Startup Visions

Experiences of a bi-coastal entrepreneur

How Not to Attract Software Engineers

Over the past couple years, I’ve dedicated my entrepreneurial experience and energy to explore and test new, innovative ways to recruit software engineers. In my personal experience as both an engineer and entrepreneur, I’ve learned first hand the tremendous value of working with the smartest people you’re able to attract to your business.

Note that I said ‘attract,’ not chase, hunt, convince or sell.

I’ve discovered that the best companies have learned the secret to building the best teams - they have learned how to establish themselves as powerful talent magnets that attract the right types of people, and make these candidates want to join their company. And now, more than ever, with the market for enginering talent being absolutely out of kilter, I been much more active in making the argument that companies that don’t know, or quickly learn how to apply this skill to hiring engineering talent simply will not survive.

Sometimes the success of a company’s ability to hire engineers is tied to, or timed with, the growth of their consumer, or overall business, brand. But this largely seems a happy accident in most cases that I’m familiar with. That said, there is another class of companies, like Etsy, that has slowly and carefully crafted an engineering brand that has become a true powerhouse, bringing with it an uncanny ability to draw the best engineering talent almost seemingly out of the woodwork.

I should also note that during this time, we’ve been building g33ktalk (an international community for software engineers). Through the learning that has come from building our own platform, and in working with CTOs spread all the way from NYC to SF, we’ve disovered what matters most to engineers as they’re looking for new opportunities. Most importantly, we’ve learned how smart companies can capitalize on these insights to attract better engineers themselves.

But first, here are some things engineers don’t care about:

Engineers don’t care about your job postings

Engineers don’t care about pretty pictures of your office

Engineers don’t care about social media, and some of the best developers aren’t even on LinkedIn or Facebook

So what do they care about?

1.) Engineers care about hard technical challenges

2.) Engineers care about working with super-smart people

3.) Engineers care about an open-source culture

4.) Engineers care about being seen as being smart themselves

Each of these points could be elaborated on in individual posts of their own. If you’d like to learn how your company can take advantage of these insights to attract top engineers, stick around and I’ll answer this question in future posts on the topic.