Top IT Talent Snagged In a Week or Less

San Francisco and Silicon Valley are two very intense IT job markets. If an employer doesn’t move fast enough, then it’s too late.

In the time it takes for a prospective candidate to go through four or five rounds of interviews, chances are they have already gotten two offers on the table, says Dan Suchow, a client relationship representative for Kforce, a staffing firm that specializes in tech contractors. Suchow was attending a San Francisco technology career day and made these observations:


Realizing that a speedy interviewing process is critical for landing the best candidates before another company snaps them up, Kforce will do an extensive screening process prior to putting them before its clients.

Clients, however, need to react quickly. Suchow says if a company doesn’t interview the candidate within a day or two, they’re gone.

“What we’ve noticed is top talent stays on the market for only a week,” Suchow says.

25 Responses to “Top IT Talent Snagged In a Week or Less”

  1. Steve Tabler

    …and NEW talent i.e. new college grads never get hired AT-ALL.

    You know, it’s really too bad that I spent $100K in student-loans get my B.S. and my M.S. in Computer Science, graduated in 2006….and all I can get for work is some mundane temporary data-entry job at the state unemployment agency….then told I’m not GOOD ENOUGH to be hired for an IT position becuase I haven’t already held an IT position….and told I have to run around delivering pizza or work at Lowe’s or something….but Lowe’s doesn’t want me becuase I don’t have a degree in being a laborer….

    • Ludwig Van Basten

      That’s is true!
      Many companies looking for engineers with ready-to-use knowledge of new this-and-that tech etc.
      Forget about talent of eager to learn quick bla..bla.

      They just don’t want to train the engineers. What the heck?

      • Dibbles McPhee

        Absolutely – you hit the nail on the head!!

        I actually had a recruiter tell me that the employer was going to go out of the area for candidates because local candidates did not meet the requirement of two years working with the Unix command line!! Even though they met every other requirement. Any candidate with half a brain could learn Unix commands quickly. And who doesn’t keep a cheat sheet of common commands around?

        The import thing is to hire a candidate that is talented, passionate, and loves (and is good at) learning new things. This type of person (like me) can learn a new language or application quickly. What happens when the person that WAS hired because they knew the specific application or language, can’t keep up when the application or language changes at the company (and one of the facts about IT is that it is always changing)?

      • Lee Crites

        This is absolutely correct — the vast majority of companies cannot afford to train employees to do things.

        Between increasing taxes — and the threat of wildly increasing taxes, coupled with rapidly increasing medical care costs, companies cannot afford to bring on people who cannot “hit the ground running.”

        How do you get around that?

        Internships are a really good way. If a company doesn’t offer an internship, then you might volunteer to do something in a field for someone who needs it, and get a recommendation from them.

        I, for one, have done this. I have brought people under my wing, trained them in something, given them tasks that would exercise their new-found skills, and then provided documented proof that they did it.

        Mentors are not hard to find — if you know to look for them.

    • Glen Smith

      Don’t know what they mean by “top talent’ but when I graduated even very mediocre talent could get a job in a week. I should know since one of those mediocre guys was me.

  2. Any company that needs 4 or 5 interviews just to make a hiring decision should just fire their entire HR dept. And why not, HR outsources payroll and recruiting and benefits… so what the hell does HR actually DO??? Imagine if the developers were paid to get someone outside the company to do their jobs.
    HR is killing these companies like MS because know-nothing managers have delegated everything to sociology majors who go to work in HR. Get some managers who actually know development and don’t let HR screen out their candidates.

    Anyway, we know the meme… all the jobs are in/nearby silicon valley. If you don’t live in Seattle or Central/Northern California you aren’t “top” supposedly. There are millions upon millions of great developers outside of these coastal regions. So let’s start paying THEM decently and forget about these punks who think they are “top” just because they work in that small area.

  3. From what I’ve seen, top talent can send out hundreds of resumes and not even receive the courtesy of response from the employers. Hiring hasn’t been decent in over a decade.

  4. Sam Budda

    This is very useless article. What exactly constitute a top IT talent? Someone with 10 – 15 years of experience? By that time they have already developed enough of a network that they don’t need to waste so much time with interviews. Interview the candidate once is all you need to make a decision. Don’t waste his or your time playing games.

  5. RealityCheckPlease

    OK: “Top Talent” just means very smart, very self-directed, and very emotionally balanced (ie they don’t need to grease the door to get their head through). And yeah, I heard a lot of this type of hype before I moved the SF Bay area. What did I find? That 97 percent or more of the tech talent on the market out here is second-rate at best (I’m being as PC as I can here). Yet the silicon valley giants are snapping them up – at least as temps. If I had stock in SV companies I’d be selling. I now understand the obsession out here with Passive Candidate sourcing: nobody with exceptional talent is posting their resume; probably not applying to jobs either. If we could harness the Hot Air coming from Silicon Valley we could power every house in the US…

  6. Dan Suchow

    What I meant by top talent was a Developer/Engineer/PM/BA/QA who is not only highly referenceable but also has other offers circling.

