We got most of our top talent from two companies (Maxim and Linear Technology) in our industry that were the equivalent of Apple, Google, and Facebook.
We knew we weren't going to pay higher salaries than Maxim and Linear. Indeed, most of the people that joined us from Maxim and Linear took pay cuts.
We knew that even with the stock options we were offering, while generous, were not enough of an incentive to get people to work for us.
Yet, we were very successful recruiting from Maxim and Linear. How did we do it?
A. You need to give your new recruits something they can’t get at Facebook or Google.
Sometimes, the allure of helping build a company from scratch can be enough. However, many times that’s not enough. You need more.
You need to actively listen to what concerns the person you’re recruiting has with the existing company. For example, we learned that in one division of Maxim, engineers weren’t being given the autonomy they were used to previously having.
Allowing engineers to be autonomous fit with our culture, so it was an easy sell to explain how we operated differently than Maxim. That lead to us being able to hire many engineers.
Maybe you can be more flexible than Google? For example, we were able to hire Greg, one of the best Analog engineers in our industry, because he wanted the flexibility to take more time off than Maxim was allowing him to take.
You get the idea. Use your creativity and see how you can accommodate your potential employees.
B. You need a great team.
You’re trying to poach talent from Apple, Google, and Facebook. These are the best of the best companies in the world.
Top talent from these companies is used to working with really great people. You and your co-founders had better be really impressive or your chances of recruiting the best are really low.
C. You need a great story to tell.
You and your team are credible. That’s a great start, but it’s not enough.
You need more. Specifically, you need a great idea and business opportunity that’s going to resonate with the top talent you’re trying to attract.
This gets you in the ball game. But the top talent you are recruiting is already working for a great company with a great story.
This leads to the key point…
The interesting thing about recruiting the best employees from the best companies is that offering more money and equity is usually not a winning strategy. It’s more about providing your new recruits a quality of experience they can’t get from Apple, Google, or Facebook.
Yes, that's a really high bar to jump over, but it can be done.
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