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The Review

How VanHack attracts global tech talent


Canada is in dire need of more talent, with tech vacancies poised to reach 200,000 by 2020 nationwide. If Canada doesn’t bring in more high quality talent into the national startup ecosystem, our cities won’t be positioned to grow into true tech powerhouses. According to a recent CBRE report, a lack of available tech talent is a major issue for many cities with burgeoning tech sectors.

Fortunately, VanHack, a startup headquartered in Vancouver focused on recruiting tech talent, is picking up the slack to help develop tech clusters in cities across Canada. “We bring the world’s best tech talent to you,” says Ilya Brotzky, founder and CEO. Since launching in 2015, VanHack has helped nearly 600 individuals find work in Canada, growing over one hundred percent year-over-year in the process.

But VanHack isn’t just your typical recruiting service. The company brings international tech talent to Canada. As an immigrant himself, Brotzky understands just how transformational living and working in Canada can be to a newcomer. “As an immigrant from the (former) Soviet Union, this is really personal for me,” says Brotzky. “It’s great to help other people have the experience I had.”

Focusing on helping immigrants find work in Canada is at the core of what VanHack does. In fact, the majority of VanHack’s clients comes from countries that aren’t as economically developed as Canada. In other words, VanHack is helping skilled workers come to Canada and not only improve their quality of life but contribute to impactful growth for our ecosystem.

That’s why many of VanHack’s clients are willing to relocate to smaller Canadian cities. Whereas most Canadian software developers will head to Toronto or Vancouver, VanHack brings folks to smaller cities like Kamloops, B.C. “It can be a win-win-win. Win for the company, win for the candidate, win for the city” says Brotzky. “If we bring 50-100 hires to a city, that’s 50 or 100 families that are now contributing to the local economy.”

Shaking up its approach to recruitment in new and successful ways, VanHack brought a group of 20 female senior developers from all around the world to companies based in Toronto and Waterloo as part of their new recruiting initiative “Leap.”  VanHack’s video coverage of the event showcases how it is a far more dynamic recruitment style than the typical “see job post, contact company” approach.

Creating more in-person events is a top priority for 2019 with a focus on bringing companies to tech talent, not the other way around. “We’re seeing it as a new way for international recruiting,” says Brotzky, “the next way to hire.”