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Beyond Compensation: Recruiting for Developers and Dev Companies Dana Oshiro

Last year 19-year-old Cornell engineer Jessica Shu published what some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies are paying their interns. Within a few hours the post was at the top of HackerNews and had been republished by Betabeat with hundreds of comments. Whether you like it or not, the Bay Area’s influx of new startups has given rise to a recruiting frenzy and even interns and junior employees are in high demand.

Resources like Angel List’s Salary and Equity Data and Wealthfront’s Salary and Equity Compensation Calculator prove useful in helping startups determine their compensation packages. Nevertheless, in a recent Heavybit Speaker Series Presentation, Greylock Talent Partner Dan Portillo argues that compensation isn’t everything.

Building Your Story: It’s Not Always About the Money

Portillo argues that your company’s technical problems, ability to connect to an industry changing narrative, and ability to offer employee autonomy are as important as salary, benefits and equity. Says Portillo, “Lead with how you change or revolutionize an industry. How do you create a story that makes sense and resonates? You’re ultimately trying to get people to care. How do you get them to care about your particular problem?

For startups who don’t have deep pockets, the organizational mission and story is where founders can truly compete for candidates. Rather than letting a hiring manager use an investor-style deck to pitch prospective employees, companies need to design a compelling storyline tailored to that candidate’s interests, work style, and personal philosophy. Portillo also offers that companies should hold back on making an offer until that storyline is well-defined in the mind of the candidate.

The Health of Your Strategy

Portillo believes if your company has less than 75% close rate on offers sent, your recruiting process is very likely broken. By the time a candidate receives an offer, they should be well-versed in your origin story and work culture, and extremely engaged in the organization. For more info, check out Portillo’s video.

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