Strategies for Startups to Attract Top Tech Talent

Hiring top tech talent is not impossible for startups. The key is to lean into what makes your business stand out and use your agility to your advantage. In this blog post, you will learn 5 great strategies to attract top tech talent to your startup.


How can startups compete with big companies in the war for tech talent?

In an increasingly competitive environment, and with the average time to hire software developers now over 35 days at best, recruiting great tech talent is hard. 

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And it’s even harder for small businesses and start-ups with no track record of success and no established brand. So how can start-ups compete? 

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Talent attracting strategies for startups

Here are some of the most effective strategies startups can deploy to attract top tech talent:

Strategies-for-Startups to-Attract-Top-Tech-Talent

1. Culture is the key 

Developing a great company culture is a vital part of establishing a startup. It can also help in attracting top talent

If you cultivate a culture that appeals to techs, you can present your startup as a refreshing alternative to larger companies that are slow to respond to changes in employee needs.


Make sure your startup reflects the things that matter to tech talent:

One of the best ways to get people to buy into your culture is to allow them to literally do just that. Offering equity in the business not only helps people feel invested, but it also helps shore up one of the key weakness of a startup: job security.

Venture-backed startups generally offer 10% – 20% of the total shares. This sort of incentive will give the new hire an investment that they might not get in a larger business.

2. Stand out from the crowd

You can stand out from the crowd by offering techs, and specifically developers, the opportunity to work in the way they want to. In a recent poll by Stack Overflow, while Javascript is the most used technology among developers, the language known as Python is the most highly desired.

If you want to attract the top tech talent, find out what they want and see how you can align those desires to your business needs.

Tech experts can afford to be picky, so it's important to play to your strengths. Demonstrate the influence a position in a startup can bring.

Tech directors in startups can make a big impact on shaping the company’s future. They are able to pursue their vision without having to do battle against the forces of bureaucracy. Many established tech experts often move from big corporate to startups for this very reason.

But, it isn't just the established talent you should be going after…

3. Target the up and coming talent

Tech and STEM skills are on the rise in education. As such, many graduates have the tech skills a startup needs. With campus recruiting, you can set up relationships with top universities and offer internships to graduates. That way, you can get the inside track on the fresh new talent.

Over 50% of software developers have been coding for less than 8 years and have less than 5 years of professional experience. This is part of the reason why experienced developers are so hard to find: they are in the minority.

The opportunity for businesses is to create spaces to cultivate new talent and invest early in developers. While they lack professional development, the survey reinforces the belief that developers love coding.

Over 80% enjoy coding as a hobby and almost all professional developers learn new skills informally. Most commonly, this is through online courses and community events, like hackathons.

When looking for new candidates, look beyond the CV and work experience. Extracurricular activities and portfolio work should be taken into consideration with more weight than other roles. This may reveal much more about your candidate than you might think.

4. Get the word out

For years, networking has been used to secure talent. Word of mouth continues to be a cheap and effective way to source tech experts.

Your first port of call should be your staff. Do what you can to foster positive word-of-mouth about your company and team. A beneficial referral program will encourage your employees to reach out through their personal networks for you.


Spend some time visiting tech events and conferences. These events are designed to share ideas and network with leading tech talent. You should also bear in mind that not all techs work in Tech. In fact, only around 20% of techs work specifically in web development or a similar vocation.

All industries need tech these days, so when you're looking for places to network, bear that in mind. Financial service, media, healthcare, consultancies… these are just a few of the diverse range of industries tech pros are working in. The more hands you can shake, the more opportunities you create.

Extra tip for attracting tech talent: Avoid traditional job boards

It's very unlikely that you'll find leading tech talent on the Monsters and Indeeds of the world. There are two reasons for this. 

Firstly, there are many tech-specific recruiters out there who have relationships with leading companies with a need for tech talent.

Secondly, the tech community is very tight and many tech experts get new positions through colleague referral. This is part of the reason why getting the word out is so important.

GitHub, Stack Overflow and Unicorn Hunt are great resources for discovering software developers, designers and startup veterans in locations around the world.

At GitHub you will find tech-savvy developers and Unicorn Hunt has a huge talent pool with a startup focus.

Hiring top tech talent IS possible for startups!

Hiring top tech talent is not impossible for startups. The key is to lean into what makes your business stand out and use your agility to your advantage

Find out more about the people you want to hire and start exploring their communities for future opportunities.

About the author

The article was produced by Montash, a leading global technology recruitment company helping to find the very best talent within Information Security, DevOps, SAP, Cloud Computing, and other IT specialisms.

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