Sourcing Tech Talent In Colorado — What’s Working Here?
It’s no secret, sourcing tech talent in Colorado is getting harder. We even wrote a whole post on why that was happening not too long ago. People are moving in from higher cost areas and it’s inflating our housing market. On top of that, mega tech companies are moving in with millions of revenues or venture backing behind them and that’s increasing competition. Both of these factors are also pushing salary expectations up for top players. It’s an uphill battle for sure.
Luckily there are things to keep in mind that can help land some rockstars that do not include just throwing more money at the problem. We have talked to 1,000’s of candidates and here are some of the things that helped great companies line up with great candidates despite the competition:
1 — Do not try to compete with the mega-tech companies directly, it can be nearly impossible to match their quantitative offerings.
Focus on why you are different, focus on the opportunities that are available for exceptional candidates to make a major impact on the product and/or industry.
Most software developers and tech professionals do not get into the industry to be parked in a corner working on the same task, day in day out. They love the industry because of a passion for building, they are creatives. The word is out in their communities that many times if you land the job at the mega-tech company, the scale of your impact will decrease drastically. Yes, you are working on a very large machine, but you end up being a much smaller gear in that machine. Use this!
Luckily “impact” is both appealing for many top candidates and a core element to what equates to teams being successful in the company. Google recently showed “impact” to be one of the five core tenants of a successful tech team. Impact as they define it is – “Team members think their work matters and creates change.” The feeling of impact is also a big player in talent retention.
Sharing the greenfield opportunities for improvement that exist in your product you can actually attract the builders out there, the creatives that want to be a part of something. Culture, on the other hand, is a bit of a different story — a sense of broken culture is a no-go for most top candidates.
2 — Move fast if you get a sense the person is your rockstar
If you are talking to someone you think might be a perfect fit, make sure to move fast and be as timely as possible with all communications. You might want to even consider adding a “priority” status into your ATS so the recruiting team knows to give extra attention to this person. The likelihood that they are interviewing with three-four other companies is very high. Sometimes being the first to make an offer can put you way ahead because it symbolizes more than just timeliness, it means you want them to be a part of your team.
We’ve talked about this before too, but be mindful of coding test time requirements. Code tests are of course very important, but expecting a candidate to carve out a weekend could be the last straw and tilt the candidate in the direction of your competitor. Consider using some of the code test platforms where the person might already have a profile built to help be respectful of their time, a good example is Filtered.ai
3 — Get a foothold in local tech community events and publications
Everyone glances at the big job sites if they are seeking a new career, but software developers really pay attention to the local job openings sources. More than 70% of our clients claim that their best hires and/or best developer candidate lead sources are from being a part of the local community. Most candidates have already met the hiring manager out at an event before they even apply… Now, it’s tough to say if this is a chicken before the egg scenario, but the point is the local community engagement works. In Colorado, we have found the best local communities to be a part of are:
- Denver Startup Week (DSW)
- BuiltInColorado and all their events, including BuiltInBrews (which is always fun!)
- TechFriends Slack channel — To share jobs and hear about the latest events.
- DenverDevs Slack channel
- Or you can check out this list by LeadOut to get the lowdown on everything that’s happening here that is startup and/or tech-focused.
You can win this fight, just don’t try to fight directly against the mega-tech companies that are moving here. Instead, stay true to what makes us uniquely Coloradan. Lean into our unique lifestyle, cultural tastes, and go get involved in the community — the candidates will follow. If you have a particularly hard time filling a role, well, we can help with that. 🙂
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!