Red Hat focuses on talent, not geography

dranii@newsobserver.comNovember 28, 2013 

Adam McCormick of Red Hat talks with Romica Juneja about the company’s openings this past spring at Wake Tech. This year, the company is on track to add 600 to 800 employees worldwide.

SARAH BARR — sbarr@newsobsever.com

— Red Hat’s top corporate recruiter says that the business software company’s focus on recruiting top talent has pushed it to be accommodating about where key new hires want to work.

“We take the talent where we find it,” said DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer. “For critical roles that are hard to find, we are very flexible.”

For example, the company is seeking a vice president of training and advertising that the person can choose to be based at its Raleigh headquarters, in Westford, Mass., or in Mountain View, Calif. The company has 70 offices in more than 30 countries.

“We need a person who can do the job,” Alexander said. “What that person desires is important to us.”

Roughly one-fourth of the company’s more than 5,900 employees work remotely.

“We call them remotees,” Alexander said.

Robust revenue growth

Red Hat’s open-source software is free, but the company makes money by charging for maintenance and support, and for services such as training and consulting. More than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Red Hat software.

In recent years, Red Hat’s robust revenue growth has allowed it to boost its workforce in the neighborhood of 13 percent to 15 percent a year. This year, the company is on track to add 600 to 800 employees worldwide.

Adding that many new hires, on top of replacing workers who exit the company for one reason or another, is a daunting task.

“There is absolutely a talent squeeze in the high-tech world,” Alexander said. “Around the globe, there are a lot of companies looking for the same talent – and the talent pool is quite small globally.”

Downtown location a lure

When Alexander joined Red Hat in the summer of 2001, the company had one recruiter. Today it employs more than 50.

In June, Red Hat completed the relocation of its headquarters from N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus to a 19-story building in downtown Raleigh. More than 900 employees now work out of its headquarters.

Being in a downtown that is on the upswing “has been a real boost” to the company’s local recruiting efforts, Alexander said.

Ranii: 919-829-4877

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