How Startups Can Compete for Tech Talent

Ann All

With an IT skills shortage apparently in the pipeline, it's more important than ever for employers to think about how they will attract technology talent. It's an especially big dilemma for startups, which tend to operate on tight budgets and thus can't offer the kinds of salaries found at giant companies like Google or Microsoft.


John Cook dispenses some smart employee recruitment tips gleaned from Washington-area startups in his Venture Blog on TechFlash. Scott Porad, the CTO of a startup called the Cheezburger Network, tries to benefit from others' misfortune, looking for failing companies where employees are likely looking for a way out. Other startups suggest good, old-fashioned networking to find likely prospects: Attend or sponsor local events, and ask your employees to become members of technology user groups. I especially like the final bit of advice in the post, to host meetings to showcase your company's coolest technologies. Writes Cook:

At the end of the day, many developers are interested in working on cutting-edge technology so getting them excited about the project is one way to win hearts.

I remembered writing a similar post back when I was regularly covering the SMB beat for IT Business Edge and went back into our archives to find it. The big takeaway from that post, "Can SMBs Go up Against Google for Employees?" was for small companies to play up the cultural differences between them and the big boys. Among the differences likely to appeal to potential hires: greater access to senior executives, more opportunities to earn notice for individual achievements and an atmosphere that encourages close connections with coworkers.


I cited a Boston Globe article that mentioned business process management software provider Pegasystems. The reporter interviewed a Massachusetts native who interviewed with Yahoo but took s a job with Pegasystems, partly because he liked the idea of getting to meet with executives like Pegasystems CEO Alan Trefler. He called being able to present ideas directly to Trefler "a great situation."

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 14, 2010 5:48 AM mataj mataj  says:

That famed "skill shortage" seems to be stuck in the pipeline somewhere around end 1990s, never to reappear again.


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