Tips for hiring best tier 2 (technical) talent?

New lomie
Aug 18, 2018 31 Comments

*edit* based on feedback (thanks) clarifying we are NOT looking for top 1% of devs in the world, but strong tier 2 / talented up-and-coming younger devs.



Howdy -

I’m now leading talent acquisition for an under-the-radar bootstrapped startup and have a few hires to make. I’m non technical and would like to better understand how to find / build relationships with top engineers.

What are the do’s/don’ts in your experience with being approached for a role? Any niche communities to hang out in online? Short term tactics vs long term strategy? Would appreciate hearing any feedback.

Context - business intelligence niche. It’s basically a “swat” team from all around the world of some of the best specialists in the space. We work directly with the c-suite of F500’s. So, bar is set high and very selective. Looking for 1) full-stack web dev (2-3 YOE) 2) mid level java dev for IAM role and 3) technically- minded Change Management specialist from 5-7 YOE.

Mostly remote, super flexible. Incredible network. Solving unique problems using (often creating) best tech in the space.

Ps you’d like the know more would love to chat. There’s also a referral fee if you know someone.

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TOP 31 Comments
  • Cisco / Eng TechLeadd
    Why is your startup having a non technical person recruit technical talent this early in the company?

    You sound like a team of 40yo trying to sound hip and cool but have no clue what they’re doing
    Aug 18, 2018 4
    • New lomie
      OP
      I assure you we’re neither cool nor hip (nor am I 40). We’re a small team and are swamped with clients from referrals. They recently brought me on as the first non-tech hire to focus on building. I’m taking on everything else. My background is in sales/marketing, and taking on the initial stages of filling the funnel for talent, then passing along for technical interviews. It’s not perfect, but it’s startup life.
      Aug 18, 2018
    • Cisco / Eng TechLeadd
      Engineers will want to know why they should quit their cushy corporate job for a risky startup so a sales person talking to them and trying to get them to join is a bad bad bad idea. We automatically will be put off if you do that. You have to have us talk to your technical founder as first point of contact so we know what the problem being solved is and the technical leadership we’ll be under.
      Aug 18, 2018
    • New lomie
      OP
      Word, thank you. That is indeed the exact process. My team can’t be sending cold emails all day, but will be the first folks candidates talk to.
      Aug 18, 2018
    • Google / Eng hooli.xyz
      I agree with TechLeadd, early-stage tech startups should always have the technical co-founder do the recruiting. That includes sending cold emails.

      If your technical co-founder insists on you taking on the role of filling the funnel, then that is not a recipe for success. If you call that “startup life”, then you really don’t know what you are doing.
      Aug 18, 2018
  • Google car cdr x
    Are you willing to pay them 400k?

    🌲fiddy is the going rate on blind, and you'll have to do one better.
    Aug 18, 2018 10
    • Microsoft Gfsvdg
      @car cdr x: how do you then evaluate the stocks of companies like uber or airbnb which are likely to ipo next year? 1-to-1?
      Aug 18, 2018
    • Google car cdr x
      @Gfsvdg: Thats trickier. If it were me I'd look at the expected price, and then discount it based on various factors such as:
      1. Possible variance in the price from expected value.
      2. You can probably sell only after 6 months of IPO?
      3. Uber has been 'going to IPO next year' since 2017. Risk of more delays?
      4. Taxes are due as soon as 'there is no substantial risk of losing your options', although you can't cash out immediately, and the stock may not be fully vested yet.

