social media crew pushed a campaign to get Steve voted in, and we felt like we finally had a voice on the board of the world’s largest HR association, and he took that role very seriously. With Steve stepping down, Paula Harvey is our new board member for the people! I hope Paula gets voted in and I think she’ll be an awesome replacement for Steve. Steve will be missed, but I know he’ll stay active within the SHRM community.

At the end of the day, I always leave SHRM Annual feeling fulfilled emotionally and mentally. To be surrounded by thousands of HR pros who are all working to make themselves better is an uplifting experience for our profession. To see our community sharing with each other and being so thankful for the knowledge they are getting is a very cool feeling. It’s an investment to attend to be sure, but I think it’s an investment that pays for itself for those to attend and get involved.

Congrats to the SHRM staff and volunteers for pulling off another SHRM Annual event and maybe the most challenging event ever. Shout out to Damona Barnes who will lead the volunteers for SHRM Annual 2022, I got a chance to finally meet her in person and she and her team are going to kill it in New Orleans!

RESET – A Leader’s Guide to Work In An Age of Upheaval – new book by @JohnnyCTaylorJr and @SHRM

I’m out at the SHRM Annual Conference this week and excited to see all my HR Peers and Friends! It’s a big event since SHRM didn’t have an in-person 2020 conference and by far the largest in-person conference I’ve gone two in a very long time!

SHRM CEO, Johnny Taylor, is also launching his new book, RESET: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval, and it couldn’t be better timing for HR leaders and organizational leaders looking for ideas and solid data around managing through our new world of work.

One of the things I really like about this book right off the bat is that Taylor worked closely with SHRM’s Research arm to really pack a ton of data into this book. I think most modern HR and Organizational leaders want ideas backed by research and SHRM has a ton of data to pull from with such a large global membership.

The reality is with so many organizations adding remote and hybrid work environments we truly are in a new frontier of building an organizational culture around very different types of work, all combined into one very new digital culture phenomenon (which just happens to be my talk at SHRM Annual this year!).

Johnny Taylor is known as a very strong speaker and storyteller, and it comes out in his book as well. RESET does a great job of weaving in data, with real-life organizational examples, and Taylor’s strong storytelling to make this book an enjoyable and quick read. This should easily become the HR Book Club choice of the year for sure, as our HR and Leadership teams work to reinvent our organizational culture over this year and next.

RESET hits on all the important themes of today, talent retention, DEI, internal mobility, and solving the skills gap. And I love that Johnny and SHRM put together a new Culture Score Scale (NICE) around Net Promoter Score, Inclusion Factor, Curiosity Indicator, and Employer Brand. It’s a modern people measure for sure, and one that I think most HR and Talent pros will find very interesting!

RESET is officially being launched this week at SHRM Annual and it’s definitely designed to be a leadership playbook for organizations working to reinvent themselves around one of the biggest challenges, historically, any of us have ever faced. You can grab off the SHRM website and I’m sure all the normal places you buy books!

When Virtual Firing Goes Very Wrong! #HRFamous

On episode 78 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss campus recruiting, how terminated employees can cause damage, and some of our favorite firing horror stories.

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

Show Highlights

1:30 – It’s conference season! Tim wonders if conferences will permanently have a virtual option now.

5:45 – Tim asks if the team has had any experience recruiting new grads or soon-to-be college grads. Tim calls out Handshake for changing the campus recruiting process. He asks JLee how campus recruiting at Marriott works and what the frustrations are.

8:45 – JLee mentions how a lot of career-center employees are out of touch with the corporate world and simply rely on their relationships to help their students.

11:15 – KD brings up John Nykolaiszyn from Florida International University (who was a guest on KD’s other pod Best Hire Ever) as an example of a campus career services leader doing it right.

13:30 – Tim harps on career services for hiding their students instead of making them really available for employers.

16:45 – Tim says that what CHROs want from universities and colleges is a LinkedIn for college students. They want some sort of database that is like LinkedIn that will allow them to search for new hires in their areas.

19:00 – Tim hired two new grads to his company and he had to reach out to career services directly to get on Handshake since he had a ”low trust score.”

21:30 – MarketWatch recently released an article about an upset HR executive that deleted 17,000 resumes from their system after being fired. Tim asks the crew to share their best resignation/firing story.

25:00 – KD tells a story about the termination of a blue-collar employee at a former company he worked with. He had to restrain the terminated employee to help save a manager.

27:30 – JLee’s story involves a fired employee and someone’s personal mini-fridge and helping them remove it from their office.

33:00 – Tim says that companies need to have their systems locked down when firing someone remotely or they can risk someone doing damage to their online systems and databases.

The LinkedIn Invite That Got Me to Click!

The recruiter in me is constantly trying to figure out the best subject line for emails and Inmails to get a response. At the end of the day, I need people to click to open so I can potentially recruit them. That’s how we become successful in recruiting, getting people interested!

