If you’re a developer in Cambridge you’ve probably heard about Red Gate’s crazy offer: a free iPad if you interview for one of their Engineer roles, whether you get the job or not. Of course it’s not crazy at all compared to recruitment agency fees.
It’s a clever campaign because it gives the impression of a largesse that can afford to be abused (let’s apply just for the tablet!). In reality, Red Gate are in complete control of how many Apple vouchers get given away, carefully screening applicants pre-interview. The iPad is just a ruse to get the best candidates into the building, where they witness the company first hand, and perhaps end up with the dilemma of an attractive job offer in their mitts …
What impresses me more than the offer itself is how they have spread the word around. One Monday they bought Cambridge lunch by issuing an online voucher redeemable at eateries in the heart of business areas around the city. This carried the same feel of careless generosity as the iPad offer, with unlimited vouchers. And it was smart – there is only so much people can eat in one day, and the costs small compared to traditional advertising.
More importantly, the buzz that it created was palpable.
Whether people were grateful, suspicious, keen to game the system or just hungry, Red Gate’s target market (good developers already in jobs in Cambridge) ended up talking about the offer and the company. The idea spread virally. I got two free lunches and an ice-cream just from watching Twitter.
The news spread to the very centre of the community who needed to hear it.
And the news was not just information. It was an experience: in a free lunch, people were sampling something of the company’s culture of benefits, freedom and fun, right where they worked.
I love the way Red Gate do things. Last month I trained a load of Red Gate staff in how to write great blog posts, and more recently met their adroit Content Strategist Roger Hart (hurrah – there are now two of us in Cambridge). What strikes me about the company is that their values are carried by all of their members, even the new folk. That clever marketing was not just a strategic ruse: it was an extension of who they are and how they do things.
Here’s what you might have missed
Endis Solutions are recruiting developers too. We’re a much smaller company than Red Gate and can’t afford to buy you an iPad (besides, what do you need two for?). But that’s the crucial difference.
You can go and enjoy the culture of a larger organisation or you can get stuck in to creating the culture in a small one.
There are currently six of us at Endis Solutions. We build web sites for SMEs. We’re looking for a developer who has some flair and vision to come and make the company awesome.
Our culture so far involves finding genuinely good clients and building them genuinely useful web sites. We provide so much more than a site template, because we want our clients to succeed. We custom-build. We give business advice. We learn. We create stunning content and design. This means close collaboration between design, development and content, which you can do in a small company.
We’re smart – but it has to lead to something useful.
There are other things (like coffee, Spinal Tap and lunch at the Red Lion) but I hope you get the picture. We’re fun, we do good work, and we’re looking for a developer to come and be brilliant with us.
To create a big future like Red Gate’s – and beyond.
So here’s our bet: when you interview for the web developer role, we’ll offer you a job. If you’re good enough. No gimmicks, just a great role in a great company.
After all, you can’t eat an iPad.