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Where to Snag Hot Start-up Talent?

Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley both have incredible talent, but they’re two very different ponds for fishing.
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You’re looking to bring fresh talent into your start-up and you want to find the best engineers, product managers, and all-around go-getters who can take your company to the next level. The Bay Area and New York are the foremost places to find impressive resumes, but the two scenes are nothing alike. Or at least so says Michael Dsupin of IT staffing firm Talener, which has offices in both as well as in Los Angeles and has helped companies like AOL, Thrillist, and Business Insider find talent.

I spoke with Dsupin recently and he gave me his take on what you're going to get from each coast:

They’re completely different ecosystems. Silicon Valley is product based—think Cisco, HP, and Apple. The start-up mentality is much more a way of life and everyone wants to be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.

In New York, business tends to focus on finance, legal, advertising and publishing, and start-ups are often still considered quite risky. Here, New Yorkers hold up John Paulson and other Wall Street mogul as role models, Dsupin says. It’s also chock full of digital media companies such as Buddy Media, Daily Candy and Business Insider.

Location matters in the Valley, but not in the Alley. You’re either in Manhattan or you’re not. There doesn’t appear to be a burgeoning start-up environment in Westchester or Long Island, so regardless if you’re in the 20s on the West Side or you’re in the 40s on the East Side, it’s all close in New York City.

In Silicon Valley it’s a different matter altogether, with Palo Alto still the center of the universe. While cities within about a 20-mile radius of it are considered part of the Valley, the closer companies get to Palo Alto, the bigger the talent pool they can pull from simply because more start-ups want to be there.

Silicon Valley has more senior talent. That’s because of the region’s rich history in technology, starting with the founding of Hewlett Packard in 1939 in Palo Alto. Since then, it’s been the high-tech Mecca of the world and much of the workforce there has years of experience working on or for successful start-ups. Keep in mind, this seniority is going to cost you, although if you’re located in Silicon Valley where funding is more plentiful, you might be able to afford it.

While the workforce in New York doesn’t have as much background getting start-ups off the ground, that’s been changing in recent years. A decade ago one of the only successful start-ups coming out of New York was DoubleClick. Now you’ve got Foursquare, Huffington Post, Fab.com, and OMGPOP and many more that hail from Manhattan.

Want to know more about how to land the best and brightest workers? Check out fellow Inc.com columnist Jeff Haden’s recent story, “If This Isn’t How You Recruit, You’re Doing It Wrong.” He shares the six steps every business owner must follow to find better talent.

Last updated: Feb 20, 2012




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