How To Win the War For Talent In Silicon Valley

By Kym McNicholas , written on May 7, 2012

From The News Desk

Courtesy: Churchill Brook

The latest job numbers show the US economy is still struggling to recover. But you wouldn’t know it in Silicon Valley, where startups are on a hiring frenzy, especially in the San Francisco, San Mateo, and Redwood City region of the Bay Area.

While the US is at 8.1 percent unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,  these Bay Area regions are at a slightly better 7.7 percent. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara Metro Area reported the largest year-over-year percentage increase in employment over the past year (March of 2011 and March of 2012). LinkedIn is one of the biggest contributors, having grown from 1,000 employees at the start of 2011 to more than 2,400 employees this year.

It's no surprise Facebook's on the fast-track for hiring. But do you know how fast? At the time of its IPO filing, the Menlo Park company had 3,200 employees worldwide. It’s now at 3,500 employees, and recently the City of Menlo Park approved the company to triple its workforce to more than 6,600 at its headquarters alone.

So many tech companies are hiring that there actually isn’t enough good talent to go around. Ahead of Monday’s War For Talent conference at the Mission Bay Conference Center In San Francisco, I talked to some of the speakers, who believe that attracting the top talent is all about strategy. If you look in the right places, you’ll find the right talent. Top recruiters share their tips and tricks in the video below:

Cushman & Wakefield's Justin Bedecarre is the brains behind Monday’s War For Talent conference In San Francisco, which features Angel Investor Ron Conway, Yammer's CTO Adam Pisoni, 500 Start-Ups’ Dave McLure, Tango CTO Eric Setton, Branchout CEO Rick Marini, and Axcient’s Justin Moore, whose company just received accolades as one of the top-ten places to work in the Bay Area by the SF Business Times and SF Business Journal.

Justin Bedecarre is a real estate broker, so could he know about startups? He started working in Silicon Valley back in 2009, helping startups find the ultimate headquarters for their businesses. He used to attend conferences all the time to get to know entrepreneurs, and about one year ago, he got the idea to hold a conference of his own, targeting an entrepreneur’s biggest pain point, talent. He wanted to help them figure out how to find the right people and how to scale.

“I really wanted to figure out how to truly be a part of the tech community and add value outside of my scope as a real estate broker,” explains Bedecarre.

But it sat on his to-do list for a couple of months, before he tried to build it in mid-2011. He failed initially because he couldn’t get the best speakers. His big break came in December when he heard about a benefit for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, to be held at Pipewise CEO Michael Wolfe’s home.

An exclusive group of city officials, investors and entrepreneurs were invited, including Jack Dorsey from Square and Twitter as well as Angel Investor Ron Conway. Bedecarre wasn't invited, but that didn’t stop him from attending. He got a hold of the invitation, emailed the RSVP contact, and said he’d forgotten to send him the information as to where to send the donation for the ticket. He was added to the list of attendees.

At the benefit, Bedecarre met Ron Conway, Michael Wolfe, Mayor Ed Lee, Eventbrite’s CEO Kevin Hartz, and many more entrepreneurs and investors he'd idolized for years. It was there that he learned about Conway’s SF Citi initiative to promote tech jobs in San Francisco. Conway said he was trying to compile a list of every startup in the City.

Bedecarre spent the next three days compiling a list of nearly 400 tech startups in San Francisco, as well as their location, employee count, funding data, and opportunities for growth. His extensive spreadsheet, which showed his immense passion and determination, sparked a great relationship between Bedecarre, Conway, and the city. Conway will be the keynote speaker of Bedecarre’s War For Talent event.

Key topics include: "How To Scale A Company," with Morgan Missen, Head of Talent for FourSquare, Twilio Founder/CEO Jeff Lawson,'s Head of Recruiting Kenny Mendes, and others. Readyforce VP of Client Services Anna Binder will discuss how a company's culture changes as it grows. I will be hosting two panels: "Using The Network To Recruit," with Andreessen Horowtiz Partner Shannon Callahan and Riviera Partners' Kevin Buckby. Also, there will be "How To Find Global Talent While Maintaining Company Culture," with Tango CTO Eric Setton and GREE International's VP of Engineering Fernando Paulo.

The entire event is being streamed live at or