2020 HR Report: How does a large B.C. tech firm handle a hiring spree?

VR/AR player Finger Food reveals how it attracts, and keeps, top talent

Credit: Courtesy of Finger Food Advanced Technology Group

Showcasing its work with new technologies is just one part of Finger Food’s recruiting strategy

VR/AR player Finger Food reveals how it attracts, and keeps, top talent

“Where the hell will you ski or ride this season??” read an October Facebook post by Port Coquitlam–based Finger Food Advanced Technology Group. “We have 75 open roles, but when there’s 35cm of powder, we ain’t working. Geddit?? Ski resorts all around us.”

Launched in 2009, Finger Food is expanding into Calgary and Denver, as well as locally. “Each site has a unique lifestyle that people can pick from,” says co-founder and CEO Ryan Peterson. The company, with 215 staff as of late November, interviews candidates at its B.C., Alberta and Colorado locations, but hires or those with offers get to tour all three offices and choose where to live.

Finger Food, which creates applications for virtual, augmented and mixed reality, looks for people who are passionate about what they do, want to expand their career and want interesting, challenging projects. “So our advertising campaign is not just about posting jobs,” Peterson notes. “We’re showcasing the work we’re doing, and those are the opportunities the best and brightest are looking for.”

Last year, according to commercial real estate services firm CBRE Group, Vancouver had the strongest high-tech employment growth among the sector’s 30 leading job markets in the U.S. and Canada. Given the shortage of tech talent across Canada, finding ideal candidates is a challenge, says Sarah Rideout, Finger Food’s global talent acquisition manager.

The company works with new and emerging technologies, often creating products for its corporate clients that only a few developers have exposure to, Rideout explains. Complicating the search, non-disclosure agreements prevent most potential recruits with that sort of experience from publishing it in their resumés and on LinkedIn.

Finger Food attends recruitment events like university career fairs and tech festivals, and in the latter half of 2020 it plans to host its own gatherings. “We take pride in our career page trying to show a complete picture of the FFATG life,” Rideout says. “We also share our new hires’ stories through our website and social media to spread the word. Word of mouth helps as well.”

Vancouver resident Sang Park, who joined as director of user experience in November after his previous employer went bankrupt, was recruited by Finger Food’s chief creative officer, Chris Waind. The two had worked together at a digital agency more than 15 years ago and kept in touch. Finger Food has clients looking for unique solutions, many of which touch on the cutting edge of user experience, Park says. “They’ve created a diverse range of individuals that have really interesting art, hardware and technology backgrounds. The result is an exciting place to work where there are no limits to creativity or your imagination.”

CEO Peterson believes that attracting top talent is about the work. “The big thing is meaningful work that has an impact on the world,” he says. “So ensuring that you are communicating your principles to the people that are applying is really important. People have never had so much choice where to work, so you need to put yourself out there [to convey] both what your work and what your culture’s like.”

Credit: Abacus Data and the BC Chamber of Commerce