Steep rents and the highest cost of living in the country don’t seem like much of an impediment to Vancouver’s Hootsuite attracting talent from its own back yard.
The company’s semi-annual job fair, HootHire, took place yesterday at the company’s recently opened second location and attracted about 1000 people looking to snag an estimated 100 jobs. The company says it is looking for developers, engineers and, due to the international scope of its business, those who speak foreign languages.
Hootsuite meteoric rise was punctuated a little more than a year ago with a eye-popping $165-million Series B that was led by Insight Venture Partners and included Accel Partners and OMERS Ventures. Since that time the company has swelled its ranks to more than 650 employees, 87% of which work in Vancouver.
But can the Hootsuite continue to compete on the international stage for talent?
The company’s vice-president of talent, Ambrosia Humphrey, says staffing will always be a challenge, but she thinks Hootsuite will always have a majority of its employees in Vancouver. She says there are “unique challenges” to hiring in Vancouver, but points out that places like Singapore and Silicon Valley are seeing high turnover rates in tech industry jobs, and don’t have many of the natural advantages that Vancouver does.
Another challenge might be perception. How many of yesterday’s would-be employees understand the company and how many are simply enticed by its festive culture, which matches Menlo Park in the perks department, but is a novelty locally? Humphrey says weeding out those attracted to the sizzle and not the steak is part of the purpose of the job fair.
“You can pretty much tell when someone just want to work for a cool company,” she says, adding that things like DJs, Friday beer taps and ping-pong have simply become “table stakes in tech.”
While Hootsuite has clearly staked its claim as anchor tenant in Vancouver’s nascent tech scene, it is already being challenged for top spot by the likes of companies such as BuildDirect, ElasticPath and Vision Critical. Humphrey says Hootsuite is first and foremost a fan of the local tech scene and is committed to driving the overall numbers of tech candidates to Vancouver, rather than poaching or competing aggressively for existing talent.