Facebook Hiring Machine To Ramp Post IPO?

Missed out on snaring a Facebook job before its IPO? Too bad, too sad.

But even if you’re not among a quarter of Facebook’s workforce that reportedly stands to become millionaires after its IPO on Friday, there’s still plenty of opportunity to land a Facebook developers job even after the mega Wall Street event, says technology recruiter David Chie. In fact, there’s likely be be even more opportunity.

Facebook’s Body Count

The social-networking giant was already been on a hiring binge before its IPO, increasing its workforce by nearly 46 percent over the past year to 3,539 workers at the end of March.

And while the company is still on the prowl for IT experts from network engineers to infrastructure operations engineers to software developers, Chie, chief operating officer with Palo Alto Staffing Technology, says the pace is likely to be greatly accelerated once the IPO is completed.

Facebook Faces Facts

The company’s IPO is expected to create upwards of 1,000 millionaires, according to a report in the Daily Mail. And Facebook is keenly aware it may lead to an exodus of some of its workers.

Facebook stated in its IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission:

….we have a number of current employees whose equity ownership in our company gives them a substantial amount of personal wealth. Likewise, we have a number of current employees whose equity awards are fully vested and shortly after the completion of our initial public offering will be entitled to receive substantial amounts of our capital stock. As a result, it may be difficult for us to continue to retain and motivate these employees, and this wealth could affect their decisions about whether or not they continue to work for us. If we do not succeed in attracting, hiring, and integrating excellent personnel, or retaining and motivating existing personnel, we may be unable to grow effectively.

And the company specifically points out the value of its software developers:

We believe that our ability to compete effectively depends upon many factors both within and beyond our control, including:

  • our ability to attract, retain, and motivate talented employees, particularly software engineers.

Replacement hires for its newly rich IT staff will likely account for 10 to 15 percent of Facebook’s IT hires going forward, Chie says. He bases that figure on previous hiring trends he’s seen at other Silicon Valley companies that went public.

“A lot of top engineers who have been in an organization a long time will leave after the IPO,” Chie says. “Public companies over time find they need engineers willing to work in a more corporate environment and some engineers miss the start-up environment.”

Crank Open the Floodgates

Most of the new hires will come from a combination of Facebook tempering its hiring spree just a tad in preparation for the IPO and having an enormous infusion of cash, Chie says. Facebook will raise $18.4 billion from its IPO, after pricing its shares at $38 a share on Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“There’s going to be a huge push to increase headcount,” says Chie. “Most companies hire a lot of contractors before an IPO or have a hiring freeze, so their expenses look better on the books for investors. After an IPO, companies open the hiring floodgates and go into an expansion mode.”

Facebook Loses Allure, Post IPO?

Facebook may ultimately find a challenge in attracting developers once it’s public, because it loses the promise of IPO riches. Chie says he’s seen it with other companies, including Google.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to hire after an IPO, because the company loses its sexiness. There’s an assumed opportunity when you work for a private company that one day it may go public,” Chie says. “One large ISP, which was big during its day, lost its ability to recruit talent after its IPO.”

But given a choice between a publicly held Facebook or a fresh, young privately held start-up, Chie says he knows which one he would advise a relative to choose.

“Facebook still has a huge amount of growth left and I would definitely advise a relative to work there, instead of a start-up,” he says.

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