When it comes to hiring the right talent, some startups excel at attracting and closing great engineers, while others run into trouble in this area. If you find yourself falling into the latter category, don’t fret–our recruiters are here to help with some advice.
Our team specializes in the technology sector (specifically within emerging markets), so we understand what it takes for startups to land in-demand engineers. We do it every day and we put together the following tips to help you get those positions filled.
Have a good understanding of where your company stands–and hire accordingly
Most startups can’t compete with the compensation packages from–or the reputations of–companies like NetFlix, Google and Facebook. The good news is that most engineers understand this. Great engineers with degrees from the likes of MIT, Stanford and Berkeley will come to the startup world for the challenge, collaboration and impact. If you’re one of 10,000 engineers at a huge company, moving to a smaller team of ten where you can provide input on architectural decisions and strategy can have huge appeal.
Having a greater impact on the product and decision-making are recurring themes amongst candidates we talk to. A company’s mission, DNA and culture are also a big draw. Recognize this and really sell these aspects of your company during the interview process. And don’t forget equity. Having a piece of the pie for a promising company is a big attraction for many.
Court every candidate–even if they might not be the right fit right now
Inviting someone to interview is just that – an invitation. It’s the same as inviting someone to your home. If people are friendly and candidates have a good experience, they’ll remember that and become a brand ambassador even if they don’t get hired.
A company should always provide VIP treatment, especially to those engineers that don’t make it through the interview process. Remember how powerful word of mouth is, and that people are much more likely to be vocal about negative experiences. Understand that the hiring process also reflects a company’s culture in general. A painful interview process is a red flag to a candidate that it may not be the ideal environment for them.
Be aware of the importance of work-life balance–especially for more experienced candidates
For the most part, companies now recognize that mandating a 50+ hour work week is not acceptable to most candidates, but this point bears mentioning. There’s a dearth of engineering talent, so engineers have more options and choices than ever before. Candidates are usually turned off by brutal environments.
People have lives, friends, hobbies, children and a million things going on other besides work. While employees should be invested deeply in a company’s success, they can’t be expected to spend every waking moment working. Startups that value work-life balance will attract the most people.
Don’t drag out the hiring process–you will lose a great candidate to a competitor
One of our recruiters has a great saying related to this: time kills all deals. The longer the hiring process takes, the less likely you are to successfully land a great candidate. Talented people typically don’t stay on the market for long. Process duration is somewhat dependent on the level of the role–we’ve seen it take anywhere from less than a week to more than three months.
However, if a company really knows what they need, a solid candidate should be able to make it from first contact to offer in about two weeks, provided there aren’t scheduling conflicts that delay interviews.