How to Attract Top Tech Talent When Just Starting Out

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Job seekers today have become more interested in finding a career in which they can make an impact, grow and be well compensated for it – whether that’s now or somewhere down the line in the form of equity. Oftentimes, the “good” jobs of today are with lesser-known brands with greater promise than popularity.

At Wistia, we don’t have a ticker symbol (yet) or a formal HR department, but I’m proud to say that I lead a company of wunderkinds. Even those of us with gray hairs are still young at heart. Now that we have over 60 employees, there’s a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy that comes into play when growing our team. Wunderkinds know other wunderkinds. Hiring in technology is a fierce business, as it’s an industry that’s full of well-educated folks who are passionate about how technology is changing the world.

The challenge, especially when you’re a relative unknown, is attracting talented individuals who are interested in smaller, more innovative businesses that help them grow and, more importantly, that they’ll want to keep working for once team dynamics have changed and new processes have been put into place. In my opinion, those unique individuals are the real unicorns of the technology industry. Here are some tips for how we work to attract top talent: 

Focus on Your Culture

When you’re a smaller business, you’re not going to win based on name recognition or perks packages alone. While much has been espoused online about startup perks, the lure of snacks and company trips has worn off. Shockingly, many candidates consider these perks to be a given nowadays. You can, however, win on corporate culture. Putting energy towards being awesome internally pays dividends upon dividends. A business that stays true to its values and mission not only inspires others, but makes them want to get on board.

As a video hosting company, we like to instill the power of video in our employees. From a hiring perspective, we show prospects what it’s like to work at Wistia by posting videos that depict our culture on social media. Any good candidate is going to do a little “virtual stalking” during their vetting process, so these videos work perfectly. It’s a great way to showcase our unique work environment and the amazing people who work here. Just recently we used Facebook Live to record an office tour led by three folks from our marketing team, which concluded with our monthly happy hour that we host right here in the office. Since our mission is to make online business more human, highlighting the people who work here, the fun things we do, and our actual work environment is a no-brainer.

You’ll attract the right people if you pay close attention to building an alignment between your culture and your business goals. You’ll quickly start to experience the positive impact of having like-minded individuals on your team, as so many companies today lack a cohesive corporate culture, and those that do quickly spread across networks of friends and professionals.

Highlight Individual Success

While people may want to join your smaller company because you provide an excellent company culture, that’s not all they want. People want to feel valued and know that the company is better off because of their contributions. That’s why highlighting the value of your individual employees makes the whole business stronger. Much like being drafted for the varsity team leads to improved personal performance, so too does being on a team of varsity players in your professional life. Ultimately, people who work hard and produce great results want to know that they’re more than just a number to their organization.

While employees at large companies may just want to keep their heads down and collect their paychecks, at Wistia we’ve found that people want to pick their heads up, be recognized for their accomplishments, and even be acknowledged for the risks they’ve taken that may not have paid off as well. We host a show and tell in our presentation space every Tuesday morning, and employees are encouraged to share progress on projects they’re working on, regardless of how far along they are. This is also a time when we celebrate our employees’ work anniversaries. Once someone reaches their one year mark at Wistia, their manager highlights some of their achievements in front of the entire company. This type of internal recognition creates strong cultural capital that pays off internally and externally.

Recognizing your team’s efforts is one way to show that you value those traits. For example, encourage employees to participate in the hiring process themselves by having external candidates meet with multiple employees within the company. Your employees want to grow, contribute and support their team.

Make Your Business Discoverable

We’re all humans trying to make both a living and an impact. As a small company, it can be challenging to uncover where the best candidates like to spend their time. With thousands of job postings, recruiters eager to help and job fairs of all varieties, you likely don’t have the bandwidth or budget to get involved in all of these arenas. But by putting an emphasis on discoverability, you can ensure the right candidates will come to you directly.

At Wistia, naturally we use video to show candidates what it’s like to work here – from office tours, to employee-centric videos, to demoing the technology we use ourselves. We’re able to show off our personality in ways text just can’t convey. We’ve found that our video content is often brought up in interviews; it has become a humanizing asset that makes people want to join us. We use platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook to reach candidates and engage with them on the platforms that they’re already actively using. Being the top search result on a job site is not our No. 1 priority.

You too can attract committed top talent by highlighting your unique business, company culture and employees.