There are 55,000+ Professional Developers in London, but your Start-up is still struggling to recruit.
CEOs, MDs and Founders consistently cite hiring quality Developers as one of their top three challenges in 2017. There are a few good reasons but we make it more complicated than it has to be. Let's get them out in the open and see what we can do to redress the balance.
You don't know your front end from your apps
Not everybody in the world of Tech Start-ups is technical, and thats ok. But it's important that you are honest to yourself and others about your ability and understanding of the technology that is used to build/maintain your products/services. Invest some time in to learning.
If necessary, hire a technical recruitment agency or consultant to source the right candidates. It may seem expensive at first glance, especially if you are running lean or bootstrapping but using an expert that A) Knows what they are looking for (personal traits and technical skills, experience, ability) and B) Has an established network, will save you money in the long-term. Hiring them yourself could leave you open to a whole world of trouble further down the line.
You only recruit when you need to
Whether you realise it or not, your business is a lot like Wimbledon. Despite the main event (in your case, hiring) being relatively infrequent, or even annual, the work you need to do in-between needs to remain constant to attract the best talent.
Throughout the year at Wimbledon there is a small army of staff from groundsmen and groundswomen to I.T. making sure that Wimbledon is an attractive place for players to come. The groundsmen and groundswomen keep the grass at exactly(!) 8mm and the I.T team make sure the infrastructure is able to accommodate the 500,000 on-site visitors, presenters, players, coaches, physios, doctors and TV crews.
Beyond establishing a culture (and I don't mean Friday beers, pizzas and beanbags) that has your current team talking to their network about how great it is to work at your company, there are other things you can do.
The companies that have less of a headache when they are looking to source new candidates often run hackathons and/or regular meet-ups for Developers (note: these often do involve pizza, beers and beanbags). Created with a single goal in mind, they bring Developers together to solve, or discuss, a particular issue. Not only is it a chance for the Developers to demonstrate their skills, ability and to network with other Developers, it's an opportunity to showcase the environment you provide for your team (and it's amazing, right?).
You're hiring in your likeness
It's not your fault. It's human nature. Regardless of organisation size, most hiring managers fall foul of hiring a likeness of themselves. Or in the case of Austin Powers - a Mini-me.
While it's all fun-and-games in the beginning, you aren't going to drive the business forward. You've been lazy. You've hired someone you can talk about <insert topic> with. You've hired someone you can go to the pub and have a <insert drink> with.
Grow some (metaphorical) balls. Hire someone who thinks differently. Hire someone who will challenge you. Want to know a little secret? Large corporations often lack innovation and ability to 'pivot' purely because they have a platoons of mini-me's working for a hierarchy of 'me-in-5-years'.
The big boys pay more than you
This is true, and it is always going to be the case until you are at the top yourself.
Now strap on your big-boy pants; get using skilled Resourcers, building a great environment and hiring talent that isn't a mini-me.