Friday, August 20, 2004

Happy Birthday - Link Du Jour Let's all celebrate our geekdom as AD&D turns 30. A brief article at -- Dungeons and Dragons Turns 30 -- now all I need is a copy of "Superfreak" remastered to say "SuperGeek."

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Musings from a Recruiter From the Software Product Marketing Yahoogroup, Heather Hamilton, from Microsoft, on working for Startups vs Blue Chips -->
From: "Heather Hamilton"
Subject: Re: career advice: start-up vs. blue chip

Thought I would just weigh in with the recruiter perspective here. You've gotten some good advice from these guys already. Couple things I want to add:

1) blue chips are a known quantity. As a recruiter, if I see someone working for a major player in the space, I have a good idea of the type and scope of work they are doing. With start-ups, it's harder to tell. Considering that recruiters look at hundreds of resumes in a day, the likelihood of them researching all the start ups they see on resumes is unlikely. Most should have a good idea of the start-ups in their area of expertise though. But unless a recruiter specializes in a specific technology space, it's hard to keep up with the start-ups out there.
2) Start-ups are good for a few types of work. Specifically, launching a product from scratch and building brand recognition where little exists. This kind of experience could benefit you if, for example, you wanted to focus on emerging markets in the future. You might want to think really granularly about the type of work that would round out your background and see if this is the type of work that takes place in a start-up environment.
3) As a management consultant, you probably want to get some good execution experience under your belt (I'm guessing here, but this is what I hear from most in that space). The scope of the implementation for a start up is potentially much smaller than for an established product in a blue-chip company. However, if your passion pulls you toward a specific type of product, you may want to consider the start-up route. You'd also be more likely to have a braoder resposibility set at a start-up.

As a recruiter, when I see a resume with start-up jumping on it, I do look to see if they have seom blue chip experience. In the past five years, start-ups were springing up all over the place and most were not selective in their recruiting because the demand for talent was huge. So I look back on the resume to see if there's some previous experience at a competitive larger company. This tells me that they are likely a solid candidate that made it through the screening process for that company. With just the start-up experience, it's hard to tell if they have even been through the full product development lifecycle.

On the flip side, if a person has some start-up experience, it definitely shows some conviction on their part and there is a huge reward potential. Picking THE RIGHT start up is key and you should be asking questions about what the job is right now (in a small environment, "career path" is probably less thought out).

At Microsoft, we do hire people coming out of start-ups, but by and large, they have some experience in a larger company setting (not necessarily blue chip but something bigger and more established than a start-up). Anyway, I agree with a lot of what Emilio says and I would also recommend doing the blue-chip thing for a couple years and then thinking about start-ups.

Now for the self-promoting piece of my response: feel free to send me your resume and I will share it with the other marketing recruiters here at Microsoft!

Heather Hamilton | Senior Marketing Recruiter
Microsoft Corporation | 425.706.2312

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