Tacos for talent: How recruiters attract out-of-town talent through Austin's food and music scene

by Kelly O'Halloran
July 20, 2017

An Austin lifestyle is an attractive lifestyle. So much so that in 2016, an average of 159 people moved here daily. Although it seems like an easy place for tech companies to sell to out-of-town recruits, moving your life to a new city is still a big ask. We asked HomeAway, TicketyCity and Boundless Networks to weigh in on how they ensure new Austinite employees feel welcomed and confident in their move.

 

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HomeAway’s Austin office has attracted employees from all over the world, including tech epicenter Silicon Valley. Global Director of Talent Acquisition Marisela Rylander said HomeAway employees can expect a friendly welcoming from the HomeAway family and Austinites in general, noting our city’s friendliness.

What does Austin offer that makes for a unique recruiting tool?

Several of HomeAway’s Austin employees are alumni of Facebook, Google and other technology heavyweights who left Silicon Valley for a more relaxed pace of life. In Austin, new residents find a fast-growing, affordable community with abundant educational and employment opportunities; a place where it’s possible to buy a house, start a band or start a family.

Austin’s vibrant startup scene, anchored by several large-scale tech companies, is known throughout the world. When potential candidates visit Austin, we ask them to pay close attention to the live music, abundant hiking trails, tacos and friendly faces: as a homegrown Austin company, all of these things are part of HomeAway’s cultural DNA.

How do you show recruits or new employees what Austin is all about?

Each conversation a recruiter has with a potential HomeAway employee helps us understand candidates in an authentic way. By the time a candidate interviews at HomeAway, we know enough about them to recommend specific neighborhoods, restaurants and activities that we believe could become a part of their lives should they choose to move to Austin. And when stories about Austin pop up in news media, we share them with candidates to arm them with even more information about what life in Austin is really like.  

When discussing a relocation to Austin, what are some common candidate-concerns?

Some candidates are anxious at the thought of moving to a new city. We like to show candidates how friendly Austinites are by connecting them with employees with similar interests, many who can share their own stories about what it’s like to get started in Austin.

Others tell us they’re worried about the weather. For them, we offer our tried-and-true recipe to beat the Texas heat: a dip in Barton Springs and a cold Topo Chico.

 



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When we asked TicketCity’s Natalie Lowe about what makes Austin an easy sell for out-of-town recruits, the manager of talent and culture countered with: “What doesn’t Austin offer?” The Austin-based company is a hub for events all over and its culture reflects that for new and existing employees.

What does Austin offer that makes for a unique recruiting tool?

It’s hard to pinpoint the best thing about this place. From the small town feel with all the perks of being a rapidly growing city, to the vibrancy of the city’s booming tech industry, the youth and research-oriented culture of the University of Texas, and at the heart of it all is the Austin “weird.” There’s something for everyone here.

How do you show recruits or new employees what Austin is all about?

Our whole world revolves around events. Whether it’s a concert or a college football game, we know how to deliver great products while having a blast. They’re the core values of our company and the core of what Austin’s all about. As a company born and bred in Austin, we like to show everyone the respect, care and good time this city is famous for.

When discussing the relocation to Austin, what are some common candidate-concerns?

One of the most common concerns is figuring out the right neighborhood and right commute for each candidate. We like to work with our recruits to help them find the sweet spot between their new home and the office. Work/life balance is very important to us and we don’t want our new hires to be sitting in traffic all day (yes, Austin’s traffic can really stink, but there are ways around it!).

Like I said, our company was raised here so there are few questions about relocating to Austin we wouldn't be able to answer!

 

 

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Lupita Salgado, HR business partner at Boundless Networks, talked up Austin’s food as a key recruiting strategy. When they help candidates experience Austin, a visit to local BBQ spots and Tex-Mex is typically high on the agenda.

What does Austin offer that makes for a unique recruiting tool?

Austin is a town with great food, great music, and great people. Austin offers a great quality of life, with fun events, mild weather (yes, it’s less humid than Houston), good schools and tons of outdoor recreational activities. Because the tech industry is booming, it is an attractive city when thinking about career growth and opportunities down the road.   

How do you show recruits or new employees what Austin is all about?

The best way to show candidates what Austin is all about is with our food! Taking out a candidate to eat at a Tex-Mex or BBQ joint is the way to go.

When discussing the relocation to Austin, what are some common candidate-concerns?

There are hardly any concerns about moving to Austin outside of some immediate relocation needs, i.e. will my relocation be reimbursed? Will you offer temporary housing assistance? Will you put me in contact with a realtor? It’s always easy enough to put candidates in touch with the right resources, including putting them in touch with a current employee who has gone through the relocation process before.

 


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