How To Attract New Hires When Constrained By a Budget

Anant Verma

VP of Engineering at Alation



"I was a technical co-founder at a startup while my partner was responsible for the business aspect of our enterprise. What we were trying to build couldn't be completed by one person and I was fervently looking for some additional helping hands. However, as an early startup, we were constrained by a modest budget and had to rely on low-cost and affordable hiring options."

Actions taken

First off, I hired a couple of juniors, up-and-coming engineers, who had no prior experience. What they were looking for was, to gain experience in building software.

"One of these juniors was well versed in UI design but was particularly excited to learn more about programming. It was a win-win situation as we also needed a UI designer. She agreed to do UI design for us in exchange for some coding classes. Every day, for an hour, I would teach her programming, after which she would focus on UI design for several hours."

Also, we opted to work with an external development team through a model called TEM (Team Extension Model). We came across a company based in Ukraine staffed with great but affordable developers and we eventually selected three out of 20 available developers to work with us on our product.

During the summer months we benefited from increased demand for internships. We couldn't afford to pay interns, but we have found two of them who were only seeking to gain experience.

Five months after, exploiting all available hiring options, we have completed our team.

Lessons learned

  • There are many hiring options that are low-cost or affordable; you should explore all of them.
  • One of the greatest challenges is to understand what motivates people on a case-by-case basis. Don't conflate job motivation with motivation for gaining experience. UI design person was very committed but she was looking to learn something new and gain experience, not to stay on a team. Some people joined our team because they were aware that I had worked for key industry players and were in fact interested in connecting with these companies.

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Anant Verma

VP of Engineering at Alation

ProgrammingSoftware Development

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