My #1 go-to subject line for years has simply been my last name “Sackett”. Just that one word in the subject gets more click-throughs than anything else I’ve used. Now my friends Stacy Zapar and Angle Verros will both kill me if I don’t mention that the real #1 click-through subject line is really anything personal to the person you are sending it to!

For me, being a huge Michigan State Spartans fan, if you sent me an Inmail or email that said, “Go Green” I would definitely open that message! It’s specifically personal to me and I know you had to take a few seconds to understand me as a person.

This Lady Got Me!

Here’s the LinkedIn Invite that got me to accept:

Brilliant LinkedIn Invite

So, I’m not making fun of Yvonne! I’m admiring her marketing brilliance!

I only accept about 40% of my LinkedIn invitations because, like you, I get so many that are just spam and/or sales outreach for things I do not want or need. The moment you accept comes some cheesy sales pitch and you end up hating yourself for accepting! So, I’m pretty picky. This one got me!

Right away I was leary. “Private Coach” – no thanks! “Business Owners” – Ugh, sales pitch coming…but Yvonne did something special. She personalized it, or at least it felt personal to me! “I’ve decided not to send you the generic LI invite…” And then the magic, “Fingers crossed”!

FINGERS CROSSED!

I got duped by a generic mass invite message, by a person saying “THIS ISN’T GENERIC” and then saying “Fingers Crossed”! My mind couldn’t comprehend that this wasn’t an actual personal message. It seemed so personal and yet was not personal at all once you really dig into it.

I was the idiot. The moment after accepting came the auto-response cheesy sales pitch! Ugh! Damn you, Yvonne (if that’s even your name!) you go me!

I actually was super impressed and told her, right after removing the connection! Give credit where credit is due. She got me and I had to give her a hat tip. It’s pretty rare that I find a truly magical wording that can get someone to click, and I think she found it. And I think we all should steal it because it’s actually marvelous in its simplicity!

G*d Damn, fingers crossed got me. I feel like such an amateur right now!

7 Words That Turn Candidates Off!

Communication is a tricky thing. It’s so easy to turn off another party by simply using just one wrong word, especially when you’re trying to build a relationship with a candidate you potentially want to hire.

I think there are some words and phrases that have a high probability of turning off a candidate to want to come work for your organization. I speak to students a few times a year about interviewing and I tell them something similar, which is what you say can automatically make a hiring manager not want to hire you!

Think about being an interview and the candidate starts to tell you why they’re no longer working for ACME Inc. “Oh, you know it was just a ‘misunderstanding’, I can explain…”

“Misunderstanding” is a killer word to use while interviewing! It wasn’t a misunderstanding! You got fired! The ‘misunderstanding’ is you not understanding the crap you were doing was wrong! 

So, what are the 7 Deadly Words you should never use as a recruiter? Don’t use these:

-“Layoff” – It doesn’t matter how you use it. Even, ‘we’ve never had a layoff!’ “Layoff” isn’t a positive word to someone looking to come to work for you, so why would you even add it to the conversation!

-“Might” – Great candidates want black and white, not gray. “Might” is gray. Well, we might be adding that tech but I don’t know. Instead, use “I’m not sure, let me check for you because I want to get you the truth.  Add

-“Maybe” – See above.

-“Unstable” – You know what’s unstable? Nothing good, that’s what! If something isn’t good, don’t hide behind a word that makes people guess how bad it might be, because they’ll usually assume it’s worse than it really is!

-“Legally” – “Legally” is never followed by something positive! “Legally, we would love to give you a $25K sign-on bonus, but…” It’s always followed by something that makes you uncomfortable. When trying to get someone interested in your organization and job, don’t add “Legally” to the conversation!

-“Temporarily” – This is another unsettling word for candidates. “Temporarily” we’ll have to have you work out of the Nashville office, but no worries, you’ll be Austin soon enough! Um, no.

-“Fluid” – Well, that’s a great question, right now it’s a fluid situation, we’re hoping that hiring you will help clarify it! Well, isn’t that comforting… Add: “Up in the air” to this category!

We use many of these words because we don’t want to tell the candidate the truth. We think telling them exactly what’s wrong with our organization, the position, our culture, will drive them away. So, we wordsmith them to death!

The reality is most candidates will actually love the honesty and tend to believe they can be the ones to come in and make it better. We all want to be the knight on the white horse. Candidates are no different. Tell them the truth and you’ll end up with better hires and higher retention!

Why is Google Cutting Pay for Remote Workers?

On episode 76 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss back-to-school season, Google’s new internal calculator for pay cuts and secretly working two remote jobs.

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

Show Highlights

1:30 – It’s back-to-school season! JLee is feeling ready for the season after getting back from a vacation to Turks & Caicos. Her kids are going to be in person at school all day.

