Meet the Team: James Shen
Our Meet the Team spotlight is now shining down on James Shen!
James is a Director at Benchmark IT and has been with the company since shortly after it was founded in 2007. James’ previous 20+-year stint as a senior developer and project manager in financial services comes in very handy when recruiting IT talent. He is known for his keen ability to find the right person for complex and challenging technical positions. Clients and candidates trust and respect James for his insightful counsel.
We had the opportunity to chat with James about his software development career, his start in technology staffing, what he enjoys the most about the industry, and working with Benchmark IT. Read on for more!
What got you into technology staffing?
I got into the technology staffing industry by accident after working in software development for about 25 years. I started on Wall Street, which led me to become a development manager and project manager during the .com bubble. My company was close to going public, but in the summer of 2000, when the bubble burst, we didn’t make it through the IPO. After that, I decided to go out on my own and took on IT consulting work for many years.
John Bemis and I met over 20 years ago on the tennis court in Stamford, CT. Flash forward to about 13 years ago, after a match, John told me that he was looking to expand Benchmark IT and, somehow, he convinced me to go into IT recruiting. It came out of left field, but I am so grateful that I decided to make the switch.
What do you find the most exciting about working with technology clients and candidates?
I have always been hands-on throughout my software development career. I find it exciting and gratifying to help clients and candidates with their technology requirements and recruitment needs. There’s never a dull moment in this line of work. With technology, you can always count on constant change. New technologies and trends come to market all the time.
For example, database engineering has been around forever, but in the last four to five years, data analytics and data science have come on the scene. As recently as 10 years ago, those terms didn’t even exist. So, I find it fascinating that technology is constantly evolving and changing. I’m never working on the same things, and there is always something new!
What are the most in-demand areas in technology that you recruit for? Project management, QA?
Because of my prior software development career, I tend to cover a lot of hands-on positions. I don’t tend to work too much on the BA or project management side. The most in-demand areas are software development, Cloud, database, data engineering, and data science. I relate to these positions very easily because, in my former life, I wrote programs, data scripts, reports, ETL, etc., so I understand my clients’ needs and the skill-sets of my candidates in these areas.
What about Benchmark IT makes you want to (virtually) come into work every day?
There are a variety of reasons why I love working at Benchmark IT. We have such a great team and overall culture that I think is rare. We are very direct and don’t play games. We meet all our candidates and usually get to know our clients exceptionally well.
Of course, now, during the pandemic, we can’t do our typical client visits like we used to, but fostering close relationships is still a key component of how we manage our business.
We also have very high professional integrity, which I can’t say about other firms. When I was a hiring manager, I used recruiters, but I saw some shortcuts that other recruiting firms took. Benchmark IT operates in a very different way. We are a close-knit team, and we all work well together, which is essential for our success.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
What has surprised me the most about the technology staffing industry is how exciting and fulfilling it is to match a good candidate with a good position. When you’re able to place someone, clients are grateful that you found them a good candidate, and the candidate is grateful that you found them a good job. And you get paid for it! It’s a triple win. To this day, when this happens, it is extremely gratifying.
About Benchmark IT –Technology Talent
Benchmark IT offers technology consulting, executive search, and direct hire recruitment and staffing services. We service a wide range of clients and industries throughout the metro New York area and beyond. Our proprietary recruitment process and dedication to precision, ethics, and personalized service set us apart from other recruiting firms. As a result, Benchmark IT has become a trusted partner among Fortune-ranked companies, mid-market, start-up, and growth-phase firms since 2007. For additional information, visit www.bmarkits.com.