Recruiting to win the talent wars.

3 Ways to Recruit to Win the Savage VR/AR Talent Wars

What’s Your Strategy?

I recruit, so I experience the tightness of tech talent market every day. If you prefer data, the national unemployment rates fell to a near ten year low of 4.6% last month, while the tech meccas of San Francisco and Austin fell to 3.2%, and we saw Seattle and Silicon Valley not far behind at 3.8% and 3.9% respectively.  It is tight.

The talent I recruit most are in the booming sectors of Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and Data Science. The job posting frequency chart below shows the incredible increases in job postings in my sectors since 2015.  Therefore, the talent pool is exceptionally shallow in these areas, and I see companies sometimes settling for talent that does not have all the experience or skills the hiring manager desires.

Job Posting Term Frequency IoT, Machine Learning, Data Scientist Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence


In this climate everyone wants to get to market faster, with the best possible product. Getting people with significant experience and the right skills reduces time to market, and creates a far better product faster.

Recruit with three simple rules to avoid losing the talent war.

  1. Beat the competition by getting to the talent sooner.
    January starts a huge hiring season. Start your search In November and December while your competition snoozes from too much turkey and egg nog. Yes, it is harder to get through to people during the month of December, on the other hand, there’s less competition. There’s also less competition for headhunter’s time in December. Wait until January, and you’ll be one of many trying to hire in the same talent pool.
  2. Always prioritize talent acquisition. 
    There are always reasons to put things off until January.  Don’t.  When your executive recruiter submits a candidate to you that you like, immediately set up an interview… for the next day if possible. Don’t wait, and make sure everybody that needs to be in the loop gets to meet the candidate ASAP. Can’t swing it in person? Skype it.
  3. It is all about the interview… so leave your ego at the door.
    Yes, your organization is the bomb, the cat’s meow. Your cool factor is great, but the A+ candidates that I recruit already have jobs in which they are successful, and can wait for other opportunities if they wish.  Your headhunter can only pre-sell the opportunity.  Hiring managers need to follow up on the pre-sell and close the deal.

Unemployment Rates 10/16

  • San Francisco – Redwood City –South San Francisco 3.2% 3.2%
  • San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara 3.9% 3.9%
  • Seattle – Bellevue – Everett 3.8% 3.8%
  • Los Angeles – Long Beach – Anaheim 4.8% 4.8%
  • Austin, Texas 3.2% 3.2%


Professionals say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role


Candidates say a positive interview experience can change their mind the other way


Say the interview is extremely or very important in their final decision to take a job or not

According to a LinkedIn study, over 80% of candidates say an interview experience will completely change their mind about a company or role (positively or negatively).  Plus, 77% say the interview is extremely or very important in their final decision to take a job or not.  Therefore, to the extent possible, try to make it enjoyable, or even fun for you and the candidate.  Yes, you can ask the tough questions. Even behavioral interviews can be made enjoyable. It is all about your approach.

Of course, you could wait until January or February.  Most companies do. However, you’ll be much more likely to:

  • Encounter a slower search
  • Have the cream of the crop picked over
  • Face tougher competition for your perfect candidate

Is there really a good reason to wait?

Josh Leichtung is a headhunter & consultant that focuses on Marketing and Product talent for AI, VR/AR, IoT, and high-growth technology companies.


Get Josh to recruit for you by emailing or calling him at 415.766.7236

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