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Startup Recruiting Woes Benefit Big Tech

After spending her entire career at tech startups, Jennifer Maiorana took a sabbatical during much of last year. When the 34-year-old returned, the outlook for private tech companies had changed.

She considered re-joining Dstillery, an ad tech company where she had worked in sales, but the public markets foreshadowed a bumpy road ahead for independent ad tech firms. In November, expecting her first child and looking for stability, she joined LinkedIn, an established company with good salary, benefits and a relatively steady revenue stream.

Private tech companies have used cheap money and out-of-sight valuations to lure the industry’s most desirable employees in recent years. They promised future riches in the form of stock options and pointed to the millionaire employees of Facebook and Twitter as a reason for optimism. Now, many of those companies, such as Instacart, are finding it more difficult to convince prospects that they're joining rocket ships, not jalopies.

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“Folks are realizing some of these companies aren’t ever going to have the exits they were expecting,” says Ed Zschau, a tech industry recruiter.