I’ve written about the talent crunch before talent crunch: not where you expect it, but today I had another thought.
Employeers: Be. Flexible.
I had a call from a company today that started out with, “Want to move to NYC?”. I declined and they ended the interview 2 minutes later.
I partially feel bad - I try to work with people as much as I can, and maybe I gave a false impression in email or something. Then again, I’m pretty fixed right now (you try moving, or doing pretty much anything intense, with a newborn). And I want to help people and companies, but there’s also a lesson here.
Maybe the top guy in your resume pile lives in Australia. For a case study: Spee eCommerce hired Ryan Bigg, who lives in Australia, to be their community manager.
Ryan Bigg is a Ruby Hero, so he’s one of the top two dozen guys in the Rails community, period. Even with a 12 hour time difference Spree wanted him.
Have someone who won’t/can’t move, has other commitments, or doesn’t want to take a 20% pay cut moving to a more expensive city? (And then a 15% pay cut because your company “makes up the difference in market rate with equity”?).
What happens if you hired someone to remote pair program with your guys, via remote? The technology is there - I’ve done it two ways myself. (The Unix Way: a cohosted server, GNU screen and VIM, or The UI way: Skype or iChat screenshare)
What happens if you hire part time instead of full time?
What happens if you hire an experienced programmer that gasp doesn’t have 5 years experience in your toolset de jour, but does know a dozen other languages? A programmer who knows a dozen languages probably will have no problem learning another, especially with guidance from other team members and both sides keeping an open mind about “the best way to implement things”.
What about opening a field office where your developer lives? Your new hotshot employee lives in SF, and isn’t interested in moving to Philly? Start a second office in SF - expand your business locations)
What about having the new team member move in with other team members for a month, then working remotely?
What about bringing them on as a consultant for a single month, and getting them to brain dump techniques, best practices, hints, development practice tips, sustainable development, everything they know? Pay them an outlandish rate for the month ($20K?), and squeeze knowledge out of that person - aim for saving 6 man months to a year of development effort from their advice over that month.
($20K for the chance in saving you $50,000 to $100,000? Seems like an investment you should jump at! Speaking of: I offer a service like this, actually)
Maybe pay for 2 weeks of code review and refactoring tips/analysis.
Maybe you’re looking for a mentor for some junior developers you have. Awesome - it’s great that you hired some junior developers. Do you really need a full time person to help them, or would a few hours of code review and pairing every day be enough? (Saves money too - keep your runway long).
Instead of complaining that you can’t find developers, change what you’re looking for.