The Six Cs of Attracting Talent



When it comes to attracting the top tech talent, a lot of people keep talking about the same things. Namely, big exits and company valuation. But in truth, this is only one element. People consider several other elements beyond just these classifications. They think about how they’re getting to work, they think about the people they’re going to work for, and they think about the job they’ll be doing. We break it down into the Six Cs:

  • Company

Where does the company stand now? What are the prospects for the company? How cool or innovative is the product?

  • Culture

Do I like the people I’ll be working with? Do I feel like I fit in? This can be quite subjective: Some like a quiet, nose-to-the-grindstone environment, others value a certain energy.

  • Compensation

How much do I stand to make? This one’s fairly straightforward, but there is a balance in play between salary, bonus and equity.

  • Career advancement

What are the personal opportunities for me? Is this a place where I’ll be able to move up at the pace and to the level desired?

  • Chore

How much will I enjoy and be intellectually stimulated and challenged by the projects? Is it the level of management I desire?

  • Commute

How painful is the commute? Consider not just the time, but the method and difficulty. An hour plus commute probably is less painful if the person doesn’t have to drive or make multiple transfers. (Bonus if there’s onboard WiFi so they can get work done on the way to and from the office.) 

If I’m being interviewed, I’m always going to be considering these six things. Usually, I can immediately take two or three off the table; after all, I wouldn’t have agreed to the interview in the first place if there weren’t a few things already very interesting to me. But rarely is a job going to be 100-percent perfect, so if you’re hiring someone, you have to be aware that there’s going to be some trade off against the three or four other Cs in terms of what the candidate is after.

Is the person really much more interested in working in a different tech stack? Sell them on a great mentor within the company. Is there uncertainty in career progression? Tweak the compensation package for stability. Is the commute an issue? Offer flexible work hours and an option to work from home on occasion. There are a variety of combinations that you can tinker with to find the right fit for an individual. If you can take all six off the table, anyone would take any job anywhere.

As an example, think about a job offer for a really demanding, relatively low-level position for a so-so company in Gilroy–and you’re currently (happily) residing in San Francisco. You know for a fact it won’t be the most intellectually stimulating work, not to mention that it takes a minimum of 90 minutes of you sitting behind the wheel each way, so the chore and commute strain are both high. Was that a resounding “no” I heard? OK, how about I pay you a million dollars a year and fly you each way on a helicopter? That might change things.

Of course, not many companies can offer such a high salary or such a luxurious commute option, but you get the idea. You want to sell the things you can control, and understand the individual’s pain points. If you can weight some of the Cs heavily enough, you’ll have a better chance at attracting the desired talent to your company.



Image Credit CC: by Mark Anderson

About the author: Michael Morell

Michael A. Morell is cofounder and managing partner at Riviera, an executive and technical search firm.

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