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Hiring Engineering Talent in a Highly Competitive Market

Hiring

14 May, 2021

Ron Pragides
Ron Pragides

SVP Engineering at Trustly Group AB

Ron Pragides shares the strategy he used to spot and hire engineering talents in a highly competitive technical market.

Problem

I was hired and tasked to establish the company's new office location in San Francisco. This meant I had to build the engineering team from scratch in a highly competitive market for hiring technical talent.

Actions taken

I used five methods to find the talents I needed. The first method was to leverage social networks - Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn - to create awareness of our brand and inform the communities that we were hiring. I talked about our company, the job openings, and the opportunities we have for them. The strategy was to hire local in San Francisco to leverage the people and the existing network. The second method was to use a new hiring tool like Hired.com. Being new, I was able to leverage what they can offer targeted at the particular skill set I was looking to hire. My next step was to go to boot camps and coding camps which were definitely good sources of engineering candidates. Then I scouted on technology meet-up and similar gatherings where I checked on the list of attendees and speakers for possible prospects. It was in one of these events where I was able to hire one of the speakers as head of architecture. Finally, we did street hops to launch our recruitment marketing campaign. We approached technology personnel waiting for their buses, offered them free breakfast and coffee, asked them to look up our company in Google, and basically talked to them about the opportunities in our company. There were a couple more techniques that helped us achieve our goal to hire sixty people in roughly 6 months. These were used to leverage the networks of the new hires and to get the newly hired engineering manager to help as well in the staff hiring.

Lessons learned

When mass hiring is required specifically to establish a new group and capability, the question to ask yourself is: are you hiring for speed or hiring for accuracy? If you must hire fast, you have limited time to choose the best fit and will likely hire at the door. You must then be ready to make adjustments along the way and be confident to correct hiring mistakes quickly. When hiring for accuracy, you have long screening process and you can choose the best candidate but hiring will take a longer time. Also keep in mind when a company is scaling up rapidly, it's crucial to acknowledge that the new hires have different backgrounds and have come from various companies with different cultures. It is imperative they are given time to understand and assimilate into the new community and its culture so they can perform effectively.

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