Put your best foot forward to attract top talent – part one

Software engineers are currently some of the most in- demand professionals, with stiff competition to secure top coding talent. How can you make sure your firm comes out on top and secures the skilled professionals you need to put yourself ahead?

In a piece for Mashable, Pete Soderling, entrepreneur, software engineer and founder of Hakka Group, argued that in order to ramp up engineering staffing efforts, companies need to borrow a few tricks from the pages of an unlikely book.

“Today, software engineers have their pick of any opportunity they want,” Soderling pointed out. “That means your company, the company that wants to hire them to retain their seemingly magical engineering prowess, has only one shot at getting their attention. And you better be sure to make it count. How? You need to apply the basic principles of marketing, and even PR, to your advantage.”

Soderling recommended that enterprises eager to onboard the cream of the crop adapt five tenets of marketing to fit their efforts, the first two of which are outlined below:

1) Make your product seem like the best choice
When you're selling a product, people will only buy it if you successfully make it seem better than all other available options. In this case, your product is the job you're offering, so you need to figure out what you can do to position the role as being a cut above the rest. This might involve sweetening the deal with traditional motivators such as higher salaries or more diversified benefits, but don't be afraid to think outside the box when you're trying to attract top talent.

Many of today's employees – particularly members of the millennial generation – are focused on career advancement and professional development. With this in mind, be sure to highlight any opportunities to internally climb the corporate ladder and bolster skill sets. Don't underestimate this piece of the puzzle, as numerous surveys have shown that many prospective employees would select a job with solid potential for advancement over one that offers more money. One such study conducted by CareerBuilder revealed that as many as four in 10 IT workers place more value on potential than salary, according to CIO. 

2) Narrow down your target audience
When you're putting a product or service on the market, you have to know who you're selling to. Is your demographic small and medium-sized businesses? People who belong to a particular industry or hail from a certain area? Stay-at-home moms? Zeroing in on your target audience is the first step toward effectively marketing what you have to offer. After all, if you don't know your audience, you won't be able to reach out to them on their level, and that could spell disaster for your campaign. Try to be as specific as possible when you're identifying a demographic to which you can tailor your marketing efforts – and the same is true for engineers you're trying to hire.

“What type of engineer do you need?” asked Soderling. “Data, development-operations, front-end, distributed systems, Ruby, polyglots? Are they students, experienced, have degrees from top schools, self-taught? Should they be open-source committers or simply consumers?” 

Failure to accurately and specifically define these requirements before you go out and start hiring could result in a mismatch of skill and challenge. This could prove disastrous to your company in several ways, including employee satisfaction and engagement rates, revenue, productivity and more.

Check out part two for the final three tenets of marketing that can be adapted to onboarding engineers.

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