What’s your best tip for small businesses trying to recruit top tech talent?
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Tell candidates upfront what sets you apart.

Roger LeeYou won’t be able to compete with the tech giants when it comes to salary or perks, so what can you offer? Do you have more flexibility around creative, experimental projects? Does your business operate in an industry that has a compelling mission? Do your employees get a lot more say in major business decisions than they would at a corporation? Tell candidates upfront what sets you apart. – Roger Lee, Captain401

2. Make yourself irresistible.

Diego OrjuelaDon’t focus your energy hunting talent and convincing them how wonderful your company is to bring them on board. Make yourself incredibly irresistible as a company first. Be the absolute best in your market. Genuinely build a company that great people will be attracted to. Smart talent will want to join winning teams and will do their own research. If you prove yourself, then the talent will follow. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

3. Attend college job fairs.

Zach BinderFind local universities and participate in their job fairs. You’ll be able to meet and greet these prospects that could be your future tech team. They are searching for jobs and you are searching for talent, so it’s a great matchmaking opportunity. – Zach Binder, Ipseity, Inc

4. Regularly scour freelance job sites.

Angela RuthStay on top of who joins tech freelance sites around the world with alert settings to learn about who is available and looking for projects. This is a great way for both you and the tech talent to try each other out before committing to a bigger relationship. – Angela Ruth, Due

5. Focus on culture and advancement.

Michael SpinosaSmall businesses trying to recruit top talent need to create an exciting environment to work in, where they can be transparent in all aspects of their lives. Being able to demonstrate this — along with your plans for how the business will grow and what the future opportunities can be for top tech talent, from a career perspective — is a winning recipe. – Michael Spinosa, Unleashed Technologies

6. Bring in a security expert.

 Firas KittanehOne thing most small business owners neglect is having strong cybersecurity measures in place. When recruiting top tech talent, remember to bring someone onboard who can also help you upgrade and maintain the security of your website, as well as the privacy of your business intelligence and user information. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

7. Allow for flexibility.

Raymond KishkWe found a great way of recruiting top talent: being flexible! Does this employee need to work from the office five days a week? We had great experience letting people work during times that work best for them. Our greatest employee joined our team because we were flexible enough to allow him to work three times a week when starting. He had personal issues he needed to resolve. He now works full-time!  – Raymond Kishk, Interstate Air Conditioning & Heating

8. Embrace a remote workforce.

Chris Van DusenThere are a few hot spots for tech talent like San Francisco, Austin, Texas and L.A. Many talented tech hires are distributed across the country that are perfectly happy staying there. Typically, if you are willing to allow a remote workforce you can grab top talent without making them relocate. This is beneficial to the new hire and, depending on where your company is based, the economics may work better. – Chris Van Dusen, Parcon Media

9. Check their references.

Daisy JingCheck their references. The best way to know that whatever an applicant says is true is by checking their work references. Ask questions about what they do and, from there, see if it matches the skills and qualities they say they have. – Daisy Jing, Banish

10. Go to the source.

Murray NewlandsGo to the tech talent instead of waiting for them to find you. Visit colleges and universities, hackathons, incubators and trade shows to mingle with this talent and find out if you can find a match for your company. I’ve found the best people this way. – Murray Newlands, Sighted

11. Offer a chance to grow.

Stan Garber headshotKegs and ping pong tables are awesome, but get to the heart of what top tech recruits really want when it comes to a new position — a chance to grow. By providing opportunities for personal and professional development, and making their path to success clear, you can woo those tech pros who are looking for more than just a day job. – Stan Garber, Scout RFP

12. Make the work interesting.

Vik PatelThe most capable developers and tech talent crave work that challenges them and gives them an opportunity to expand their horizons. If you can promise work that’s challenging, original and pushes beyond the boundaries of what’s already been done, it’s possible to catch the eye of the most valuable tech talent, even if you aren’t a Google or Facebook. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting