Strategies for Building a World Class Tech Team: Lessons from Portland Startup Week

by Mark Schacter on February 16, 2015 in EdgeLink Oregon, Start-up Hiring Strategy

Portland Startup Week

The Portland Startup scene is thriving, and EdgeLink is excited to be involved with the entrepreneurs and business leaders who are celebrating this growth. On February 5, EdgeLink’s Direct Hire Services Manager, Mark Schacter, hosted a panel of experts at the Portland Startup Week event, discussing “Strategies for Building a World-Class Tech Team.”

The panel included three local leaders: Mike Portwood, VP of Engineering at Eid Passport; Claire Hernandez, Director of Customer Support at Puppet Labs; and Christian Casebeer, SVP of Technology at InComm Digital Solutions.

The discussion explored the ins and outs of recruiting tech talent in the growing tech and startup scene in Portland. Mark Schacter pointed out that with such massive growth and competition for talent, it can sometimes be a challenge to attract, recruit and retain the right people.

Mike Portwood agreed with how difficult it has become for hiring managers to find the right talent. He offered some insightful advice for leaders faced with this challenge, mentioning local state schools that are beginning to offer accelerated programs in computer science and computer programming to students whose main line of study lies in another field. Educational tech initiatives such as these hold significant potential for future local talent.

Claire Hernandez focused on the importance of implementing creative models to train entry-level people or even hiring students who are still enrolled in universities. Hiring remote people, she added, can also be successful, but you have to stay sensitive to their needs, to make them feel included and engaged as part of your team.

Mark Schacter went on to cite the fact that statistics showed a 9% increase in tech incomes in 2014 alone. With the demand for tech professionals already so high, the question is raised of whether this trend in increasing salaries is a potential stressor for many startups when recruiting top talent.

Fortunately, Christian Casebeer commented, attracting and recruiting talent for a tech startup relies on selling the startup culture over the salary. If you’re a downtown tech startup, you want a team of people who want to make an impact, who are looking to avoid the red tape, who want their voices heard in decisions that are made. If a candidate is merely looking for a competitive salary, then, says Casebeer, they’re not who you’re looking for.

These three panel speakers continued to share their insight on topics ranging from the effects of growth on culture to how to avoid costly hiring mistakes. The event gave entrepreneurs and fellow community members the opportunity to learn about, network within, and celebrate their local startup culture.

Watch the video below or contact us for more information!