      Best bet is to ask people who already work there anonymously, and also consult with an accountant. Again, I don't know if the preferred options that investors own will split during an IPO etc, diluting common stock a bit more. The devil is in the details.
      Aug 18, 2018
    • Marvell USA 🇺🇸
      @car cdr x: why 1/3 vs 1/4 or 1/5? Just curious if 1/3 is a general rule of thumb and if so, how that fraction came to be. Thanks!
      Aug 18, 2018
    • Google car cdr x
      @Marvel, I just pulled that number. 1/3 or 1/4 or 1/5 really depends on your risk profile, and the startup's risk profile. But I've seen lot of people estimate something around 1/3.
      Aug 18, 2018
    • Marvell USA 🇺🇸
      Thanks @car
      Aug 19, 2018
  • Microsoft Gfsvdg
    Don’t want to be rude or tacky, but are you willing to pay like the best if you want the best? If you really want the best, you either need to pay a lot or really sell the potentials and dreams.
    Aug 18, 2018 2
    • New lomie
      OP
      We can do both :-). If you’re interesting in chatting for the above roles, or can think of up-and-coming friends who could benefit from great mentorship earlier in their careers, let’s connect.
      Aug 18, 2018
    • Microsoft Gfsvdg
      No, I didn’t ask for myself. Just wanted to understand the clarification for the “best talent” and what your strategy is to get them. “Best” can mean many things like any average joe at any top tier company or the rockstars at Fb/G, or other things. Every company likes to have the absolute best, but you will get what you can offer (money, benefits, potentials). For example, for a top %5 L5 software engineer, there are opportunities with upward of $500k annual compensation. Are you willing to compete with these numbers? If not, you need to work on selling the potentials, or you may not need such a talent at all.
      Aug 18, 2018
  • Farmers Insurance / Eng
    sicario

    Farmers Insurance Eng

    BIO
    Devops, CI/CD/CD, automation, AWS, Jenkins, Docker, Wireshark, no bullshit.
    sicariomore
    That's the key right there: you are non technical. How can you hire engineers if you don't know how they work? One time a recruiter who contacted me didn't know the difference between C and C++ and she was hiring a C++ developer.
    Aug 18, 2018 1
    • New lomie
      OP
      Yikes. Fortunately while I’m not a developer (hence my asking for help), my technical team will be the first folks candidates speak with. I’m wondering how to best get the meeting. Any thoughts?
      Aug 18, 2018
  • Oath / Eng
    Yahoos

    Oath Eng

    BIO
    hit me up if you need interview prep or referrals for big N companies!
    Yahoosmore
    I see a lot of folks complaining about a non technical person hiring technical talent. Isn’t that the case everywhere ? Recruiters are not rockstar developers and it doesn’t take rocket science to judge resumes. In most places they are the first filters before forwarding it to teams right ?
    Aug 18, 2018 2
    • Marvell USA 🇺🇸
      There’s a diff between a tech recruiter with zero years technical recruiting experience vs one with 10 yrs. Both don’t code but one understands the stack and the diff between C, C++, vs Java! Being good at identifying, engaging, vetting, and selling to talent in these buckets also require many years in the trenches.
      Aug 18, 2018
    • Cisco / Eng TechLeadd
      Because they will throw out resumes of highly talented engineers without a degree because their reality consists of a worthless social sciences degree and a job with a little power to dictate who’s qualified and who’s not without really understanding engineers
      Aug 18, 2018
  • Oath / Eng
    Yahoos

    Oath Eng

    BIO
    hit me up if you need interview prep or referrals for big N companies!
    Yahoosmore
    Also I am interested, but no DMs left ✌️
    Aug 18, 2018 1
    • New lomie
      OP
      Sent you a message. Otherwise, how best to reach you?
      Aug 18, 2018
  • Microsoft meeseeeks
    ...for example, i'm not a specialist in software security. I am familiar enough with the discipline though to tell you that among the things candidates should list in their background might include some mention of OWASP. Not common knowledge, but just that bit of info right there drastically increases the likely quality of candidates.
    Aug 18, 2018 1
    • New lomie
      OP
      Great tip. Thank you
      Aug 18, 2018
  • Microsoft meeseeeks
    If you're non-technical, and you manage to reach a seasoned candidate who might be a good fit for a role but just isn't interested, ask what certifications, professional orgs, programming languages, etc might be the most relevant to the role? What "things" would a good candidate have in their background? Anything to help you more quickly/efficiently find candidates with the right background... if you can get that insight from someone in the industry, keep asking and comparing responses, you will over time develop search profiles and techniques that will evolve over time just as the industry does.
    Aug 18, 2018 0
  • Bloomberg / Eng iVX372
    This sounds like a wannabe consulting company looking to profit from their engineers, akin to Deloitte billing their consultants who are paid $55/hour at $250/hour to clients
    Aug 19, 2018 0
  • New lomie
    OP
    Thanks for that advice. Appreciate it 🙏
    Aug 18, 2018 0