How To Use Cows And Limos To Lure Great Programmers

Google HQ campus

The talent wars in the tech industry are legendary.

Even though debate rages over whether the tech talent shortage is real or a myth in terms of raw numbers, tech companies know this: good programmers and good designers are definitely hard to find.

So they’ve gone to some pretty crazy lengths to find them.

A bicycle, an Iron Man 2 Deluxe Helmet and ... a cow

In 2011, New York company Amicus, which helps non-profits raise money, was looking to hire some programmers.

It offered a long list of perks, NextWeb reported: $2,000 in cash, a full-year supply of Counter Culture Coffee, a local gym membership, an iPad 2 (for prototyping), an Iron Man 2 Deluxe Helmet, an unlimited supply of your favourite beer, a fixed gear bicycle and a cow.

Yes, a cow.

The cow would be donated in the programmer's name to Heifer.org, which provides livestock to impoverished nations.

A paid-for vacation

It's trendy for companies these days to offer employees 'unlimited vacation.'

But Airbnb, a site that lets people rent out their spare rooms, goes it one step better. It pays for at least one vacation with an annual $2,000 travel stipend.

Bands, games and unlimited storage

File sharing site Dropbox is able to offer its employees a unique perk: All-you-can-eat storage in the cloud.

For many a geek, unlimited storage is a very big deal.

But wait, there's more. Dropbox also lures them with free breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, a complete music studio equipped with drums, P.A., amplifiers, and a lot of gaming.

It offers 'Starcraft, dedicated game rooms, DDR (yep, a real machine)' in addition to the usual ping pong tournaments.

Perks for after you die

The billboard challenge

Last month, one exit North of SFO, a billboard was posted with a challenge for developers.

It asked them to write a program that comes up with the shortest commuting route for a bunch of tech companies in San Francisco. That submission also acted like a job application for the companies including Mashery, Flurry, New Relic and Glassdoor.

The billboard was the brainchild of CodeEval. It comes up with lots of funky games to lure developers for companies like Modcloth, BitTorrent and others.

Free gourmet dinners for a year

When, Munchery, a San Francisco company that delivers gourmet meals, was looking for an iOS developer, it offered a perk to anyone who could help it: free food.

'Like every other company and your Aunt Sally, we're looking to hire an iOS Engineer,' Munchery explained in its blog. 'Anyone who refers an iOS engineer to us that we end up hiring, gets free Munchery dinners for a year! (Note: if you are an awesome engineer and reach out to us directly and get hired, we'd be more than happy to hand those free dinners to you!)'

$30,000

HubSpot, a marketing software company, also tried a bounty program. It offered $30,000 to anyone who brought the company a developer or designer.

Once hired, the developer is treated to a startup culture so unusual, a Harvard professor is studying it.

Unlimited limo rides

Uber, a car transportation startup, offers employees free, unlimited car service. They can even use Ubers to commute to work for free.

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