Tips for finding and recruiting the tech candidates you want
We all know finding great tech talent is a challenge, whether it’s software engineers, data scientists, or DevOps. The task becomes even harder for startup companies. There is no track record of success, no brand, and no guarantees of a reliable income. So, how can a startup compete? What can they offer that will attract the right talent and then keep them?
1. Create the right culture from the ground up
If you read a lot of blogs on the topic of finding and hiring great talent – of any kind – you have probably seen the words “company culture” a lot. Culture is the thing that defines what your company is about; its values, its goals, and its structure. Every company needs to develop its own culture. According to Forbes.com it’s about “…cultivating an atmosphere that makes your employees happy to come to work.” Tech talent wants to be challenged, they want a fun and engaging environment, and they also want to know there will be opportunities for career growth.
The great thing about a startup is that you have the ability to establish the company culture from Day 1. There is no struggle with the old, “that’s not how we do things around here.”
2. Create an employer brand
This goes hand in hand with creating a company culture. A strong employer brand can actually make the best talent come to you. According to Forbes.com a brand means “…having a reputation as a good place to work and providing value to your employees rather than only asking for value from them.”
Your brand then needs to live everywhere, from internal sources like memos, emails, and company communications to online mediums such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and sites that cater to the tech community, as well as establishing connections through networking events and conferences in your area. You also need to make sure that job postings reflect the company brand. Create a killer “Careers” page on your website that doesn’t just include bullet points with required skills, but really lets prospective candidates understand what the company is about.
3. Find a way to stand out from the crowd
Let’s face it: in today’s economy there are a lot of startups. Entrepreneurship is rising, and everyone wants to be the cool new kid on the block. Plus, you’re competing with established companies who are also vying for the same talent. Start a blog that talks about the company, your team members, and the office. Also, make sure you develop an “About Us” section that really does emphasize what your company is about, what you believe, and why candidates should want to work for you.
4. Universities are your friends
Connecting with colleges is one of the most important things you can do. It’s a great way to find fresh, new talent that won’t have to be retrained. Establish ties with top universities that have a reputation for turning out the best tech talent, develop an ongoing recruitment program, offer internships, and build your brand on these campuses so that students begin to recognize your company.
5. Offer equity in the company…and maybe a little more
Offering equity is a frequently used tactic for many startups. It’s a good way to compensate for the lack of stability that can be offered at a more established company. Venture-backed startups generally offer 10% – 20% of the total shares, but don’t stop with a monetary amount. According to Inc.com “…allow your talent to truly invest in your product or service. The best employees are happy to pitch in with labor, but they really want a hand in strategy. Recruit talent by giving them something big: a new product development, a design reboot or even a management opportunity.”
6. Take advantage of niche talent sources
Some top tech talent may be wary of taking a chance on a startup, but others might relish the challenge and opportunity to build something new. Seek out niche job sites that cater to the startup community, such as Angel List and SkillGigs. According to Social-Hire.com, “Angel Lists cater specifically to startups…The candidates who subscribe to and/or browse these boards are interested in (or at least open to) the idea of working for a startup, making them your target audience…SkillGigs is for startups looking for skilled developers…it allows users to use 3-D resume technology to provide employers with a complete picture of their skills, skill distribution, professional interests, relocation requirements, career desires and salary requirements.”
7. Look within to find great talent
Finally, don’t forget to tap your own resources…meaning the top tech talent you already have in place. Chances are current employees know other talented techs. Maybe they went to school with an amazing software engineer or worked with a developer who made them jealous. Get recommendations for prospective hires. You can even offer incentives if a current employee makes a recommendation that leads to an offer.
Follow these 7 tips to help you attract top tech talent for your startup. Consultis has been providing the necessary tools to help match companies with top IT talent for 33 years, and can make the job easier. To see how we can help you, connect with one our consultants today.