How 14 West plays matchmaker for Baltimore job seekers - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Feb. 13, 2017 11:57 am

How 14 West plays matchmaker for Baltimore job seekers

Got passion, drive and adaptability? The Mount Vernon services company wants to meet you.

A day at the office with one of the companies 14 West supports.

(Courtesy photo)

A business owner’s dream — not having to worry about HR, hiring or administrative matters. The ability to focus solely on the passion and the work you love. Can you picture it?

That’s what 14 West provides for all of The Agora Companies. In fact, 14 West was established in 2001 solely to provide this service. “Basically we exist to say don’t worry about any of your HR needs, your legal matters, your accounting or utility bills,” said Allison Benson O’Brien, 14 West’s director of communications. “We’ll do all of it. Just focus on what you love.”

With 16 domestic companies within the Agora network, the team at 14 West has its hands full. There are also now over 30 international businesses in 17 countries. The 14 West team says its companies multiply quickly because the employees in the companies have a thirst for growth.

Elizabeth Massing, the company’s director of personnel and talent acquisition, says 14 West recruiters are seeking key fundamentals. “They need to be independent, they need to be able to work in a fast-paced environment,” she said. “They have to have an entrepreneurial spirit; they have to be driven, motivated, able to work in an unstructured work environment.”

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So, what jobs are available?

Although The Agora Companies are known for publishing, there are numbers of tech jobs available — approximately 50 percent are tech jobs, Seaman estimates. Emerging tech needs range from DevOps to IT support — both locally and globally. There’s need for business analysts, project managers, coordinators, developers, quality assurance in the Java stack, .NET, open source, PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The sky is the limit.

See the job postings

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Because of these traits, employees are rewarded with opportunities for growth and career progression. Which, in turn, leads to company progression. A win-win, she says, all around.

Elizabeth Massing, 14 West's HR director. (Courtesy photo)

Elizabeth Massing, 14 West’s HR director. (Courtesy photo)

While each company does share a set of fundamental traits, they all have individual microcultures, too. Understanding “the Agora way,” plus matching each company’s traits with job candidates, is why technical recruiter Bill Seaman’s job resembles that of a matchmaker. Seaman says a big part of his job is finding the right fit between company and candidate.

“I have to understand the microculture of each of our companies,” he said. “We have the same sentiments throughout the organization but the individual companies definitely have nuances and microcultures that are in there. Then I go out to the talent and really understand what they’re looking for and try to find a good match all the way around.”

When looking for a candidate, Seaman often looks past the résumé — and at the person. He believes even if you don’t have all the skills a company is looking for, you still might be a good match. He prefers to find candidates who have the right personality and mentality.

“I can teach you a technical skill but I can’t teach you to be passionate and driven,” Seaman said.

Bill Seaman, 14 West technical recruiter. (Courtesy photo)

Bill Seaman, 14 West technical recruiter. (Courtesy photo)

With these hiring trends in mind, the 14 West team has learned to do its recruiting in less-conventional ways. 14 West recruiters get out into the community, attend meetups, training sessions and bootcamps, and host résumé-building and interviewing workshops. The recruiters like to actually meet people and get to know them, that way when a position comes available, of which there are typically 50 to 60 per week, they have a better chance of having just the right person for the position.

"I can teach you a technical skill but I can't teach you to be passionate and driven"
Bill Seaman, 14 West

Sometimes, however, the team meets the right person before the right job. In that case, there have been instances where a job has been created for that candidate. “We want everyone to be happy – on both ends,” said Massing. “We want the employee to be doing what they love in a company that they respect and enjoy working for. And we want the company to be confident in their employees’ abilities.”

So, what jobs are available?

Although The Agora Companies are known for publishing, there are numbers of tech jobs available — approximately 50 percent are tech jobs, Seaman estimates. Emerging tech needs range from DevOps to IT support — both locally and globally. There’s need for business analysts, project managers, coordinators, developers, quality assurance in the Java stack, .NET, open source, PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The sky is the limit.

See the job postings

Also, 14 West is sponsoring NET/WORK Baltimore. You can meet the team Feb. 23 at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. To discover which job is right for you, just bring your résumé — and personality — to the event.

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Rachel Porto

Rachel Porto is a contributor for Techincal.ly Baltimore. Her writing has been featured on The Washington Post, What to Expect, HLN, and others. Rachel's interests include gardening, parenting, cheap wine, and mac and cheese.

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