Recruiting and Training Talent

By Deane Barker on June 2, 2008

Developing Your Own Technical Talent: David Gammel has some comments how to make sure you keep up the technical talent on your team.

The key to success is to design your positions and professional development program to enable you to develop an entry level person and then promote them in place. This eventually develops the skill set you need while enhancing your chance of retaining the person after they have been trained.

We struggle with this at Blend. We’re based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which, thanks to some liberal banking laws, is also home to lots of credit card issuers. These outfits have big IT departments and they suck up developers like a sponge.

This means that competition for development talent in this town is intense. We got our last hire locally, but the prior two we moved in here from Sioux City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

We do train up, but the problems with this are (1) time, and (2) sometimes you need someone better than you are. This is the spot we’re in right now — we need a .Net developer who is a rock star right out of the gate, and who knows more than we do. I know quite a bit about .Net, so we’re looking for someone awfully good, which is tough to do locally given the inbred limitation I described above.

Add to this the fact that Sioux Falls is not a town that people general think about moving to. If you’re swimming in development talent, you more than likely have your pick of cities warmer and bigger than Sioux Falls, so we often lose out.

Recruiting is our biggest struggle. I’ve maintained from the start that recruiting and training talent will be the ultimate key to the long-term success of this company.