How to Attract Top Tech Talent

how to attract top tech talent

As the tech industry continues to grow in 2013, competition is fierce for the best of the best technical talent. If you’re one of those individuals, you’re golden and your prospects are endless. Congratulations! If you’re on the other side of the table though, looking to hire this kind of individual, things are looking a little less optimistic. You’re competing against hundreds of other companies for the same talent. While it’s definitely a stressful situation to be in, there are five things you can do to increase your chances of grabbing top talent.


5 Things You Need to Do to Attract Top Technical Talent

1. Seduce with technology:

When top technical talent looks for a new gig, there are a variety of factors they take into consideration. The most common? Money and how interesting or fun the work will be. You understand the money consideration – people need to pay their bills. Interesting or fun work, on the other hand, isn’t as tangible. While fun work may include an office with ping pong tables, it isn’t dependent on that alone. For top technical talent, interesting or fun technical work is a role where they’re able to work on cutting-edge projects with similarly high-end technology. These are projects where they have to think critically about what’s going on, the process that makes top technical talent tick.

If you want to attract the top technical talent, make sure that you’re working on interesting projects and using processes and procedures that they prefer. Some of these are:

  • Spring/DI
  • Dojo/Ajax
  • Ruby
  • Grails
  • Agile/TDD
  • Continuous integration
  • Sonar, Mercurial, Maven


2. Offer a fair rate

Like we said, the two biggest considerations for tech gurus looking at new gigs are money and technical challenge. However, even if you initially get top technical talent into your shop by seducing them with technology, they won’t be staying long if you’re not giving them a fair rate.

If you beat up top technical talent during rate negotiation, giving them less than a fair rate, they’re only going to be a short-term solution. As the cream of the crop, they’ll easily be getting dozens of emails a day from recruiters and other prospective employers. If one of those individuals offer them a good technological challenge and a fair rate, they’ll be gone faster than you can say “Adios.”

If you give top technical talent a fair rate, something that reflects their experience, skill, and responsibility, you’re more likely to attract and keep the best of the best.



3. Have a partial telecommute schedule with contractors (25% – 50% on-site)

Let’s think about attracting the top technical talent from a very practical standpoint. If you’re looking for the top technical talent in your area, you’re going to come up with the same pool time after time. If they’re already content in their current role, or don’t feel that your company would be a good fit at this point, your pool shrinks.

One way to increase this pool of top technical talent is to extend the geographic area in which you’re searching. In order to do this though, you may have to allow for 25% to 50% on-site work. Such a partial telecommute option lets you look for people outside of your normal geography, increasing the pool of qualified candidates and your likelihood of getting someone who knows their stuff.

Just to be clear though, this piece of advice isn’t intended as a remote workforce mandate. We understand why you want to see your staff and have them together. That being said, this partial telecommute option is a compromise – a way to get top technical talent in your shop. If they only have to live out of a suitcase one week a month, you’re more likely to get them to sign on that dotted line.



4. Offer extensions early

attract best tech talentWhen you don’t extend a technical consultant’s contract early enough, they start to get nervous and seek backup plans. Oftentimes these alternative plans gain enough momentum that, due to a lack of security, your consultant leaves. They’re off to a more secure work environment, while you’re kicking yourself over losing a top technical resource.

On the other hand, when a technical consultant is given security, and told early enough that their contract will be extended, the backup plans never have a chance to take hold. Your consultant is more productive and less distracted in the office, and less likely to leave. If you do this consistently, your company will garner a reputation for extending contracts early, and top technical talent will be drawn to your organization’s security and consistency.



5. Communication

Regardless of whether they’re the best worker you’ve ever had or the one that just barely made the cut, if they don’t feel like they’re part of the team, they’re not going to stick around long. That’s why it’s so important to build a work environment where people communicate and listen.

Even though top technical talent doesn’t need to be micromanaged, making sure that they feel like part of the team is important. Involve them in meetings, allow them to insert their opinions, and then actually consider their recommendations. You don’t have to do everything they say, but you do have to listen. Like with extending contracts early, if your company builds a reputation for valuing its workers, top technical talent will flock to you.



The pressure is on for you to nab the top technical talent before your competitors do. While there’s a variety of ways you can go about doing this, the ones that really count start in the company themselves. Make sure that you’re willing to provide a fair rate, technical challenges, early extensions and telecommute options in a workplace that values communication. If you do these five things, it won’t matter if you have a ping pong table or not. The top technical talent will feel valued, and therefore sold, on your company.


What other things do you think a company could do to attract top technical talent? Let us know in the comments section, or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

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Thanks to psd and Zach Klein for the use of their respective photographs.