If you don’t know it yet, it is major-league hard to hire software engineers right now…

If you don’t know it yet, it is major-league hard to hire software engineers right now. This problem is not just a Valley, NYC, St. Louis or RTP problem. It is an everywhere problem, which could be partially solved through immigration reform and a new approach to teaching computer science.

(Let’s leave that for another day.)

For a software startup, this is literally a game-breaking kinda problem.

What are you going to do about it?

Put up an ad on Craigslist, cause it’s free? Good luck with that.

With my role in The Startup Factory here in Durham, NC and our pay-it-forward attitudes in our ecosystem, we get asked EVERY DAY for connections to talent.

In fact, I get asked so many times that I created a generic answer in a Notepad file that sits on my desktop that I can easily cut & paste to an inbound email.

With this in mind, I ask you again, “what are you going to do about it” or said another way, “how are you going to compete for talent”…?

The first thing I want you to do is to avoid shooting yourself in the foot. This usually comes when you find someone and make him or her a crappy offer. As a startup, we both know that you are low on cash – but you are rich in equity.

Your first hire is supposed to help you move the company in a huge way. So, recruit them by offering them 0.2% of the company? BIG MISTAKE.

Almost every option plan has a 1 year cliff to vesting the options, so offer them a realistic equity grant that gets them interested and wait for the magic. If you don’t see it within a year, part ways. If they do move the company forward, it will be the best investment you ever made.