The topic has come up recently about how to get new young developers involved in the FileMaker development community. Since I have a strategy that has worked well for me I thought I’d share it and see if anyone could benefit.
The insight for my strategy came to me as I was working in a nonprofit I help with in the area, called Young Life. They work with college students, getting them involved in the lives of high school students, helping them be a positive influence in their lives and developing a sense of purpose in both groups.
As part of the work I am exposed to a a large number of college students at the time they are exploring their career choice and I realized I had an opportunity. In my work I meet with a number of them as part of the program program and I started asking them if any of them had friends from young life in the computer science field. The great feature of this smaller sample set is that the candidates are already pre-screened for qualities I find valuable in an associate, empathy, strong moral character and an ability to communicate.
Out of this realization has been born a program, each year I select a candidate and mentor them through their sophomore, junior and senior school years. They intern with us over the summer (I run them through a standard training program to gain industry familiarity) and learn how the community and the consulting business works. Their senior year I meet with them weekly and talk through their career opportunities and if all goes well, we offer them a job upon graduation. They get a great job, we get a great employee and the development community picks up a new advocate and participant.
We are into our 2nd round and will be beginning our third and it is working great from my perspective. One new employee a year may not be the pace that is needed for all firms, and my investment is high, weekly meetings with candidates before hiring them. However the meetings are an investment in the overall quality of the life of a great college student and is part of my regular mentoring investment so it isn’t a burden.
If you have an investment in a nonprofit that works with younger folks, and you can leverage those relationships to help not only guide but train college kids in opportunities, it is a chance to provide a great career choice they may not have on their radar.
I hope my experiences can help someone else learn a new strategy and improve their talent attraction options.