Recruiting & Retaining Software Engineers

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Transcript of Recruiting & Retaining Software Engineers

We hired a dev? How do I keep them and get more?

A Tale of TWO CitiesHow I helped build the BV team and grew the WPE team.

Recruiting is SALESRecruiting is Selling:Your teamYour companyYour projectYour visionThinkof it likea sales funnel.Metrics driven recruiting - conversion rates, inflow, outflow.Attention, Interest, Decision, Action.

Attention. You have to get it.You have to tell the story:Meetup - We were a well funded startup, competitive salaries, health benefits, found this team with me.Your team has to tell the story tooRecruiters have to be able to sell.Bonuses for speaking at meetups & conferences.

This is the top of your funnel - go wide and deep.Go where the devs are - meetups & conferences. Your job descriptions - Focus on selling the role, not listing the reasons people should not apply. "Web Systems Engineer Wanted For Night Out and CuddlingAdditional languages - widen the aperture.

The Leads are WeakCultivating InterestYour sourcing emailsMention who brought them to your attention in the subject, or first line.Tell your story - real numbers.The presumptive ask for a soft sell meeting.Your internal referral process Actively solicit names. Even if people are not available now. Track them. Track the conversations. Reach out regularly, ideally through your closest contact. Two degrees of separation between you and most hires.CULTURE is the deciding FACTOR

Getting to a decision:Your candidate experience is a key factor:Lightweight processGive them a chance to ask questionsThey should be challenged but not strained/exasperated which is a difficult line to walk and requires recruiter training.Your culture:You have to be a good place to workEnter & Win some awardsSpend time creating events for employees or outside folks that show off how much fun you're having. Recruiting happy hours have worked well for some teams here.Dont be a 17 Year old DUDE

Dont be a 17 year old dude trying to seal the deal on every first date, but you do have to close.Every interviewstart early so they have the fire to get through your process. Keep that fire going throughout and stoke it at the end, and at the offer.After they're onsite Follow up.Email from team on offer & acceptance.

Always be closing.The Assumptive close, also known as the presumptive close: in which the salesperson intentionally assumes that the prospect has already agreed to buy, and wraps up the sale.When are we going to hear back from you?The Balance Sheet close, also called the Ben Franklin close, in which the salesperson and the prospect build together a pros-and-cons list of whether to buy the product, with the salesperson trying to ensure the pros list is longer than the cons.Stack rank your choices and then attack the weaknesses for your company.The Puppy Dog close, in which the salesperson gives the product to the prospect on a trial basis, to test before a sale is agreed upon. Ive done this with Contract-to-Hire folks.The Sales Contest close, in which the salesperson offers the prospect a special incentive to close, disarming suspicion with a credible "selfish" justification.Asking them if they want a PC or a Mac w/ a 27 cinema display for their computer when they start. Gets them started thinking about when they get here, and theyve made a (small) commitment to hardware with us.You cant buy this level of Undying devotion

These kids wouldnt quit, you couldnt fire them, and they were willing to put their own lives on the line to save the record store.It's all about the team (Video)

NecessitiesSafetyLovePrideCULTUREMaslow's hierarchy of needs for retentionphysiological - salary, office space, base benefits, good - know where you stand, fire the poor performers, able to build good code (refactor & quality)love/ belonging - good bosses, good peers, perks & bonuses. mentoringesteem/pride - able to contribute & show off their work, appreciation, self-actualization - long term salary (equity), passionate & challenge projects. have fun/ culture, continuing education, hackathons, promotions, trust.Food + Water + shelter

These are a baseline:Short term - annual salary & BonusLong term - EquityRevisiting - You've got to watch the market rate (interviewing and hiring helps to know this better than any Radford survey bands,) you've got to keep enough options to be able to do renewal grants for top performers who need to be retained beyond the 4 yr mark.Your space - its gotta be conducive. quiet. able to be dark. natural light.Tools - save your money on hosting use OSS, and buy them the best tools there are.Base benefits - good healthcare, dental, etc.Hiring the right(wrong) person

Providing Safety to engineers is two main things:Expectation Setting:Demonstrating & RewardingEveryone deserves a chance to shine.

Holding everyone to the same standard:If you hire poor performers and if you dont' exit those folks quickly morale will slip away quickly. MOCK FUNERALs?

Mock funerals - the hipster version of the trust fall.

Building Love, or the business word for it: Trust.Good management.the #1 reason people leave.Good peersThe #2 reason people leave.and moreNot on rex manning day

Perks & Bonuses:Beyond the basics.Commuter passesparking spotsfree foodhappy hoursTeam luncheslet the team come up with this stuff. Put them in charge of keeping culture alive.GWAR & the pixies!

Knowing someone else has an active role in your development means you trust them, and youre investing in them.

Mentoring forces you to slow down and think about how to bring someone up with you.Sugar high

Esteem or Pride. You cant buy this, its earned.

AJ up there fixing the sign, on his own time. Gina getting up in front of the crowd to sing.

Building trust means choosing the right projects and showing people that you have the FTC in them to do it.Faith that they have what it takes.Trust that they know what to do.Confidence that they can do it.Every engineer needs a chance to be in the spotlight.PassionTalentBusiness Need

Finding the right project to draw someone out is critical to demonstrating their successes:Focus on landing projects that hit almost all three, or certainly very often twoavoid pitch-in projects for long stints of time w/o clear end or another buff.20% timeNot always the answer, but some latitude for your most senior people will go a long ways.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.Have fun, enjoy your work.Give the team involvement/influence over project design, scope, timelineAllow time for Rewriting areas that suckVision casting - sell folks on where you're going. Re-sell your employees. Does Axl Have a Jack?

Rewards & continued investment have to be relevant. The empire records crew werent fans of Rex.

continuing educationConferences are a great bonus.hackathonsOn your projects or not.promotions when theyre deserved, and not when theyre not.AppreciationA simple hand written note goes a long ways.

RETENTION IS RECRUITINGRetaining your team means you dont have to hire more to replace. It means you get more out of the people you have.It means you have more great stories to tell for folks you are recruiting.Thank yoUt: @rcjohnson