Why Your Start-up Needs an Engineering Blog

Code as Craft

As a tech startup, you’ll need all the help you can get to attract software engineers and web developer talent. You need to somehow differentiate yourself from all the other companies out there looking to hire the same profile, not to mention the likes of established companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, among others.

To make matters worse, most of the top engineers are not actively looking and they are certainly not scanning the plethora of job descriptions out there.

This is why I’m a fan of engineering blogs as a differentiator for startups. How is an engineering blog going to help you with recruiting? It’s a very effective and subtle way to attract candidates by showcasing your company’s technology, people, and engineering culture. For instance, it can highlight the technologies being used at the company, the types of technical challenges candidates might help solve, and the personalities of the engineering team and culture of the company.

Let’s take a look at three strong examples:

Etsy A marketplace for handmade and vintage goods? Doesn’t sound too techno savvy. But wait. Once you dive deep into Code as Craft, Etsy’s engineering blog, you will see a world full of blog posts talking about big data, scaling, MongoDB, and Hadoop. In addition, you’ll notice that Etsy is committed to having its team learn from other experts in the industry via its Etsy Speaker Series.

Etsy tracks the number of referrals, interviews, and hires that originate in its blog. Although the company doesn’t share specific details, it does say the numbers are significant. It also stresses the importance of having the blog “speak with the voice of the engineering culture behind it” and thus…it’s critical to have established a great engineering culture in the first place.

Airbnb Airbnb raised $112 million this past summer and it is one of the fastest-growing web companies. Its Nerd Blog takes you deep into a variety of technical factors that make Airbnb tick, such as improving search performance, and MySQL in the cloud. Sharing this information with the general engineering community is very positive, as this content is very useful for everyone. Remember, as with most things in life… the more you give, the more you get in return.

Wayfair Wayfair is a rapidly-growing e-commerce company in Boston. It recently launched an engineering blog for a couple of reasons. For one, Wayfair executives have learned a lot from other engineering blogs and this was a great way for them to give back. They also agreed that an engineering blog allows them to promote the engineering strength of the company, which in turn helps attract top talent.

The two biggest barriers for most companies in terms of setting up an engineering blog are time and content. We are all busy with constant demands and deadlines, but it can be worthwhile if your company creates a buzz in the engineering community as a top place to work.

I recommend you spread out the content creation across multiple team members and assign realistic goals to keep a continuous stream of content. Aim for at least one new post on the blog per week. Have fun, and show the personality of your company. A blog is only effective if it has fresh material, which keeps people coming back for more. Perhaps switch up the content by posting a video highlighting a recent event at your company or pictures of your team.

Over time, those followers of your blog just might end up being your next employees.

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After spinning our wheels for months on a few key Product searches, we engaged Dissero.  Eric and Keith did an excellent job delivering high-quality, interested candidates who fit our requirements and our culture.  We have worked with many agencies; Dissero is top-of-the-heap when it comes to delivering results efficiently.  They’ll be our first call next time we have a tough search.

Matt Zisow, COO
CustomMade

“Dissero empowered us to recruit high quality critical hires without taking too much time away from running our business. Their services are invaluable for any start-up going through a hyper growth phase.”

Hayley Barna, Co-Founder
Birchbox

“Keith and Eric possess a focus that is unmatched in the Boston tech community for product and marketing focused hires. We worked with their team to fulfill a very specific product profile that quite frankly would be difficult to find in our ecosystem. They helped us nab the most exemplary candidate that exists. Period. We are so pumped now to have not only a new, totally kick-ass co-worker alongside us, but an awesome talent finding duo in Keith and Eric. We plan on working with them for years to come for our recruiting needs. These guys rock and they make me very proud.”

Ryan Durkin, COO
Dailybreak

“Dissero is an exceptional recruiting partner which operates with the highest level of integrity and values.  WordStream relies on Dissero for filling many of our most critical and strategic roles including a recent successful search for a VP of Product.  Without fail, every candidate we see has been well vetted and meets the core requirements of the role, and most importantly is a great culture fit for our company.”

Ralph Folz, CEO
WordStream

“Dissero has been a valuable partner in sourcing several key senior members for our marketing, sales, and product teams.  They’re very effective at understanding our needs and culture, and they make the interview process efficient by sending us highly qualified candidates.  They also provide helpful assistance throughout the process of closing candidates and ensuring a successful transition into the business.”

Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder & CEO
Care.com
Quotes from the Blogosphere prev next

“On one hand, of course, you’re joining a startup for the upside.  Not just financial upside, but also the upside of making an impact in an organization, working in small teams with other exceptional people, involvement with cutting-edge technology, and working with other motivated people.”

David Beisel, NextView Ventures
Blog: GenuineVC

“The difference between an A team and an A+ team is the difference between a million in revenue and a billion in revenue.”

Paul English - Founder & CTO, Kayak
Quote from an OnStartups.com blog post

“Startups don’t succeed with people who deliver at a minimum acceptable level. “

Eric Paley, Founder Collective
Blog: Anything's Possible

“It’s all about the team – The first 25 hires at a startup are CRITICAL! They will set your culture. They will be the reason you reach (or fail to reach) your milestones. They will be responsible for hiring everyone else.”

Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital
Blog: Redeye VC

“People and Product are the two most important things a company has.”

Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures
Blog: AVC