Why Boston, San Francisco, and D.C. Are Recruiting Hot Spots

Jan 25, 2016
This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.

When searching for five-star, C-suite candidates, we’ve traditionally turned to commercial hotbeds like New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago. However, more recently, the cities of San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C. have ascended the ranks to also become modern centers of excellence — packed with reputable and rising professionals who are ripe for the picking.

These three cities haven’t always been prime recruiting locations. But due to their world-class educational institutions, booming tech industries, and cultures of innovation, top students and professionals alike are flocking to these places to study and find success.

San Francisco: A Collection of Brainpower

Fifty years ago, Stanford University and University of California-Berkeley were nice, quiet schools in the Bay Area; today, they’re sitting directly in the eye of the tech storm. Both of these excellent schools have top-tier graduate programs, and a high percentage of their alumni stay in the region to develop their own careers while simultaneously investing in the city. In 2015, 60% of San Francisco’s new real estate leases were created for technology companies — and where there’s smoke, there’s fire. A large number of up-and-coming founders live in this city.

As a result, many venture capital firms have set up headquarters in the Bay Area to provide seed money and financing to these budding ventures. In fact, $11 billion in funding was provided to companies in San Francisco in 2014. So, between the startups and the big players, there’s a whole lot of impressive brainpower in the area.

Washington, D.C.: A Leadership Incubator

For better or for worse, the lines between industry and politics are blurring. On one hand, we’re seeing more and more presidential candidates coming from notable business careers, leveraging the success of their companies as proof that they are fit to lead the nation. Not everyone will agree with that, but the inverse scenario is particularly compelling for recruiters: Those who work in government for several years — participating in high-level global endeavors along the way — are inordinately valuable candidates as both operating executives and outside directors for businesses that seek leadership.


Between their enormous responsibilities and the blistering pace of global synchronization they’re constantly immersed in, modern government workers have experienced things that candidates from other backgrounds could never have dreamed of. In my opinion, their business acumen, unmatched strengths in technology, and worldliness are hard to ignore.


Politics aside, there are countless brilliant, experienced, and innovative individuals in Washington, D.C., making it a market full of leadership potential.


Boston: The Valley of the East


Boston is jam-packed with prestigious educational institutions, including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tufts University. This alone speaks volumes to its potential for housing great C-suite candidates. Much like San Francisco, a large percentage of recent graduates stay nearby to start their own ventures in this historic city.


Over the past few decades, a burst of innovation has created a tech boom along the Route 128 corridor in Boston that rivals Silicon Valley, spurring an ongoing cycle of business innovation and growth. The creation of more than 8,600 new jobs are expected in the area by 2030, which will only further the city’s ability to attract and grow some of the very best and brightest talent in the world.


There are a great number of cities across America full of C-suite talent. Really, you can’t go wrong. But thanks to their educational excellence and openness to innovation, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Boston have solidified their footing among the cream of the crop.

This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.
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