I launched my business a year ago and it’s heavily technology led in both its proposition and how it’s run. Up until now I’ve been able to use automated systems efficiently and haven’t needed to take on staff, but I’m looking to expand and now want to take on a programmer. However, I just can’t find anyone with the relevant skills. Short of employing a head-hunter to poach someone from a competitor, where can I continue the search for a suitable recruit?
Michael Stephanblome writes:
Technical talent is difficult to find and increasingly expensive, especially in the UK. The main reasons for this are the ever-increasing demands for highly skilled people from companies of all sizes, together with the relatively small number of well-trained graduates coming out of universities in the UK, compared to the market need.
The best source to find good people is still word-of-mouth and recommendations but if your network does not extend into the coding community, it can take a long time for the right person to find you.
A good starting point would be the classified sites like Gumtree, Vivastreet and Craigslist where placing a job ad is very cheap or even free, so you have the widest range of skills and experience on offer. But that’s also a problem! You often have to look through tons of unsuitable CVs before you find someone great.
Online marketplaces for programming – such as odesk.com, elance.com or rentacoder.com – are always worth putting into the recruitment mix. With these, a tried and trusted way of moving forward would be to start by posting a small test project that should help to identify a good programmer. Remember, the more precise your brief, the better the responses will be.
If that works well and you are relatively confident that he/she has the right skills, you can offer a full-time position. You can also get a good impression of the market rates for various skills. Location can be a challenge as many of these freelancers are in remote locations around the globe but the quality is out there, if you can manage the distance. You might be lucky and find a UK-based coder who is ready to move into a salary job.
Another strategy is to go to meetings of coder user groups, either online or offline that focus on a particular language and there you can get to know some of the members. Finally, you could place an ad in one of the more established IT job boards in the UK such as cwjobs.co.uk or jobserve.com. They are more expensive but have a greater selection of qualified candidates. As always, there is no guarantee that you will find the right person but it can increase your chances.
Michael Stephanblome is the co-founder and CEO of
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