Hiring developers is a whole chapter and probably the largest chapter from a recruiting perspective. I’m going to break it down into parts and at least start covering some base points to which you can start from.
1) sourcing developers – Sourcing techniques; internet, database, meetup sites, meetups/hackathons , social media – including linkedin recruiter, company website, from job postings
2) Job descriptions – what and what not to put
3) recruiting developers – hiring and retention, keeping the talent interested in your company first
4) talking to developers – the initial phone screen, what if you’re not a developer
1. Sourcing Developers
Create a strategy first – don’t shotgun it, advertise everywhere, all over linkedin, don’t go posting it on the ruby meetup site and hope for the best!
If you are starting from scratch ie this is your first bunch of hires for the initial engineering team, I am not going to lie, i am not going to sell you the secret to hiring developers because there isn’t a secret formula. There’s a huge amount of work you need to do to get this first team in place especially if you do not have an engineering network. I thought i’d start from this point – how do you become your company’s best engineering recruiter?
The first thing I would do if being asked to look for a team of developers is to make sure everybody is clear on the timing for this, set realistic expectations, if this is your first round of official hires and you don’t get a lot of inbound resumes the process will probably take from 4-6 months
Talk to the developers you already have – talk to the model developer employee there’s always one! Go get them coffee/lunch and get their feedback and opinion on who should be hired, what skills do they think are important, get help with terminology and some basic screening questions, how did they get hired, how did they find their current job, where else were they looking, why did they choose this start up, get a feel of personality type that will fit the team, ask their opinion on the best internet sources for finding active developers working on peer projects on google projects or github. Look up your own developers, where do you see their internet presence. Finally having a say into who joins the new team is a huge factor and is also a critical one. Its actually better to have less skills and a better work personality than be toxic and have awesome coding skills – the latter can have bad consequences and put projects back by months, have people leaving and you starting to hire a new team again! Get them on board and ask them to share the position on their social media and other sites, presuming you have little budget to incentivize, starbucks gift cards can go a long way, your own developers inhouse see you making a real effort in getting the right team especially when you’ve made the effort to include them – internal referrals are the quickest and the best way to hire your team.
If your startup is VC backed, talk to you CEO about resources your VC might have to aid you in hiring your team. Many VC’s already have a talent acquisition director who will outline a strategic hiring plan and plop in an engineering recruiter to execute the plan. Your competition are these ex google, ex facebook engineering recruiters with solid networks – but it doesn’t take long to get there with a lot of focus. When you talk to your CEO/founder ask if they are aware if their funding company has any resources with respect to hiring, ie maybe there is a board member or advisor who specializes in hiring and recruitment. If you are the founder or CEO talk to your backing companies about hiring strategy and execution, not only do they have access to business and other resources to grow your startup but will also have access to resources on hiring. (this is actually what i do and there are a few of us floating about Silicon Valley)
Your company may already be working with a consulting company such as Carbon5. If you have a consulting team that you are working side by side with you can do the same thing here, try and get as much info as possible, find out about their career paths, how they landed their job – was it through referrals, a specific site, where they would recommend you hire people from. Get the developers perspective, so that you start to think like a developer and how they look for their next career move. Remember you are highly unlikely to be able to hire these crucial employees through any jobsites, even linkedin recruiter is unlikely to yield good response rates in the current climate.
This is where having a research background can really help, you are getting as much info as you possibly need to put a concrete strategy in place.
Now you are armed with the following: Where your current developers came from, what sites they are active on, links with their developer buddies with similar skills, job sites they would actually use, sneaky ways to find developers on the internet that the manual didn’t tell you about!
Now go cost this out, github and stackoverflow charge to post, linkedin recruiter cost a few hundred dollars per month, what is your company doing with twitter – leverage what you have for getting postings out there, have your internal team send it out to their social networks. Work out how much time it will take to do each part of the research process, this will give you a rough idea on how long it will take you to start seeing applicants either through referrals or through responses and a rough time for how long it will take you to hire your first team member.
As soon as you get a name, email and phone number call immediately!!! i cant stress enough, you could put off a call by a couple of days and another company already interviewed them and made an offer.
There are many sourcing strategies that can spawn off what I have discussed – if you are looking for more in depth steps on internet sourcing, fill in the contact form below and i’ll send you a sourcing for developers guide(cheat sheet!)
Getting the names is only the start, advertising your position correctly is another step in sourcing and must be done correctly to produce the highest inbound resumes received, and is the subject of the next blog.
Feel free to ask me any recruiting challenges you are facing and if you want some info on a specific sourcing technique I am happy to send you material to help. email@example.com or call 510 239 7829
Connect with me on linkedin www.linkedin.com/pub/ruby-bhattacharya/1/655/818/ follow my tweets @rubybhattachary