Scouting Top AI Talents: How to Compete with Big Tech Giants

Adhiguna Mahendra

Chief AI and Business at Nodeflux



In the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence (AI), attracting and retaining top talent is crucial for the success of any AI startup. However, competing with established big tech companies such as Google, Meta, and others in terms of salary, facilities, and career development can be a daunting task. To overcome these challenges, it is essential to adopt a strategic approach to scouting and hiring the best AI talents. This article explores effective tips for finding exceptional AI talents and competing with big tech companies based on value and impact.

How to Scout Top AI Talents and Compete with Big Tech

  1. Stay Updated with Latest Research To identify promising AI talents, it is imperative to stay well-informed about the latest advancements in deep learning and AI. Regularly read research papers from top universities and conferences, keeping an eye on emerging trends and breakthroughs. This will help you understand the cutting-edge techniques and areas relevant to the products you are building.

  2. Identify Relevant Authors Once you come across research papers relevant to your products, focus on identifying the authors who contributed to those papers. Ideally, look for PhD students as they possess in-depth knowledge and expertise in their respective fields. Master's students can also be valuable contributors. Consider sponsoring their PhD studies at the best universities near your geographical location, emphasizing the importance of relocation to your organization.

  3. Leverage Value Proposition Recognize that you may not be able to match the salary, facilities, and career development opportunities offered by big tech companies. Instead, compete by highlighting the unique value your startup provides. Emphasize the impact and value for societies that AI talents can make by working with your organization. Stress that they won't be mere cogs in a machine but will have the autonomy to make important decisions, collaborate with universities, choose conferences to attend, and publish papers. Additionally, emphasize their involvement in real-world AI deployment, exposing them in an end to end process from research to deployment using MLOps* or LLMOps process**.

  4. Offer Freedom and Intellectual Stimulation Attract talented AI professionals by offering them the freedom to explore and work on interesting projects during their spare time. Create an environment that encourages experimentation and innovation, allowing them to pursue their passion and curiosity. Emphasize the opportunity to work on diverse and impactful projects that go beyond profit-oriented goals prevalent in big tech companies.

  5. Communicate Value and Impact Effectively communicate the value and impact your AI startup is making to the world. Highlight the societal benefits, ethical considerations, and the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research and technological advancements. Demonstrate that your organization is driven by a mission to solve important problems and make a positive difference, fostering a sense of purpose and fulfillment among AI talents.


Scouting top AI talents and competing with big tech companies requires a strategic approach. Stay updated with the latest research in deep learning and AI, identifying relevant authors who have contributed to relevant papers. Consider sponsoring the PhD studies of talented individuals, emphasizing relocation to your organization's location. Compete based on the value proposition by emphasizing the societal impact, intellectual freedom, and decision-making autonomy that AI talents will experience within your startup. Offer the freedom to explore interesting projects during their spare time and communicate the value and impact your organization is making to the world.

By implementing these tips, your AI startup can attract and retain exceptional talents, creating a competitive advantage even when compared to big tech giants.

  • [MLOps]: Machine Learning Operations ** [LLMOps]: Large-scale Machine Learning Operations

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Adhiguna Mahendra

Chief AI and Business at Nodeflux

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