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Recruiting Engineers at User Groups

I was at lunch the other day with a very skilled engineer and I was bemoaning the difficulty in finding skilled engineers to get involved in start-ups. My buddy responded that he would just go to tons of coding oriented meet-ups if he was doing a start-up and wanted to meet skilled, motivated junior engineers.

He had two great reasons why meetups are a great place to recruit for start-ups:

  • People that attend meetups for coding clearly think of coding as an avocation, and not simply a vocation.
  • People that attend meetups are probably single.
He made some great points. I don’t go to these meetups for the same reason that doing a start-up is hard: Family commitments. Finding engineers unencumbered by these is good for your start-up!

2 Responses to “Recruiting Engineers at User Groups”

  1. Steven Says:

    Wow… talk about alienating a large portion of the programming community, especially those who may be slightly older or have more experience. I’m not saying to *not* target those who attend meetups, that is awesome advice. I am saying that to imply you should go primarily after singles rather than married individuals also reduces the chances you have of finding experienced and knowledgeable talent (and could save you a *lot* of headaches down the road). You’d be surprised how many married people attend meetups.

    Also, be careful in your wording if you’re doing direct hiring. I bet there’s a case for equal employment opportunity lawsuits if you target and seek out singles over married individuals. I’d be much more comfortable with you seeking out employees willing to put in overtime often, work 60-70 hour weeks if needed, etc.

    I’m married, but there are *many* weeks when I’ll put in 60-70 hours a week if I’ve taken a week of vacation during the month, my family is okay with that. Don’t limit yourself by targeting only a subset of an already hard to get industry. Focus on your *needs* rather than what you *think* is the solution. You don’t need people who are single, you need people dedicated enough to work long days or weeks to get the product created *right* and out the door as quickly as possible.

  2. brent Says:

    If you read the rest of my material (and if we met in person!), you would know what a bigot I am for senior talent and avoiding the mistakes of youth, but despite a pretty deep rolodex of senior talent, the list of people that want to join me in my next adventure is fairly short. As my buddy put it: “The three M’s: mortgage, marriage, and maternity” make it very tough for people to join start-ups.

    All things being equal, I vastly prefer more experienced talent, but the point of this post was really this: the kinds of people that attend meetups and the kind of people who do start-ups make up a nice venn diagram: They have the time to invest in bettering themselves and they don’t view slinging code as something that stops when the quitting time bell rings.