When it comes to identifying and attracting qualified employees, the first thing you have to do is to face a harsh truth: recruiting top-notch tech talent is hard.
In America, there’s a large (and growing) gap between the number of qualified candidates and the number of open positions for software engineers. Salaries continue to rise, but talented people are also looking for more than just a high salary. They want satisfying work, strong mentors, growth opportunities and a genuine mission.
Satellite was built to help companies solve the technology talent war, and we’re experts at recruiting, interviewing and landing the top developers in the world. To help you find top engineers and win them over, we’ve listed six of our tried-and-true recruiting tips that work well for companies of all sizes.
The fight for talent is real for companies of all sizes, ranging from startups to the Fortune 500. People are eager to work for businesses with a clearly defined purpose, and building a strong brand image is extremely important for startups as they have to compete with tech giants with deeper pockets.
Take your time and focus on your image and culture by creating and sharing quality content. It can be thought leadership (on Medium, Substack, etc.), open-source libraries, a meetup, hackathons, or anything else that can capture software engineers’ attention and help them understand your mission. Attending other companies’ public events and hackathons is another opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on.
The goal is to attract people who are interested in your industry, idea or product and, even more important, who believe in YOU. You’ll never have enough time to make everyone an expert in your field, but there’s always an opportunity to leave people with the impression: “I would love to work with her/him.”A positive brand image sinks deep into the mind and works great for both potential and current employees, not to mention clients.
Prospecting for candidates, performing initial screening and technical interviews is a time-consuming and expensive process. It’s important to answer the following basic questions before you begin:
The common mistake here is not having a clear understanding of how many people should be involved in interviewing and what they need to ask. For instance, there is a “sponge” approach when you have multiple employees shooting questions at the candidate over several meetings. While it’s great that you can collect many opinions, the absence of a systematic approach can result in false impressions. To avoid confusion, set up clear expectations for the position, then select the interviewers who can evaluate both the hard and soft skills of candidates. The best interviewer is often the person who will work with your candidate directly in the future. Go through their questions and then get the feedback as soon as the interview is over.
It’s also important to remember that, while you’re interviewing the candidate, they’re interviewing you as well. This is often more subtle, but they’re trying to understand if this is a company they would enjoy working for, what they will be able to learn from the senior team members and what their opportunities will be. We suggest incorporating that into your process based on the type of person you’re looking for (for example, for a highly technical role, focus on highly technical interviews with very strong engineers, rather than high-level business questions).
As we alluded to above, it’s also important to think about possible growth opportunities for the position and being honest with candidates about them. Recruiting isn’t only about finding the right person, after all, it’s also about convincing them to join your team.
The world of software development is very dynamic and so are the best software engineers. With new technologies showing up frequently, software engineers are eager to acquire new skills and build interesting products. The difficult truth is that most engineers will be paid a similar amount to work on a boring project as an innovative new system (and they understand that), so it’s critical that you create interesting work if you want to hire the top talent. To the extent that you can position yourself as a tech company, rather than just hiring for the “company’s IT team”, you’ll find that more talented staff will be willing to join (good examples of this positioning include WeWork and Tesla, both of which operate in traditional industries but act and recruit like IT companies!). Encouraging developers to learn something new and investing in training are also good ways to attract and motivate engineering talent. The best engineers won’t work somewhere where they feel they aren’t learning. One common reason for a talented developer to leave is the absence of challenging work and learning opportunities.
Inspire your potential hires with new prospects for professional growth. Identify their strengths and play to them. A proactive software engineer can be interested in taking the next career step as a software architect or engineering manager. If you make it clear during the interview that these opportunities exist, you’re much more likely to leave a favorable impression.
In terms of recruiting channels, posting a job on LinkedIn and other recruitment platforms is essential but not enough. Only active job seekers look at job postings, and the best talent, as a general rule, is already taken. Make sure to get in front of developers through advertising your job posts, working through your network and reaching out directly. It takes a lot of time but it’s also the best way to attract the best talent.
To get more attention, make sure that your job posting sounds personal. Introducing the company’s vision in a job description will help you stand out from other employers. However, try not to get carried away. Roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined.
When we look at a pile of resumes, we are often focused on finding flaws instead of strong points. In other words, we are looking for a reason to reject a potential hire. This results in recruiters picking the most polished resume and risking ending up with candidates that are good on paper only.
This mindset needs to be changed. It stops you from finding a talent that’s good not only on paper. Give people a chance. For instance, odd jobs on your candidate’s CV may be a sign that this person is hard-working and striving for more.
Thinking globally as opposed to locally is another thing to consider. If you stop treating geography as an obstacle, you’ll gain an advantage in the talent war by accessing a much larger pool of world-class professionals.
For instance, Belarus has become one of the best hubs for engineering talent because of the excellent combination of high quality, lower cost and strong culture fit with US and European companies. Building an offshore team of experienced software developers here is much cheaper than establishing an engineering center in the United States. For example, Satellite builds dedicated software development teams of highly-talented developers, for ~70% lower cost that in-house hiring. We’re a new type of outsourcing company that is people-first to ensure we recruit and retain the top developers, so that we can work with companies like yours to develop innovative products. You can find more information about how we build dedicated teams here.
Building a passionate and qualified team is challenging. However, a well-balanced recruitment strategy, promotion of your company’s brand, valid interview process and a global approach to hiring can give you everything you need to get the best people on your team.
Develop and scale your amazing software product with Satellite. We help you build a dedicated development team that works as a natural extension of your company.