What Engineers Truly Want Isn’t in the Break Room

February 4, 2014 at 10:00 PM by Jordan Taylor

google-is-tops-for-software-engineer-salaries-report--ed0a43187bThe competition for software engineers is intense. And why shouldn't it be? Brilliant and engaged engineers form the backbone of your company. If you want to hire the best engineers on the market you need to focus on what they want. Many companies try to tempt talent with extravagant work perks--gourmet meals, outlandish game rooms, unlimited vacation, napping stations, fitness classes, recording studios and many more bonuses.

While this approach has its virtues, you don’t want to lose sight of enticing engineers by appealing to the very nature of their profession. You have to understand the fascinating mind it takes to engage in their field of work, and speak to their values.

Outside of the “win them with luxury” approach, is a more engineer-centric approach that focuses on their irreducible desire to solve problems and create innovative technology that’s valued across the world.

In order to get the engineering culture right—offer them a work environment that places an emphasis on three key areas: work values; job rewards; and job satisfaction.

Work Values

It sounds a bit paradoxical, but engineers are both fiercely independent and intensely collaborative. These dual traits can thrive in an egalitarian environment where hierarchy is replaced with group decision-making. Engineers are creative problem-solvers and they’ll flourish when they have the freedom to explore challenges from the perspective of innovation.

Displaying how your organization removes barriers and encourages proactive work exemplifies the impression that your company cares more about substance and development than adhering to established processes.

Substance comes in the form of tracking and solving unique problems. Demonstrate to them the variety of challenges you have, and how you’ll provide them with the latest tools to craft solutions. Perhaps the biggest selling point is reminding them they won’t be alone in this process; discussing the highly skilled colleagues they’ll potentially work with taps into their deepest appreciation of responsibility through collaboration.

Job Rewards

Software engineers are eager for growth. An appetite for ambition leaves many of them yearning to get ahead. Whether you’re crafting a job ad, reaching out with an email or phone call, or speaking face-to-face in an interview—you need to transparently show them opportunities for advancement.

Make sure to outline how other employees utilized an assortment of avenues for professional development within your company. Since no engineer is exactly the same, ask them about their larger goals and how they envision achieving them.

Job Satisfaction

As with most people involved in science and technology, engineers are dreamers. They want to make a difference in the world so you need to paint a detailed portrait of how your company helps them achieve this. Don’t waste time on appearance, talk nitty-gritty function with them. Get to the heart of the issue—utility and opportunity.

The Bottom Line

Focusing on what engineers want isn’t easy—but the more you invest in the process the higher your returns. Walk in their shoes from all standpoints: value, rewards, and satisfaction. Show them how well you know their intuitions, experiences, and needs. Give them the freedom to walk between worlds; work with similar minded colleagues; and take a chance on solving some of the toughest problems in their discipline.

Learn more about our integration with Jobvite!