TCTV: In the Studio, Morgan Missen Says Technical Recruiting Is Often Too Transactional

Editor’s note: TechCrunch contributor Semil Shah currently works at Votizen and is based in Palo Alto; you can follow him on twitter @semil

“In the Studio” rolls on this week with a guest who studied computer programming, went on to be a technical documentation writer, and was the first person in her family to attend to college, after which she moved to Silicon Valley and went to handle technical recruiting for some of the biggest consumer technology companies in the world.

Morgan Missen has seen the ups and downs of technical recruiting over the years in Silicon Valley. Currently the Head of Talent for Foursquare, Missen worked in recruiting for two of the Bay Area’s most powerful consumer technology companies, Twitter and Google. Over the past few years, she’s had a front-row seat to all aspects of technical recruiting, everything from scouring campuses and online communities to find the best technical talent, as well as how to keep those folks around at the company after the offer letter is signed.

To paraphrase Naval Ravikant of Angel List, it’s never been easier to start a company, but it’s never been harder to build one. A large part of that, one could argue, is the difficulty around finding, recruiting, hiring, and retaining technical talent. Depending on your point of view, there are either not enough developers or there are too many founders. Additionally, the pressures of secondary market liquidity, among others, make it that much harder for companies that have funding but don’t have product-market fit to close great candidates.

In our conversation, Missen helps shine light on many of the trends she sees today in technical recruiting, as well as dispelling many of the myths. For instance, she believes it’s exactly as tough as it’s ever been to hire the very best engineers. She notes that companies with big pockets continue lose great engineers to much younger startups, and that’s it’s actually getting easier to identify and attract new recruits because the channels for finding them are expanding. For all the founders, developers, and product designers out there, this interview is a great chance to learn from directly from an expert on the ins and outs of today’s competitive recruiting climate.