Nate Good

Software Engibeering: Recruiting Revisted

One of my many responsibilities at ShowClix is to recruit software engineer folk for the team. It's one of my favorite and yet most frustrating tasks. If your name isn't Google or Facebook, if you aren't located in "the valley", if your pockets aren't infinitely deep, recruiting talented engineers can be a challenge.

Even in a down economy software engineering remains a "recession-proof" job. The good software engineers are working. This is most evident by the fact that the applicant list for our Software Engineer position is only a fraction of the size of the 800 or so new applicants competing for our recent Customer Care Representative opening.

The Usual Approach

There are two common options when it comes to hiring a software engineer:

While the latter option may work great for some companies, I personally find the business model behind recruiting agencies fundamentally flawed (but that's for another blog article). For this and other reasons I tend to stay away from them.

As a result, we've historically went with the route of posting on various free and paid job boards. Résumés would trickle in – with most of the candidates being what I like to call "extra mediocre". We'd sift through the candidates, send out a "code puzzle" or setup a phone screen with the folks we thought looked promising, and eventually bring a couple of people in for an on-site.

The process was long, ineffective, and costly. Hiring should be an exciting time for a small company but with this approach it became monotonous. For this reason, when it came time to hire another software engineer, we decided to try something a bit different.

Beer Me

Instead of shelling out the $300 to $400 per job listing, we decided we'd take that money and invest it in something that was a little more fun: beer. We would throw a free event for like minded tech folk in the area to meet the ShowClix team, see the offices, and drink some delicious local craft brew. Seeing as we're in the business of helping people throw successful events, we figured if anyone could pull it off, it should be us.

The Goals

The Strategy

The Results

We came up just short of our goal of 50 people but were quite pleased with the turnout. A few of the takeaways from our engibeering event:

All in all, we chalked it up as a win. We met a lot of bright, talented locals and found some quality candidates for our job opening. Best of all, the whole team had a ton of fun doing it. I'm hoping that this can become a regular occurrence.

UPDATE We just finished our most competitive round of hiring and we're happy to announce @tomschlick will be joining the ShowClix team. Pleased with our Engibeering experiment. My only regret is that I couldn't hire a few more of this round's candidates. Cheers!