Hiring Frenzy for Microsoft Vancouver

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-08-27

In the seven weeks since Microsoft announced that it intended to open a software development center in Vancouver, British Columbia, which it hoped would "be home to software developers from around the world," it may have gotten more than it bargained for.

In short, wrote Jenna Adorno, technical recruiter for MSN, on Microsoft's JobsBlog on Aug. 22, "Vancouver has worn me out."

Since Adorno first announced the facility July 9, she wrote, she has been "swallowed up by the endless offers and questions around employment at the Microsoft Vancouver Development Centre," which was built to address international workers affected by an inability to obtain a U.S. H-1B visa that would have enabled them to work out of the company's Redmond, Wash., headquarters.

Vancouver was chosen not only for its proximity to Redmond (less than 150 miles) and Canada's significantly fewer hurdles than the United States when it comes to hiring skilled foreign workers.

On July 12, Adorno implored international workers who had accepted a Microsoft offer but had not received an H-1B visa to contact her directly about a potential relocation to Vancouver, should the involved managers be okay with such an arrangement. The Vancouver location was expected to be made up of different employees on different teams that all had counterparts in Redmond. Microsoft assured rejected H-1Bs that there would be space for all of them in Canada, rolling out "new," comparable offers in late July and early August with start dates between September and November.

However, Microsoft hit a classic "remote work" wrinkle--that some roles function more favorably remotely than others. Software designers and developers would be more than welcome in Vancouver while project managers, media specialists and other roles would not.

Microsoft reported Aug. 22 that nearly every software designer and developer who was affected by the H-1B cap had been placed in a job in Vancouver, with start dates in waves over the next three months. The company boasted that it had conceived of this international office and had it in operation in less than six months.

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