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Post by Rich Moy on Oct 15, 2015, 9:00:00 AM

The race for top tech talent isn’t slowing down any time soon, but if you’re hiring developers for a smaller company, it can be easy to feel like you’re at an even bigger disadvantage. While some organizations clearly have resources that others simply don’t, there are plenty of ways a less established company can attract developers.

We spoke with a couple of developers here at Stack Overflow about some of the unique ways smaller companies can stand out to top tech talent during the interview process. Here’s what they had to say.

Highlight How Much Code Your Developers Actually Get to Ship

It might seem like an uphill battle to compete with the posh workspaces and amenities that some of the large companies offer, but a nice office only goes so far. Max Horstmann—a Full-Stack Web Developer here at Stack Overflow—tells us that at the end of the day, one of the things programmers love most about their jobs is shipping code. He also tells us that shipping code at larger companies often requires a seemingly endless number of meetings, checklists and looming postponements, making it difficult to get anything out the door.

Tom Limoncelli, a Site Reliability Engineer at Stack Overflow, agrees with Horstmann, adding that working for a smaller company gives developers more opportunities to see the results of what they do immediately. He continues, “The code you write today goes into a product that people actually use.”

Give Candidates the Opportunity to Know the Entire Team

Great developers love working on teams of great developers. Not surprisingly, when they’re interviewing for a new position, they’re also eager for opportunities to meet your tech team. At bigger organizations, that’s not always an option. “When interviewing with larger companies, candidates will often meet with their future manager and maybe some of their future colleagues, but not all of them,” Horstmann says.

While many companies include lunch meetings as part of the interview process, there’s no need to make this step particularly lavish. If schedules don’t allow for extended meetings with your tech team, simply bringing candidates over to the team for introductions during the interview process will go a long way in making your company stand out.

Be Flexible About Job Descriptions For Candidates You Really Like

Sometimes you’ll meet a really smart programmer who’s also working on a really interesting side-project, but he or she doesn’t have as much experience with a particular programming language as you had hoped. This might be a problem for a recruiter working with a larger organizations, but if you’re hiring developers to join your newer company, Horstmann argues this is a prime opportunity to create a brand new role for that programmer.

“Large companies often lack the flexibility in tailoring the perfect job to the perfect candidate,” he continues. “But if a great engineer wants to continue working on his or her side project? Make that part of the job. They want to speak at conferences, but it’s not in the job description? Change the job description.”

To attract developers, focus on the amazing things you can offer candidates. In fact, you’re likely not at as far behind as you think. Limoncelli tells us that some developers prefer working for smaller organizations. He adds, “If you want to be responsible for a product’s development, deployment, security, and other aspects, you’ll be happier at a small company.”New Call-to-action


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