Recruiting video spreads word of Treasure Valley tech jobs

It's too early to gauge results, but recruiters are enthusiastic about BVEP's new effort.

krodine@idahostatesman.comNovember 5, 2013 

When Eagle recruiter Johanna Osterman sends an email to prospective job applicants, she tags on a bonus: A link to a new video touting the virtues of the Treasure Valley and its tech community.

"We've added it to our email auto-signature," says Osterman, a technical account executive at recruiting firm Adecco Engineering and Technical. "We send thousands of emails every day."

The video, released in mid-September by the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, is a welcome addition to the arsenal tech companies and recruiting firms use to attract out-of-state talent to the Valley's fast-growing community of technology businesses, Osterman says.

As Hewlett-Packard cloud applications architect Matt Messinger says in the video, "We have lots of world-class companies that make world-class products ... the demand is much higher than the supply."

Osterman says Adecco consistently has 30 to 40 software-related positions it aims to fill for local companies.

"It's always an employees' market," she says. "If you had a computer-science degree, I could get you work by tomorrow."

"Boise Tech Scene - A Day in the Life" runs a little less than five minutes and features three young, active professionals at Boise tech businesses: HP's Messinger, White Cloud Analytics software engineer William Foster and Christina Tierney, human resources director for Ballihoo. Clips show them on the job, working out, hanging out with family and enjoying activities from Downtown coffee shops to Foothills mountain biking.

And they sing the Valley's praises, stressing the community's friendliness, diverse array of activities and wide range of available jobs.

Tierney, who moved to Boise from San Francisco, says at first she worried about losing the cultural variety of the Bay area, but her fears were soon allayed.

"I think the first couple of months that I was working here I skipped to my car every day, I was so happy with my quality of life," she says in the video.

Tierney represents a key market the video aims to tap: Bay Area tech professionals who are open to a change in geography.

Clark Krause, executive director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, says the organization invested several hundred dollars to place ads featuring the video on LinkedIn pages for 20,000 software professionals in and around San Francisco. Later, he says, the partnership plans to place ads to reach the other 40,000 such professionals in that area.

"Next we'll hit Portland and Seattle, where the HR directors say they get the most interest," Krause says.

He says the LinkedIn strategy was suggested by human resources professionals who gathered for a "best practices" recruiting discussion - and previewed the video - on Aug. 27.

Response to the video was positive, says Osterman, one of the presenters at that session. "I'm hoping we've accomplished what we're trying to do with the video," Krause says. "It's being seen, and we're optimistic it will get used."

"We went to the Idaho Technology Council's Software Alliance to present it, and about 80 percent of them had already seen it," he says. "That's encouraging."

Valley promoters without a software emphasis also are embracing the marketing tool, Krause says, noting that at BVEP's Oct. 17 stakeholders' meeting, "two different realty firms told me they had posted it on their website and also had sent it out."

In its first month on YouTube and Vimeo, the video drew more than 2,000 views, says Lisa Bloomquist, marketing specialist for BVEP. In addition, various companies have posted it on their websites, she says, but data was not available to show how many.

The recruiting video features this nugget from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: The Boise-Nampa area ranked in the top 25 metro areas for growth in high-tech employment between 2006 and 2011, with an 82.9 percent growth rate.

According to the state Department of Labor, Idaho has more than 800 software companies, nearly half of which are in the Boise-Nampa area. Moscow-based data analysis firm Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. predicts that software development jobs in Idaho will increase by nearly 30 percent in a decade, from 1,622 in 2012 to 2,107 in 2022.

Krause says BVEP plans to unveil a recruiting website soon that will feature more videos from tech professionals, but this time from farther afield in the Treasure Valley - "from Mountain Home to Caldwell."

Future efforts will likely tackle recruiting for other big Treasure Valley employment groups, such as health care or engineering, he says.

For now, Osterman says, recruiters are happy to have another tool for attracting out-of-state software professionals' interest. "I think everything helps," she says. "It's not a one-shot answer; all different avenues are worth pursuing."

"That's really what we try to sell is the community, the lifestyle, the career opportunities."

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Kristin Rodine: 377-6447

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