If a tech position sits unfilled for months, it’s the job of the CTO to ask, “What else can we be doing to make our company a destination for top talent?” Simply put, four key strategies they use are:
1. Hack It. Developers want to work for companies where they can create new code and have an immediate impact. Facebook made hacking famous, but tech companies have been using internal hack competitions to attract and retain talent for years. Yelp spotlights its hack day on its “Careers” page, as does CareerBuilder on its YouTube channel. ESPN promoted its hackathon on Front Row.
2. Pool It. The majority of employers compete individually for talent, with little budget to make the impact needed to build a reputation as an employer of choice. It’s a financial stretch for many small or mid-sized companies to fund recruiting campaigns to fill just two or three open positions. The Austin Technology Council is starting a program where a group of eight companies will each pay a reasonable sum to hire a contract recruiter to tour major universities, represent the companies, and develop a list of 100 top prospects.
3. Prove it. Never underestimate the power of culture. Top three factors influencing their interest in a job were 1) creative and challenging work, 2) fit with the culture/environment, and 3) opportunity to make an impact. Developing a clear answer to “What’s in it for me?” can mitigate a candidate’s desire for the top salary, if you’re not paying above market.
4. Train it. If you’re taking 4-6 months to hire a web developer – one of the hottest jobs in the country – consider a different option. Try retraining an existing non-tech employee or hire and train someone unemployed for the in-demand skill set.