Thursday, 22 February 2018

Running a technology company and looking for Ruby developers? Got a “really cool idea” for a startup, and all you need is a programmer? Congratulations! Join the thousands of other wannabe entrepreneurs dying for coders, even more so if you live in one of the technology hubs of the world.

Many founders mistakenly believe bonuses and bigger salaries are the key to hiring programmers. Fortunately for those without hefty investment, that isn’t the case.

Artificial intelligence system founder, Chris Dixon wrote that one of the most important things about recruiting programmers is understanding what motivates them: interesting challenges, talented coworkers with a range of knowledge, and working on projects that has impact. Money and free snacks are great, but they are further down the list of priorities.

Even if you can persuade them to join your company, the reality is that talented programmers are in high demands and competing with the Googles and Microsofts of the world makes that no easier.

In November 2016, Google announced plans to hire an additional 3,000 people in its London office over the next few years, in an effort to widen its pools of engineering talent. Coincidentally, Facebook announced plans to hire an extra 500 employees in the UK. And there goes a large chunk of the programmers in London.

But that doesn’t matter.

Many cash-strapped companies have managed to hire the tech talent they wanted, when they needed it. Every single time.

Here are the three secrets to hire by:

Target talent willing to relocate

In Contently’s core team, only one of them lived in New York (they city they started in) to begin with. The others came from Vegas and two from Philadelphia.

Usually businesses target those that live within the area as they are easy to call in for interviews. In fact, out of our hundreds of clients, the majority also work by this. However, not every talented programmer lives in Silicon Valley, New York, Amsterdam, Stockholm and the other technology hubs of the world. But many of those programmers would love to live in one.

Getting in touch with them is easier than you think. Post job descriptions in local markets and big cities with good universities but no huge technological scene. Try advertising in places where technology professionals spend their time i.e. LinkedIn and StackOverflow, specifying an interest in people willing to relocate. You should also use your networks of friends and contacts at universities, or a recruiter’s network, and offer to pay for relocation.

When you find talented potential candidates, maybe give them a temporary contract to work remotely for a few weeks, then pay for them to travel to the office for a week. This works as a trial before full commitment from either party, while creating goodwill with your future employees and reassures the candidate that relocating is the right thing for them.

The best thing about recruiting from other areas is the salary difference between inner and outer city areas. Even after factoring in increased cost of living, a pay increase is a nice reward.

Train junior developers with paired programming

If you aren’t already aware (as you should be), start-ups are incredibly conscious of the impact that their hires make on the company roadmap and workplace culture. They want A players who are motivated and autonomous.

As a result, many companies interview dozens of candidates and hire none, then complain about the lack of talent available. The person that taught themselves how to code six months ago rarely makes the cut but, if you are patient, these newly labelled developers can become the easiest talent you have ever sourced.

Josh Knowles, managing director of software shop Pivotal Labs, employs some of the most in-demand developers in New York. His development teams code in pairs similar to agile development, two programmers sharing a computer and coding together. It is not only his secret to building an army, but also how he increases productivity and reduces bugs.

Rather than searching for months for the white whale, take tiny fish and watch them grow. Take those eager, ambitious junior developers that you would normally ignore and pair them with your senior developers. In three to six months, they will start adding value, and you will be able to move them into a more autonomous role. Hire more junior developers to keep the software factory growing.

Ensure that your marketing content is top-notch

If you are really interested in finding amazing developers, you will likely have to invest time into content creation. Some important pieces to create include:

  • Compelling and clear job descriptions
  • Persuasive job ads with distinct calls to action
  • Company success stories and testimonials

Unlike previous generations who opted for music, 88% of people born after 1981 reported that humour is their no.1 form of self-expression so give your job adverts a hint of humour.  But more importantly, whether it be social media, blog posts, or job adverts, always ensure your organisational culture and values shine through in each piece.

Attend local industry events

Candidates want to put the human back in recruiting and networking at industry events is the perfect way to do that. Coders not only attend events for learning opportunities, but also with the hope of meeting new connections or even finding a better job! It is a great way to build relationships with those that are looking to move companies as well as those that are not. These types of events are also a way of meeting qualified candidates who show and interest in continuous learning and improvements, without a doubt.

Use HireLite to speed up interviews

The final option is to use sites similar to HireLite, which helps businesses find remote programmers who know their stuff. It’s essentially speed dating for a job, only it’s strictly about everything from NoSQL databases to java applications.

HireLite rarely holds sessions outside the U.S. at the moment but, when they do, it aggregates job-hunting coders and puts them in front of hirers in rapid succession via Skype. There is a pre-screening questionnaire, then 10-minute webcam interviews. It essentially allows you to hire from a distance or lure in coders from wherever you are located.

Spending the time to attract specific people is of course still important, although this tool saves time spent on scheduling appointments, making applicants sit awkwardly in your waiting room, then wasting time on pleasantries. Instead, you can get down to business with dozens on developers in an evening.

And formal trousers are optional.

Dot Net Resourcing is one of the market-leading recruitment agencies for the Microsoft technology industry in Europe. Expert search & selection and headhunting techniques has allowed this group of recruiters to find quality candidates for renowned tech organisations, as well as unique startups. 

To arrange a short call about your business' hiring requrements, contact us today.


Written by Shanon Pattenden

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