Mark Zuckerberg Heading North for Sold-Out Developer Q&A at Facebook Seattle Office

6/28/11Follow @curtwoodward

If this counts as a recruiting stunt, it’s the best one yet.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is heading north for a Wednesday visit to the social networking behemoth’s Seattle office, its first outside of California. Word comes from Seattle office lead Ari Steinberg, who says in an e-mail to Seattle-area techies that Zuckerberg and Facebook engineering VP Mike Schroepfer are heading to the Emerald City for “a Q&A with Seattle-area developers” at the downtown office.

Facebook Seattle opened last August, and at last report had about 40 people working on projects like mobile and chat. When I checked in with Steinberg earlier this year, he indicated the Seattle office’s scope was probably going to depend on the kind of talent they could hire, with the possibility that entire project teams could be based there if it makes sense.

When Xconomy’s Greg Huang talked with Schroepfer last year about the qualities they were looking for in Seattle area employees, he said they had to be “extraordinarily entrepreneurial.” Some of the company’s first engineers were former Microsofties, and Facebook also has brought on locals like Hadi Partovi and Peter Wilson to help build the office. Current openings on the Facebook job board for Seattle include engineering spots in ads and desktop software—an interesting category for a Web company.

Facebook is just one of a growing list of San Francisco Bay Area tech companies that have set up beachheads in the Seattle area hoping to find talented coders, particularly among the ranks of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) employees. It’s part of an overall hiring crunch in the tech industry, which sees companies grow so quickly that they can have trouble keeping the pipeline of top-notch candidates full.

Unsurprisingly, the free tickets to Zuckerberg’s appearance were sold out in about 20 minutes. No word on whether there’s a public (or explicitly private) portion to the remarks, but Facebook tech talks in the past have been available on video. I’m not sure if this qualifies as the same kind of thing as a run-of-the-mill update on new features, though.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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