Tech Tuesday: Hiring Engineers

The last two posts on Tech Tuesday were both about growing your engineering organization. Someone wrote to me saying: it’s all well to talk about best practices for organizational design, but we can’t find enough qualified engineers in the first place! So today a post about hiring.

I have been able to observe many companies over the years and even in the toughest markets some have a steady flow of high quality candidates and others always seem to struggle. The main distinction between the two: companies that prioritize both hiring *and* having a great work environment are the ones that do well. Neglecting either one results in trouble with recruiting engineering talent.

Here are some Do’s in no particular order:

- Have an active internship program, ideally fed directly by professors you know or work with a group like the wonderful HackNY.

- Create opportunities for engineers to work on things they are passionate about (you can help that with internal hack days)

- Have an engineering blog and get engineers to participate in conferences

- Be present at relevant hackathons

- Hold meetups and have guest speakers at your offices

- Use in-house recruiters (start with part-time if you are small)

- Include both writing and reading of code in your evaluation of engineers

And here are some Don’ts

- Don’t set an artificially high bar for performance - you cannot build a balanced team out of “super stars” only

- Avoid puzzles, unless you use them very carefully and playfully

- Don’t hire only from one place or build a mono culture in other ways (eg all guys)

- Avoid mercenaries at all cost — only hire people who genuinely want to work at your company and on your set of problems

Would love to hear what else has worked for (or against) you in recruiting. I am sure I am forgetting a whole bunch of important ones!

Posted: 23rd April 2013Comments
Tags:  tech tuesday startup engineering hiring

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