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3 Things That Help You Attract Great Engineers To Your Company

August 9, 2012 at 3:13 AM Jon Bischke

The press is full of stories about how Google or Facebook are throwing huge salaries or incredible perks at potential hires. This is seen mostly among technical positions. As a company that isn't Google or Facebook, what can you do to attract the best and brightest to come work for you? While you certainly have some likely disadvantages including fewer resources and a less well-known brand, there are some things that you can to compete very well in today's hiring environment.

We speak with hundreds of recruiters and engineers on a monthly basis and here are three things we've seen mentioned recently that will give you advantages when trying to hire great engineers and other individuals with technical skills:

Working on the latest technologies - Engineers, perhaps more than almost any other profession, have to live with the fact that whatever is being demanded of them today skill-wise is likely to change 5 to 10 years from now, perhaps even sooner. Often, early-stage companies will choose to implement a newer technology (e.g., Node.js or Scala) because if they are one of the few companies pushing those technologies to production, it will be easier for them to attract engineers who want to work on that technology. This can be a huge competitive advantage recruiting-wise relative to big companies which are rarely using the latest technologies.

Contributing to open source - As has been said before, Github is the new resume for engineers. Being able to work on open source technology and getting paid to do so by your employer is the best of both worlds. There's the feel-good side of contributing to open source as well that's important. We know of a number of companies that feel that their encouragement of open source has been the leading factor in allowing them to attract top-quality engineers.

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Working conditions - This is less of the "I get free sodas at work" or "We have Whiskey Thursdays" and more of the "I don't have to deal with stupid bullshit at work" kind of thing. It's annoying to an engineer to be told they have to deal with a bureaucratic policy or finding out they can't occasionally bang out some code from home or a coffee shop. The best companies we've seen create an environment that allows their engineers to be 100%-focused on the task at hand and remove all of the other obstacles for them.

There are dozens of other things but these three tend to come up more frequently these days and don't necessarily require you to break the bank when trying to find great people to join your company. Feel free to contribute additional suggestions in the comments.