Let’s start with hiring through Q3 and what to expect for Q4…
Hiring for Q3 (and the year as a whole) has been strong and robust. The EDA/Semi hiring needs are indeed stronger this year than in a long time, yet more exacting than ever. We have had an exceptionally strong year even though it has been exponentially so much more difficult to find the right candidates. Even with so much demand for good people, companies continue to be extremely picky about their preferred candidate requirements. I have said it before and it bears repeating…if a company finds a smart, talented, capable engineer, who is desirable of learning whatever is needed, and has several of the primary prerequisites, it is smarter to hire (the proverbial) bird in the hand and help get them up to speed now, than hope a better option comes along. While a better candidate might follow, they also MIGHT NOT! When passing on a candidate that could fit, in lieu of that perfect fit, companies must think about the valuable time lost in searching and interviewing for the more perfect candidate, (with no guarantee of how long that might take), when they could have had someone else already up and running, learning what is necessary. The time it takes to search, find, and interview, and (hopefully) hire can be considerable, especially in today’s environment. I have seem companies pass on a relatively decent candidate, in hopes of finding someone that is a closer fit, only to be looking months, or even a year, later…it is not uncommon.
As we move into Q4, it is looking to be yet another robust quarter and hiring will remain strong. Here is what I know… All the economic numbers for EDA/Semi are strong, targets are being met and exceeded, and growth is occurring across a wide array of sectors. As I said earlier and it bears repeating… It continues to get harder and harder to find the right candidates for the overly-exact specifications that exist today. People are not leaving quite as fast as in years past and that makes it harder to “recruit” them out; harder, but not impossible. Comps seem to be going up, which is good news and a direct result of a strong market, and which should hopefully entice more people to consider alternative opportunities.
Because hiring is so difficult, companies need to ask if they can afford to wait for the exactly right candidate. I realize that for the most part, hiring managers want someone that can come in and make an immediate contribution with the least amount of training and resources. Certainly that makes sense on paper. The reality is, that is rarely the case. Even with the best of hires, ramp-up time can be considerable and more of a drain on internal resources than contemplated. All tech companies work in varying general domains of one category or another, but each domain has a specialty, shall we say a new subset, frontier that they are tackling. That newness inherently requires a learning curve. Strong internal training and support for the new hire is mandatory for them to learn the specific specialized domain. Sometimes, the new hire requires more bring-up-to-speed time than anticipated. Realistically, reality actually shows that to be the norm…more training time was needed than anticipated, and that happens more times than not. That fact brings to light this question: Is it worth the risk to pass on the decent, fits-most-of-the-specs candidate or wait and hope that a better one comes along? This is a big question, and one every company should consider when they have pressing, critical hiring needs. Certainly I am not saying hire someone that MIGHT be able to do the job, but I am saying that if they have most of what you need, you should be weighing your options carefully.
Candidates too need to learn how to impress the hiring managers during the interview process with their willingness to learn. They need to be compelling and convincing enough so that hiring managers are confident about your commitment to excel. It is essential to convince the team that you have what it takes and will do what is necessary to get up to speed quickly and succeed. Even on your own time, after hours!
ARM TechCon is right around the corner and has a good mix of technology and a decent attendance. I will be there in my famous white jacket, walking the aisles, seeing clients all day. I already have several off-site interviews scheduled with both new and existing clients. It seems like both ARM TechCon and my quick visit in and out will be quite busy…I hope to see you there and you should always feel free to call me with any questions you may have. Perhaps we can meet during the conference.