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Recruiting developer and engineer talent in a meaningful way is a pain point for entrepreneurs with growing companies and needs. We polled our managing directors to talk about their preferred methods to recruit technical talent for your startup. Below is the collective brainstorm:

DO:

  1. Be different and passionate.
  2. Get creative about what you’re offering.
  3. Provide finders’ fees and fun rewards to your network.
  4. Tap into personal networks that are unique hiring pipelines for your business.
  5. Make hires that have their own networks to help attract other top talent.
  6. Try to identify companies that are closing down to identify possible hires.
  7. Create a recruiting process.
  8. Buy doughnuts, coffee and pizza for a lot of people.
  9. Partner with other companies to share recruiting resources.
  10. ABR: Always Be Recruiting.
  11. Accentuate your cultural benefits.
  12. Talk about the types of experience you want.
  13. Show the flavor or your business. What is working with you really like?
  14. Tell potential applicants about the technology you’re using rather than writing a laundry list of ideal candidate qualities. This attracts the people that hear about your setup and think, “Yes, I can work on that,” versus self-filter because they don’t have a specific technology keyword on their resume.
  15. Talk about specific outcomes you expect.

DON’T:

  1. Be plain vanilla.
  2. Rely solely on LinkedIn; it’s a pretty cooked-over process.
  3. Skimp on salary.
  4. Hire just anyone. Never sacrifice quality to meet immediate needs.
  5. Forget to inspire engineers with the company’s big vision.
  6. Post a job and pray.

What would you add?

Clare Tischer
Social Media and Content Manager, TechStars


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  • 6020394

    Love the list. The question I always have is “what is the best way to inspire dev talent as non-technical founder?” Would love to hear from some developers who have been recruited by non technical founders.

  • 500899262

    I would add:
    – Look first for the Right Attitude and secondary for Skills. Skills can (and always do) improve/grow on the job if the right attitude is there to begin with.
    – Find out what THEY want to get out of the commitment to make sure expectations are aligned. Else it is all a waste of everyones time.
    – When it comes to motivation Daniel H. Pink nails it well in his book DRiVE outlining 3 key areas: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

  • 500899262

    I would add:
    – Look first for the Right Attitude and secondary for Skills. Skills can (and always do) improve/grow on the job if the right attitude is there to begin with.
    – Find out what THEY want to get out of the commitment to make sure expectations are aligned. Else it is all a waste of everyones time.
    – When it comes to motivation Daniel H. Pink nails it well in his book DRiVE outlining 3 key areas: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

  • 500899262

    I would add:
    – Look first for the Right Attitude and secondary for Skills. Skills can (and always do) improve/grow on the job if the right attitude is there to begin with.
    – Find out what THEY want to get out of the commitment to make sure expectations are aligned. Else it is all a waste of everyones time.
    – When it comes to motivation Daniel H. Pink nails it well in his book DRiVE outlining 3 key areas: autonomy, mastery and purpose.