I am involved in the local startup community and I am often queried about finding “the best” talent. I talk to founders, CEOs, and CTOs saying they will only hire the best development talent. Even if we described “the best” as the top 10% in a given region, there’s a lot of people fighting for this talent.

You won't hire all the best talent

It’s just not possible. The best are rarely on the job market. A few month period of someone’s life is a pretty small period of time to be able to catch someone with a public job opening. People who are good at their work normally can command pretty good job. So it’s not even easy to wave a flag around saying “come to me” because you have a better job. There are a couple things you can do to work on this.

Be Known

Having you, or your organization, known within the community is hugely important. Also being known for the type of culture you want your organization to have helps. If you are known as a place someone might be interested, if they do want to hit the market then they can come your way without having to go fishing for them. Maybe you’ll have a job opening posted and they’ll submit.

Know the Talent

The second piece is knowing who the talent is in your area. Being connected, you’re more likely to hear if they are interested in moving. As you start collecting talent, make sure they get connected as well. Know as many people as possible - maybe you’ll even find some hidden gems.

Be Ready for Them

Be prepared to sweep up talent if it’s suddenly available. You only have a couple chances, so be willing to take a chance and pick them up when they are ready. Often the timing just isn’t right. Also, have something worth their talents. Most types of applications don’t require that much highly skilled work to complete.

Bottom Line

You can’t and won’t hire all the best talent. Throwing cash at developers isn’t the only key to acquiring the right talent. Often it’s the non-salary related items that gets people interested and excited about your organization. Finding the best people requires a ton of work and investment. Make sure it’s important enough - and it’s not a difference between you and competition. They can try and hire awesome talent as well.

Travis Smith

Polyglot software craftsman. Knowledge disseminator. Awesome maker.