I’ve started reading resumes from the bottom up.
What does this mean? It means I’m looking for passion. It means I’m looking for interest. It means I look for people who do electronics for fun. It means that classroom experience–while important–is not getting you the job. In fact, quite the opposite. If you’re spending all of your time in the classroom, how useful are you? Yes, understanding the basics are important. But if you’re going to quote me an equation you learned instead of going out and soldering and desoldering components to a board, how will I know that you’re a legit worker that is willing to get their hands dirty? (solder-y?)
Thanks to the global economy, no job is secure anymore. OK, we can handle that. But in an increasingly independent work force, we’ll see more contract work and less (yes, even less than current levels) loyalty to corporations. As such, the recruiting (and hopeful retention) of talent will become one of the most important jobs. Innovation will now be negotiated for and fought for instead of attempting to induce it in a laboratory setting. The risk takers will be encouraged to continue to take risks once they are plucked from their garages and basements.
I believe hackerspaces will be the new recruiting grounds. We’ve already seen people that are targeting them for sales (chips, discretes, software) because the projects that are made often are spectacular advertisement; the open source hardware people develop in these collaborative workspaces often become platforms to seed many other projects as well. In the future, we’ll also see recruiters hanging around hackerspaces looking to pluck talent before the person realizes they’re not just working on an Arduino for fun, they also have a future as an embedded system. You just wait, it’ll happen. For at least one person interviewing potential candidates, it already is.