Engineer and entrepreneur Neal Bloom realized that many of his peers weren’t marketing themselves well to potential employers. They were smart and educated, but they didn’t have traditional résumé-ready jobs. So he co-founded the digital portfolio platform Portfolium, and later helped launch Hired.com, a site that lets companies apply to candidates. Here, he gives advice on navigating what he calls the next generation for job seekers.
How has tech changed recruiting?
First, students were just lining up at career fairs. Then came inefficient mass job boards. After that was LinkedIn, where messages from recruiters get overwhelming. The next generation is smart recruiting. It’s targeted, more like dating sites. We ask job seekers for specific data—what size companies do you like, where do you want to work—and rank them. It’s exciting to actually put the algorithmic tech behind job seeking.
What are we gaining from a more digital process?
Now the companies come to you. We flipped the script. The idea of re-skilling is also really exciting in the tech world. UC San Diego Extension is in a place to be a leader of that in the city.
So what jobs are hot right now?
Software engineers have the pick of the litter. But they still want the right role, not just any role. Companies have to think about what they can offer.
As an entrepreneur, what excites you about this industry?
What I love is that recruiting is becoming its own separate department that doesn’t roll up to HR. They’re treated as the sales and marketing part of the organization. They have to close candidates. They have to sell.
You have always lived within 20 miles of a beach. What advantage do lifestyle factors like that afford San Diego companies?
I grew up in LA. LA is a beach city, but doesn't embrace it nearly as much. In San Diego, it’s part of our daily life. That’s a competitive advantage for companies. I’ve found that one in five job seekers want to move to San Diego. It behooves us to get the word out that we're a city of 3,000 tech companies you could spend the rest of your life working at, and by the way, these companies sit five minutes from the beach.