The "war for talent" is now going on tour.
Seven fast-growing tech companies are teaming up with a placement agency for Hacker Tour 2012--an eight week, around-the-country "bus trip" to recruit college students at 25 campuses across the country.
Employee placement start-up Readyforce will be looking for the most talented computer science and engineering talent on behalf of tour sponsors Square, ReTargeter, Codecademy, Quixey, box, 10gen, and Chegg.
For the hiring-company sponsors, Readyforce is offering an opportunity to pursue the heavily sought-after college talent that has traditionally gone on to work at places like Facebook, Google, or Fortune 500 companies, says Readyforce's Anna Binder, vice president of client services and human resources.
"If you go to a Facebook or a Google, it's a great opportunity to be one of hundreds, if not thousands, working on variety of initiatives," Binder says. "If you go to a smaller company, every day at work will have enormous impact.
"At a smaller organization, you have the opportunity to have your voice heard," she adds, "and ... you'll have access to the founder and executive team."
Readyforce, based in San Francisco, says that the tour will reach more than 20,000 students via campus career fairs, hack-a-thons, parties, and webcasts featuring CEOs and chief technology officers from the companies involved.
In the last 48 hours, Binder says she has spoken with representatives from 25 additional companies interested in sponsoring the tour. Hacker Tour sponsors must pay $5,000 and must be willing to hire college students.
Binder says she began with a list of more than 100 schools and narrowed it down based upon quality, geographical diversity, and to have a mix of private and public universities.
Hacker Tour's first stop will be the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on September 11; the recruiters will also visit schools ranging from Ivy League universities in the Northeast to public colleges in the South and Midwest, with a long West Coast swing that includes Stanford and several University of California campuses.
Binder could not say how many jobs each company is looking to fill. However, she says that some CEOs involved have said, "I'm willing to hire as many great students as I can possibly get my hands on."