3:45 – Tim’s last child is a senior in high school and they are ready for him to get out of the house. His wife doesn’t know how she’s going to make it through the year…

5:30 – In a shoutout to “no one really knows anything,” KD mentions a report from the UAB that said 40% of a state is going to get Covid between July and September because of the Delta variant. The majority will show no symptoms. Is that bad? No one really knows. Songs from the band Chicago are cited.

9:30 – Google’s rolled out a new internal calculator explaining potential pay cuts to employees who choose to work remotely and people are getting penalized. Reuters reported on screenshots of this calculator.

12:00 – JLee gives Google a thumbs up for being a leader on the forefront of salary changing by location.

14:00 – Tim discusses the thought process that this is built on: I should get paid the same regardless of where I live. The reality is that every market substantiates different pay levels.

17:45 – JLee mentions that this decision is a hard one to make and someone has to be the leader on this forefront. She also mentions that there’s definitely room to change if there’s backlash.

22:45 – Are people taking on second jobs while they work from home? There’s a book coming out from an individual about their story working two remote jobs. Check out more at their website. They came out with 12 rules about working two remote jobs, the top of the list is “don’t talk about your other job.”

26:50 – One of their rules is “be average.” JLee says that this is when it falls apart. She says to kick butt at job No. 1 and work your way up there, instead of being average at two different jobs.

29:00 – KD asks the crew what percentage of adults work two jobs. JLee says 10% and Tim and KD say 1%.

30:30 – Tim had this happen to him with a contractor who was working two jobs.

34:30 – Tim thinks that people are too afraid of retaliation/being found out so he’s sticking with his 1% guess of people that work more than one job remotely.

How Much of a Pay Cut Are You Willing to Take to Work Remotely?

A new study says 65% of Americans are willing to take a pay cut to work remotely! I thought that seemed high. Also, the concept didn’t really make sense to me. Why should someone take a pay cut to work remotely?

So, I decided to do a poll of my own on LinkedIn! It’s currently live, but it got massive traffic, and here are some of the initial results:

Tim’s Super Official LinkedIn Poll

Are People Really Willing to Take a Pay Cut to Work Remotely?

Yes, and no.

The vast majority of folks commented that there is no reason for someone to take a pay cut. But, my guess is, based on the results, if push came to shove, they probably would be willing to take a pay cut to work in the environment of their choosing.

So, you have what people say, and then you have what people actually do when faced with a real choice.

Also, I had a number of folks tell me my poll was flawed (well, of course, it is!) because I didn’t give the option of saying “No, I won’t take a pay cut to work remote, and remote is for me”, and “I expect a pay increase to work remote”. The problem is LinkedIn only gives me 4 options for poll results. So, it’s fun, but it’s limited.

Should someone take a pay cut to work remotely?

So, a lot of pro-remote folks got a bit defensive in the comments over this. I wasn’t personally asking anyone to take a pay cut. I was asking (and actually it wasn’t even me asking, I was just reacting to the new survey linked above) is working remotely valuable enough to you that you would be willing to take less pay to work in a remote environment?

I’m actually in the camp that if someone works remotely, their organization should probably be discussing with them the cost they face working remotely verse working on-premise. There are probably cases all across the spectrum of three options:

  1. It costs me more to work remotely, and my company should pay me more because of this fact, or force me back to work because it’s more cost effective, or I’m willing to take less pay because of this difference. (probably very rare)
  2. It costs me the same as working on-premise, and my company should at least pay me what it costs them to house me on-prem.
  3. It actually costs less for me to work remotely, and my company should probably give me a pay raise because I’m saving them so damn much money!

At the end of the day, everyone has a choice.

Some organizations will ask their teams to come back on-premise. This decision will be made after a lot of leadership discussion, and a decision will be made this is what’s best for the health of our organization. As an employee, you might not agree with that and thank god we live in America and are free to make the choice to work someplace else if you don’t agree with that.

Some organizations will decide to go full remote with their teams. Some will succeed, some will stay the same, some will fail. That’s the reality of being a leader and making leadership decisions. Not one of these decisions is actually right or wrong until we know the outcome.

I do think organizations, who are in a competitive talent fight, are going to have to add more flexibility. This does not mean full remote, but it does mean probably be way more flexible than they are used to being. I also think employees in general who work remotely have a rude awakening coming when it comes to technology monitoring and measured performance outcomes.

Organizations tend to bottom line. If it works, awesome, how do we do more of it. If it’s not working, we’re going to change, and find out what’s wrong. Too many employees believe they can perform better working remotely, but when I speak to CHRO’s, CFO”s, and CEO’s, the numbers have yet to reflect that that performance level. Some do perform better, but many don’t.

The question remains, would you take a pay cut to work remotely vs. on-prem?