About Dan Schellhorn

Dan has more than five years of recruiting experience, spanning several industries, including IT, Scientific, and Engineering. He graduated from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln with a Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry, with a focus on Chemistry. In his spare time, Dan enjoys spending time with his family, working on cars, golfing, and taking on various home remodeling projects.

Tech Relationships for Recruiters and Candidates in Today’s Market Trends

As someone in the IT industry who sees both the current job openings, as well as the candidate pool, I confidently say that there is a disparity between the two.  The number of local tech opportunities available can sometimes be at a 10 to 1 ratio when searching for a candidate.

Recruiting for talent has become increasingly harder.  Recruiters have to go out and start networking more than they ever have before and have had to become increasingly involved in activities outside the office.  When recruiting in a more specified field, such as IT, one can be more successful by becoming more knowledgeable about the IT field, such as learning computer language and IT culture. More times than not, recruiters are more similar to career coaches.  As recruiters, we are not all out there to simply try and place people, but to help individuals find a path that they are excited about and will grow with. The great thing about this is that there is no shortage of opportunities.  So if a candidate wants to work as a .Net developer, java developer, mobile developer, or as a developer using open source technologies, there is a great demand for his or her skill set.  This allows someone to be able to really choose an ideal path or technology he or she enjoys. If you look around, everything we touch today has an IT component to it. Even within UI/UX design, this is becoming more important because the web pages or programs we look at today have products, buttons placed in certain places to draw our attention to different parts of the page.  The tech industry is revolutionizing how we go about our daily lives whether we are aware of it or not.  With that, recruiting has become more difficult because there are more specialty positions and/or the career ladder within IT has increased.  You no longer just have to be a developer to be involved in IT.  You could be part of the business, marketing, design, project management, technical writing, etc., so no matter what path you head down, your job could potentially lead to something that is being driven by the tech side.

If you look at the local market in Nebraska today there is a wide range of positions and over 10,000 jobs listed.  When you look at the ratio of 10 to 1, what it means is there are 10,000 positions, but only 1,000 qualified people to fill those positions.  In order to start filling these open positions, not only are candidates going to have to start to be more flexible and learn more technologies, but employers are going to have to be willing to train their employees and help them grow.  Otherwise, there will always be a big hole within IT.  Now that IT is seen not as just a money drain on a business, but an asset that can create a good return on investment, everyone has to be more flexible.

From the candidate’s point of view, the best thing he or she can do to find the right opportunity is to network.  Over 60% of the people our company hires come from referrals.  So there is no need to post all jobs that we work.  When networking, whether it is with others that are directly involved in development, or you are networking with a recruiter, it is best to go with an open mind and to hear someone out.  Not to say that you always need to be looking for a job, but when you need to look, you have already laid the ground work to get the ball rolling.  So in an industry where the average employee sticks with a job for 2 to 3 years, networking is key.  You never know when someone that you worked with will end up at a company you want to work for someday, so strive to keep positive relationships and open lines of communication.

As far as the “ideal” candidate goes, it is hard to say how one needs to be or act.  Every company and every environment is different and thus requires different skills.  It is safe to say a good trait to have in a candidate is someone that is willing to collaborate with others at work because a lot more companies see that with collaboration comes greater output for everyone.  Also, when one is willing to collaborate, you might learn a new skill or technology that you would not have learned without that situation.  I hate to use such a cliché phrase like “team player”, but having a person that is willing to help others learn and to continue to learn himself, will make a position much more fulfilling for not only for you as a recruiter but for the company as well.

The Big Picture: Competition Drives Ideas and Business

When I was asked to attend an event with Pipeline Entrepreneurs I thought what a great opportunity to meet several people from different backgrounds.  Pipeline is an accelerator program to help thriving entrepreneurs continue to be successful leaders within their market.  The night of January 23rd was filled with networking, fun, drinks and awards for entrepreneurs of all age groups from Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.

As soon as I stepped into the Midland Theatre in Kansas City I realized how opulent this venue was and immediately understood why this was a black tie affair.  The guest list was long, consisting of over 580 people in attendance.  During the time there I had met several aspiring entrepreneurs and individuals who were part of pipeline and were running successful companies.  One of the guys I met that night started one of the most successful online gaming companies and is based out of Omaha.  I also met a pair of brothers who were just starting out trying to make an impact in the medical industry by utilizing big data and providing analytics for different diseases.

While I was there, meeting and mingling with other entrepreneurs from Omaha I realized how much of an impact the start-up community has on surrounding markets.

Though it was great to have the opportunity to network with hundreds of people, it made me start to think that 600 entrepreneurs…that is a lot of people, a lot of business, a lot of ideas.  Surely some of these ideas must be similar or even the same.   How do they differentiate themselves?  Even though some ideas might be similar, entrepreneurs must constantly ask themselves how they can differentiate their business from the business down the street.

The big picture that drives business and all of these ideas is competition.  The want to succeed and do better, provide the best to customers and clients is just part of being one step above competitors.  It doesn’t matter what area of work you are in, there is always competition.  From internal goals to create a healthy dose of competition and to generate business, to outside competition between companies, this concept of competing pushes everyone to the next step.

It is a concept that all 600 of these entrepreneurs at the Pipeline have grasped as essential to help them thrive in an economy that already provides a wide variety of products and services.  Competition is a concept that they need to grasp in order to thrive and differentiate themselves amongst the rest.

This is something that I, though not an entrepreneur, have a new way of looking at ways to do better in my own career and daily responsibilities. How do I stay above the rest?  What makes me different?  How can I provide better for those I work with and for daily?

Job Hunting Made Easy

If you are a candidate looking for an IT position and you sit down at your computer to begin your search for a ___________ job. You decide to try trusty Google to begin your search. After hitting the search button, an overwhelming amount of results appear. Now what?

When beginning a job search, one of the most challenging and frustrating parts can be navigating your way through job boards and job postings. Although there are many popular job boards, such as Monster, Careerbuilder, and Dice, digging deeper using search engines as a searching tool is a great way to narrow down your search in a more efficient manner.

One of the biggest and easiest search engines to use is Google. Google has an ability to pull from a multitude of job postings on the internet. For example, if you want to search for web developer jobs in Nebraska, you get 1.5 million results. In order to peruse only the most meaningful jobs, you must narrow down the search results. To do this begin, by using key words which define what type of web developer you are, for example include .net, java, or PHP, to name a few. If you have already searched a job board, such as Monster, you could type “-monster” this will filter out the jobs you have already viewed from Monster.com. As a general rule, if you put the “-” sign in front of any word, it will exclude that word from every search results.

LinkedIn is another valuable tool, and has become one of the most powerful ways to search for a job. If you find a job posting on any site which interests you, you can usually use LinkedIn to find an employee in the company that you may be able to connect with. In order to connect with this individual using LinkedIn they would have to be classified as a 2nd degree connection to yourself. What if they are a 3rd degree connection and you are unable to link to that person with a click of the mouse? Here is a great alternative. Go to Google and type, site:linkedin.com, then type the first name of the person, their location, or maybe a job that is on their profile. Scan through the results and a link to the person should show up with their full name, thus allowing you to connect with them. However, if you want to email them directly at work also, this takes things a step further. So how do you discover a person’s work email? It is easier than you think! All you need to do is find the company’s website (i.e. www.welsfargo.com) then go to. Google, type “site:wellsfargo.com email”, scroll through the results and you should be able to find a person’s email format you can follow. Again, if there are too many results coming up, you can narrow your search by using “-” or using more keywords.