This market has proven that talent is becoming increasingly more difficult to find. How is it possible for a small startup to attract the quantity of quality talent they will need to achieve their goals when it comes time to really scale the business? If you are a Founder, or sit on a Board of Advisers somewhere, your recruiting strategy is something that you need to consider early and throughout the development of your technical team. We’ve all read about the 10x developer and what they do from a production standpoint but let’s not forget the benefits that hiring this type of engineer can have on your recruiting strategy.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE NETWORK
Let us first assume that in order in become a 10x developer one must have surrounded themselves with some pretty impressive people to learn from. Chances are that they are actively involved in the developer community frequenting and most likely speaking at local meetup events while contributing to FOSS projects on GitHub, Google Code, or SourceForge. They may be active in the blogosphere contributing to industry conversation or even writing one of their own. Some could have books published on specific topics where they are considered thought leaders. All things leading to not only an expanded network but higher visibility within that network, which can later be leveraged to attract additional talent.
ENGINEERING FRIENDLY CULTURE
Next we have to assume that the 10x developer would not be a 10x developer at all without a deeper understanding and appreciation of SDLC, best-practices, and effective processes. They must stay up to date on new tools and the abilities of those tools to solve particular engineering problems. This constant education can often create the type of interesting, cutting-edge development environments that engineers want to work in. An element of building a culture that continues to challenge current team members and is highly attractive to potential candidates.
The 10x developer you hire will also mentor others on the team, giving your up-and-coming talent the opportunity to learn and continue their own professional growth. Through professional development you’ll not only get more out of junior hires – you’ll get it faster. They will progress up the professional ladder more quickly and fill leadership roles when the organization is ready for them, allowing you to recruit the engineers you need to scale your business from a much wider pool of experience levels. This type of culture offers one additional benefit vital to your future recruiting strategy – low attrition rates. After all, nothing slows scaling a team like having to source for openings that have previously been filled.
THE BLING FACTOR
If we continue to assume the traits of the 10x developer mentioned above it’s probably pretty safe to assume that this sort of individual will be easily recognized in your local technology community, if not beyond. Hiring this type of engineer brings its own element of “brand recognition” to your business. The benefits here are exponential and can really be beneficial when it comes time to look for capital. A team consisting of proven, recognizable engineers will be much more appealing to potential investors. We’ve all read the tales of VC’s funding Founders and teams based on the people in the group alone. In fact, I recently read that Sequoia Capital believes that it can predict a startup’s success potential based on the quality of the first 10 to 12 hires. Being able to raise money is vital when it comes time to scale. More money equals better recruiting tools/resources, increased spending on marketing, and more overall touches of future potential employees.
In conclusion, if you are a small startup considering passing on A+ Engineers based on timing you may want to reconsider. There may be some up-front cost that the organization wasn’t budgeting for but I urge you to take the chance and save your business money in the long run. The value of hiring this type of individual now, when the opportunity is available, will far outweigh the cost when it comes time for some real organizational growth… and just think about the recruiting fee’s you’ll save in the future!