“In technology, it’s about the people. Getting the best people, retaining them, nurturing a creative environment, and helping to find a way to innovate.”

Marissa Mayer, Co-Founder of Lumi Labs and Former CEO of Yahoo

With the ever-increasing number of startups, competition for high-quality engineering talent is at its peak. As a young company, you’re competing with some big names who have unlimited resources at their disposal.

Starting from a position of disadvantage, how do you go about building your team and attracting the best of best there is.

Here’s a guide that can help you structure your thought process and help you tackle this problem with a plan.

Step 1: Engage With the Talent

If you are looking for continuous and sustained growth, you need to put a sourcing process in place. Think of your recruitment as a round-the-year, on-going process. Start with building a good careers page, updating your openings regularly and leverage social media to showcase your culture.

Hiring high-quality software engineers takes time, and seldom happens on-need basis. Building a pipeline that consistently gets you applications is useful.

Connect With Passive Job Seekers

If you only investigate candidates who are actively seeking jobs, you’re missing out on a massive portion of the talent pool. According to TalentNow, 73% of candidates are passive job seekers. And 51% of these candidates would consider switching boats if they feel they are getting a great opportunity.

hiring techies passive job seekers statistics

80% of the hiring managers say that you need to be present on social media to interact with passive candidates. For instance, you must have a presence on LinkedIn where you’d update candidates regularly about available positions in your company. For software engineers, even Twitter serves as a great candidate engagement portal.

A social recruiting strategy works best when it comes to hiring passive candidates. Nearly 70% of hiring managers feel that they have been able to hire successfully by leveraging social media.

Focus On Employer Branding

It would be futile to list opportunities if you are unable to attract worthy developers for them. When making a decision on where to apply for a job, 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important.

Nearly 55% of candidates don’t apply to opportunities after reading negative reviews about the employer online. And yet only 45% of employers pay any heed to those reviews.

employer branding importance for techies

To attract skilled software engineers to your startup, you must become an attractive company. Focusing on your employer brand, thus, is imperative. Social media can help you do this. Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can serve as a “window into company culture”. More than 20% of candidates use Facebook to get a sense of company culture based on browsing photos and content on the site.

Also, consider publicizing the technology your company is working on. Creating a blog where your engineers and senior management can regularly write about things they’re working on can be a useful tool. Opportunity to work on cutting edge technology can be a big motivating factor for a lot of engineers.

The best engineering companies out there have dedicated content around their technology. Examples: 

  • Instagram Engineering– Growth journeys, case studies and stories from people who build Instagram providing insight into what software engineers do at Instagram. 
  • Facebook Engineering– Codes, techniques and discussions that build, support and sustain Facebook giving a complete behind the scenes of engineering at Facebook. 
  • Slack Engineering– Details and discussions around new features, personal experiences and more to highlight the kind of work that happens at Slack. 

Almost every major company including Reddit, Youtube, Spotify, Quora, Twitter and Netflix has an engineering blog. 

You can also add a section in the blog that talks solely about your brand. For instance, we have a Worktale section for Workship. If you don’t have the bandwidth to build a blog, you could start with “About”, “Work” and “Team” pages. These will highlight the kind of work you do, your culture, mission, and vision. 

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Step 2: Fast-Track Your Hiring

A corporate job opportunity attracts 250 resumes on an average. And top candidates stay available for 10 days before they get hired. You cannot afford to lose a worthy candidate due to process formalities. So, you need to hire quickly.

Here’s how you can fast-track your hiring.

Write Accurate Job Descriptions

Be very specific while writing job-descriptions and add extremely relevant keywords to them so that only profiles that match them accurately get filtered out.

LinkedIn has highlighted six key tips to keep in mind while writing a job description:

  • Keep it short. Shorter descriptions get 8.4% more applications per view.
  • Salary details are most important, followed by qualifications and job details. So, focus on them.
  • Company culture details are not required, save it for later.
  • Let the tone match your company culture.
  • Avoid masculine language. Use this app to check that.
  • Mondays are the most suitable for promoting opportunities.
hiring techies job description stats

Accurate job descriptions not only get more applications but also filter out candidates who do not match the requirements.

Understand Candidate’s Needs Through A Telephonic Conversation

A telephonic round is a great way to accelerate the screening process. But it has to be used effectively by the recruiters. Instead of merely matching if the candidate’s experience and skill-set match the job requirements, understanding their requirements and expectations is also important. Something we try extensively at Workship. 

Through the telephonic interview round, you should be able to figure out: 

  • Candidates understanding of the role (Clarify wherever needed- they should have clarity on the role)
  • Candidates expectations from the role and the company (In terms of growth and learning)
  • How aligned the candidate is with the role, the company, and the vision. 

Speed Up The Formalities

Another key area to optimise in your hiring is the HR function. By this, we primarily mean the formalities after you know that you have found the right candidate for the role you were offering. At this point, it is crucial to speed up the process of salary negotiation and share the offer letter with the candidate at the earliest.

During this period, it is also important to stay responsive and available at all times to keep your prospects engaged with the company. 

Step 3: Switch To Practical Interviewing

Last but not least, is to move away from the traditional interview strategy and move towards a more practical and candidate-focussed interview process. 

Most companies nowadays are shifting from the traditional, algorithm-based whiteboard interview to a practical one. In this, companies interview candidates on the skills that they’d be using on a day-to-day basis as a part of their role. This also includes interviewing the candidate on the specific tech they would be working on. 

For this, some companies ask the candidates to work with their dev team for a day (or a week) and work on actual issues/features. Some share recent problems they’ve been working on and ask the candidate to pitch in. 

Ideally, in a practical interview, the candidate should be able to work on problems that are similar to what your company works on, on a regular basis. This way you not only judge their technical capabilities but also understand how well they’d be able to collaborate with your team. 

In The End

Hiring has become candidate-driven. 86% of recruiters and 62% of leaders agree. To find and recruit the best tech talent, it’s imperative that you project your company well and optimise your recruitment processes to make onboarding easier.

Have you experimented with any of the above-mentioned points? How has your experience while recruiting engineers been? Let’s continue the discussion in the comments below.

On a side-note: if you are a high-growth technology company that’s struggling to recruit good engineers – we can help.

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