How to Attract and Retain Tech Talent

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Fewer foosball tables, more stability. Is that the key to attracting top talent as a startup in the tech community? 

It appears to be working for VidMob, a startup known for combining human analysis and AI to determine the effectiveness of advertising creative in-market in real time.

Since its founding in 2015, VidMob has placed an emphasis on human creativity, with the belief that human intelligence is the key to success. Now, the company is using that same approach to attract talent in the highly competitive Silicon Valley market. The company was recently named one of the best places to work by Ad Age, and it made Forbes’ list of America’s Best Startup Employers in 2022.

With surveys finding as many as 80% of tech workers considering switching jobs this year, and more than half of workers saying they’ve applied for another job in the past month, employee retention has become a hot-button issue.

VidMob Founder and CEO Alex Collmer says his company’s secret sauce for attracting top talent has been a combination of three essential elements, starting with VidMob’s reputation for being a “purpose-driven” company. Building a software platform that brings the creative and data sides of the tech industry together, and working to develop the “Salesforce of Creative Operations,” has been a “big swing” that VidMob uses to its advantage to attract qualified applicants. Collmer says there’s a certain type of tech professional who is up for the challenge, and that’s the exact type of person he’s looking to recruit. 

The second component in VidMob’s strategy for attracting top talent has to do with VidMob Gives, the company’s foundation. VidMob Gives works with hundreds of charities. Collmer says having a charitable foundation has helped the company attract employees with a passion for giving and helping others. 

The third step in Collmer’s approach to attracting and retaining talent has to do with actively searching for people who share a common set of values. 

“The tech industry is going through a period where many of the most talented people are asking themselves whether the things that they are doing are actually helping the world. This period of introspection has led a lot of truly incredible people to our doorstep, as they seek something more meaningful to dedicate their talents to,” Collmer says. 

Autonomy over freebies

Creating a fun work environment with ping pong and foosball tables might help attract workers, but it won’t keep them around. Collmer believes keeping a team focused on a single vision is more important than extra perks and freebies.

“Our view is that a fun work environment is a bunch of talented people treating each other kindly and challenging themselves every day to solve a problem so hard that only they can solve it,” he says.

Benefits are an important tool in helping people feel valued by the organizations that employ them, but benefits alone are not enough. Any company can offer things like flexible work schedules, unlimited vacation days, and paid health insurance premiums. But Collmer says his hope is that people choose VidMob because they enjoy solving hard problems, they appreciate being trusted and given autonomy, and they know they have unwavering support that gives them the stability not to fear a bad day. 

“We view the perks more as a way of saying thanks than as a retention tool,” he says. “We’ve set out on an ambitious journey, but we have an unusually talented group of people.”

​​Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.