‘It’s a Sign of The Times! People Are Hiring Again!’

The second annual NYC Startup Job Fair packed AOL’s offices in downtown Manhattan on Friday. Young engineers, salespeople, programmers and others—all of whom came bearing résumés—filled the place to the brim. “It’s a sign of the times! People are hiring again!” one attendee could be heard saying.

Tech startups are certainly experiencing growth. As one representative from GILT Groupe, a New York-based online retailer, put it, “We’re growing exponentially, man! It’s fucking crazy!”

Diana Horn, an organizer of the event, told Adweek that 60 companies applied for a booth at last year’s fair. This year, they received 120 applications. Due to space, the event was only allowed to accept a third of the applicants, which paid $200 a pop for a table.

Any indication of job growth is a welcome sign, but after you win your hard-earned face time with someone on the other side of a shwag-covered table, you’re reminded that tech startups are, almost by definition, always hiring.

“I’ve been in the startup business for a long time,” said John Pavley, the vice president of engineering at Spotify, a music streaming service that’s big in Europe and whose arrival in the States has been hotly anticipated. “Let me tell you something: I could never hire enough people.” When the last startup he worked for folded, he said, “every one of my employees had six job offers—that’s just the nature of the business.”

Jesse Ma, a legal associate manning the Gawker Media table, agreed: “If you’re a startup, you hire people. I mean, that’s what happens.”

“The tech industry is not being impacted like other sectors,” Horn said, adding that the ratio of companies to job seekers was probably the same as in 2010.

Preference for tables was given based on how many positions a company was offering, though Horn admitted that AOL-related companies like MoviePass were given preferential treatment, as were companies associated with NYU Venture Community and Columbia Venture Community, who were co-presenters.

Naturally, there were more applicants than openings, but some companies were really fighting for attention. Where they fell on Crain’s list of best places to work was a major selling point. And even though ZocDoc, an online service for booking doctor and dentist appointments, was No. 1, its recruiters still went to the trouble of dressing up in nurse outfits.