    4 or 5 interviews is a rarity but it does happen, wasting valuable time for everyone involved. One of the big problems that we run into is when a client waits an extra day or two to interview/phone screen a candidate with this skill. Or has to consult with other people to get the person hired. Then at this point they are gone.

    Human capital is one of the most important pieces to a sucessful organization.

    • Lee Crites

      I laughed at this one right out loud!

      In the late 1990’s, I talked with a hiring manager working for a large computer company in the Austin area. Our phone interview went well, he said “show up.” I did. He took me around the group, introduced me as the new Systems Engineer, showed me my office (yes, with windows and a door that locked), and then took me out to lunch.

      Later that afternoon, he took me down to HR and said “This is my new engineer. Fix him up.”

      THAT is when I filled out the application and had an “interview.” I gave them the napkin my new boss wrote things on like salary, vacation, etc, so they could compose the “offer letter” for me to sign.

      Thanks for your comment that reminded me of that moment!

  7. Lee Crites

    After reading this and getting irritated at how silly the comment was, it hit me: this is marketing hype. Plain and simple. Think “Pepsi: the Choice of a New Generagion” or “Burger King: Have it Your Way.” Except it’s more like “Job Placement: snap-decisions-r-us.”

    WIth the homogenization of the work force in the Greater Bay Area, it is hard to figure out who the “top talent” is. It is the one with the most LinedIn recommendations? Or the fancy resume? Big names on their resume? The ones being marketed by a particular recruiting company?

    Asking companies to make snap decisions without doing any due-diligence is a little irresponsible. My experience has shown that companies who hire from the first interview also tend to make other snap decisions without thinking them through.

    While it might make for an interesting movie, “Fast and Furious” rarely works as a successful business paradigm.

    • Lee Crites

      One additional point I neglected to bring up is what does this say to the people these folks are representing? If they’re not placed in a week (or two, or three, or eight) — are they not “top talent” then?

      I truly feel like this needs to be viewed like a commercial, not a real editorial comment on the state of the employment situation in the area.

  8. I’m getting slightly tired of these negative comments on every article from a few folks . I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a single friend of mine, not A SINGLE who hasn’t received a fine offer within a week or two of searching. Now if u are stuck in some small city and don’t want to move to Colorado, Austin, SF, Seattle and all those other hot spots where the jobs are, then please blame yourself and not the industry, is it supposed to follow u? By the same token if you are doing interviews and never hearing back maybe it could be you, right? I had to go back to the drawing boards myself a few times. But to suggest there is something wrong with the software job market is dellusional. I mean kids are getting 50k right out of college with no skills doing programming. Chances are they are less negative than some of us around here and hiring folks can tell.

      • Lee Crites

        I( know you were being funny, but I’ll toss in my two cents, nonetheless…

        It is like when a doctor/medical provider calls himself a “professional.” If they truly are one, they have no need to claim it; if they claim it, they obviously are not one. The more they claim to be one, the less they are.

        I wrote an editorial article a few years back called “The Professional Three Strike Rule.” In it I said that the third time a medical provider tells you they are a professional, get dressed and leave — no questions, no second chances, no looking back.

        Same thing applies here, I believe. The more often someone tells you how good they are, the less they think you’ll figure it out without them telling you. After several times, I start to realize that even THEY know how much they have to tell me, or else I’ll NEVER figure it out.

    • Dan Suchow

      Top IT Talent – Somebody who is better than everyone else.

      How do you define “Top Talent” in any field or profession?

      Also if you plan on updating your resume update it with only what you know. Not every buzzword known to man. There’s a difference between a working knowledge of a protocall or language, and just reading about it on a blog and throwing it on you resume.

      • Lee Crites


        You mean like just looking up the definition of a term and checking out a couple of blog entries on it doesn’t make me an industry changing expert on it?


    • Well, none of that’s true. It means being able to handle the tools companies want, or at least being able to get up to speed on them quickly. Years of experience is less important than showing what you’ve done, how you’ve done it, and what it’s meant for the company. And the H 1B thing is a big ol’ Red Herring in my humble opinion.

      • James Griffin

        I disagree with you Mark, and agree with everything Steve is saying. These hiring rules your talking about only apply to Americans and green card holders. Companies not only hire h1b visas they train them in the tools the companies want them to know because they could become a permanent low cost alternative to hiring Americans.

  9. Love this thread. I knew it would raise some ire. Everyone wants to believe they’re top talent. The sense I got from these recruiters is top talent are a combination of really good AND known in the industry. If you have that combination, then people are fighting for you. Once this is known employers have to act fast to get you. If you’re great and people aren’t fighting for you, then maybe you’re not known in the industry. Being known requires marketing yourself and that’s a very different skill.