May 26, 2022

recruit a winner Engineering teams can be intimidating, especially for start-ups and non-technical founders.

I have worked at several start-ups and established tech companies around the world and have hired over 100 engineers. There are four main problems when hiring great engineers:

  • Search.
  • Betrothal.
  • Wait.
  • Hiring.

Finding great engineers is a long topic in itself, and there is a lot of information out there on how to structure proposals, so let’s focus on recruiting and evaluating great candidates.

I’ve highlighted some specific startup tips that you can apply right away, even if you don’t have a technical background.

betrothal

You must attract the attention of good candidates. Let’s skip the basics like introductory or engaging LinkedIn and Stack Overflow ads across your network.

Complete all interviews within a maximum of two weeks. This is one of your few advantages over recruiters and reputable companies.

You are targeting the top 25% of engineers, which puts you in direct competition with the best employers in the industry. Since engineers are constantly approached by employers, they have become wary of them. This gives you immediate benefits as a founder or manager of a startup.

Think of your opening message as a presentation and make it interesting for them: talk about the scope of the problem you are solving and their impact; Tell them about the cutting edge technology you use and how they will have the freedom to shape the future of the company. Do not overdo it, but do not say that they will change one booth for another.

Most of the people you contact aren’t likely to be looking for a job, so don’t approach them with a dry, formulaic offer to apply. View their profiles, the community they belong to, their interests, skills, experience, who they follow, their GitHub profiles, and more.

Personalize your presentation accordingly and let them know why it’s right for your business and vice versa.

Wait

The wrong hiring choice can put a project on hold for months—even forever—and lead to massive technical debt. Experienced tech managers are likely familiar with tech recruiting, but non-tech founders and tech founders with no management experience need to learn two basic rules first:

  • go fasterA: Contact candidates no later than 48 hours after the interview, answer questions quickly, and complete all interviews within a maximum of two weeks. This is one of your few advantages over recruiters and reputable companies.
  • be interesting: They judge you the same way you judge them. Build on your first presentation by getting to know them better and keep selling.

You also want to answer two basic questions:

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