I'm a developer, worked at Indeed and Instacart. I'm pretty good at what I do and I get recruited a lot. Here's are some basic mistakes that I've seen and some tips that I think that non-technical people can use to recruit a technical person.
Oh boy this is a big one. A lot of people underestimate how critical engineers think and how easily we can sense bullshit. If you're in marketing or in sales, you tend to be pretty flexible in how you pitch ppl. But engineers are people with rigid and stubborn values. Not morals necessarily, values. Coupled with high egos, if we see that you change your pitch on us like 3-4 times during a conversation, that gets interpreted as tricking us. Don't do it. Have a strong sense of your own values, write them down and stick to them. Don't just try to make the sale happen with every engineer. Find the right engineer for you.
"I can handle the business side"
If you say this to me, goodbye. If you show me this attitude, conversation's over. Engineers tend to be treated like tools in the industry, from job search and in the job, restricting what we can do to just coding. It's a long fight to get to the point where we can breathe and do the things we want to work on, to have responsibility and leadership. If an engineer is looking to join a startup or found one, this feeling is so strong that we would rather throw away our $300k packages (yup that parts true) and make no money for years. We want to learn the marketing, the business. We want the leadership and responsibility. Don't promise to take that away from us.
Recruiting me when I don't want to be recruited, where I don't want to be recruited
Recruiting me over Linkedin is a terrible idea. Simply b/c if you found me on Linkedin, I'm probably focusing on my career in industry. If that's the case, I either really like my job or I value money more than side projects. If you can offer me more of either of those, go for it. But if you're reading this on IH, you probably can't. So don't recruit on LI. Seriously, stop. Please.
Ghosting me or treating me poorly
Engineers tend to be used to poor treatment, from peers and esp. from non-engs. But I tend to get ghosted or just have very negative interactions with people who are shopping founders. This is recruitment 101, don't do it.
From an engs perspective, I get recruited from companies offering me insane amounts of money and benefits and I still won't give them a second chance if they ghost me or lie to me.
Can you offer anything even remotely close compared to that? If you can't, you better be a YC Partner or someone with similar clout. Like @csallen or @damon can ghost me all day I'll still respond to them in 1 min.
Offer long-term friendship
This is a lonely road, don't tell me you can't use more friends? Engs tend to be not well socialized and introverted, just straight up say "I just want to be friends, check in now and then and just shoot the sh*t, is that cool?" I'd say yes to that.
Offer powerful, unfair advantages
Here's a few:
a. Strong network: either you've been in YC, went to Stanford, even if you can show that Rob Walling follows you on Twitter. You have powerful people that are willing to do stuff for you.
b. You have an audience that's bought software from you before. You have an email list, rolodex, or phone numbers of people that have bought software from you. It doesn't even have to be software, it can be an ebook, email course, just something where you have their trust.
c. You know how to growth hack. This one is a little harder to prove and engs tend to be a little skeptical about this, but for the engs that understand the value of it and the ppl who are willing to teach them, it's incredibly valuable.
For any other questions or feedback, please reach out [email protected]. Like I said, let's be friends :).