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5 priorities to help you attract top tech talent – a checklist for software companies

It’s a challenge faced by recruiters the world over, and for the growing tech company, it can become a major hurdle in facilitating that growth.

We are, of course, talking about attracting talent – employees with the skills, experience, and flexibility to integrate seamlessly with your organisation. The reality is, unless you’re a major player like Google or Spotify, it can be hard to attract desirable talent.

So, what makes a company attractive to tech employees? We spoke to some of our team to break down the five factors every software company should consider, so you can prioritise those that best apply to you.

1. Culture

It’s easy to think, ‘well, our software output is great, so surely developers will want to be a part of that’, but that’s not always the case.

“It’s hard to understate the importance of culture in positioning your company as the place to be,” says Per Ivansson, Board member for Palette and Viedoc. “Too many companies shy away from opening up about their culture during the interview process.”

Johan Redtzer, Talent Manager at Monterro agrees, “It really does resonate. We have a portfolio company called Mashie, and top developers often seek them out because of their sustainability values. So, if your existing culture and values are popular with your employees – flaunt it.”

2. Company vision

It’s really tempting in an industry where skilled employees are scarce for people to work freelance as contractors, moving from job to job, and project to project. If you want them to join you as a permanent team member, you need to be upfront about your company’s vision – and how they’ll be a part of it.

“CEOs, CTOs, and development managers—they need to be there in the interviews inspiring candidates with a vision of the future,” says Per. “If your current tech-stack isn’t completely up to date and contains legacy, all software do, take the opportunity to talk about how you plan to modernize the platform and what new technologies that will come in to play”

3. Growth opportunities

Remember, not all developers and engineers are the same. There will always be those who just want to come in, put code into their repository, and go home. That’s fine, there’s a place for these people – and in many cases, they’re critical to your operation.

But for many candidates, this won’t be enough. They want to learn, experiment, and grow. If you can provide these opportunities, make it part of your recruitment strategy.

“Most developers are not interested in becoming managers, they want to learn new skills,” says Per. “It’s so important to set time aside for people to dig into new technologies. Consider hosting monthly ‘hack days’ so your developers can mingle and learn new skills – they’re an attractive proposition.”

4. Team reputation

A thing that we’ve seen happen a few times is that prospective employees get excited about an interview just because of the team they’re going to be working with.

It can be about that team’s culture, the output, the research they’re allowed to do. So it’s worth thinking about what makes each team special and how to make that public-facing.

As Per puts it: “A typical R&D constellation in fast growing companies is a few very productive developers, who are more interested in coding than leading a team and who has been around from the start, a founder that has the role as a very visionary Product Manager, CTO and CEO at the same time and might not be the best in organizing a development team, which is a quite complex task when growing fast. The agile development process requires structure which most developers appreciate. Put a dedicated CTO/Development manager in place ASAP with a clear mandate to build a development team(s).”

5. The technology you use

To round us off, consider the technology developers aspire to use and how you can accommodate their expectations.

Talk about what tech your team currently uses, and what you aspire to introduce in the future; your technical roadmap is a powerful asset. For example, if your company is already deploying the latest productivity and coding tools, this can be hugely attractive for top talent. But so can the promise of future investment in the latest tools and tech.

“You can’t sit a developer in a room with a computer and say, ‘this is it, get busy’,” says Per. “The software industry is changing all the time, there’s so much technology to explore, and developers – almost by nature – will want to take advantage of the latest innovation.”

How does your recruitment strategy stack up?

Did you notice that remuneration isn’t on the list? That’s because from our experience you can’t just pay your way to a stronger workforce.

Instead, we recommend identifying the factors above that best apply to your company and embedding them into your recruitment strategy. You may not be Spotify or Google, but zero in on what makes developers tick – and you’ll be just as attractive.

For more tips and insights about talent management—check out The field-guide to talent management for Nordic software companies going through growth’.