You can recruit smart developers in a lot of ways, offering stock incentives, big salaries or cool perks. But Cheezburger — the fast-growing network of comedy Web sites — has another idea to win the hearts (and stomachs) of talented techies: cheeseburgers. In a recruiting stunt today, the Seattle startup plans to provide free Dick’s cheeseburgers to Amazon.com employees as they exit their company meeting at Seattle’s Key Arena.
A spokeswoman for Cheezburger says the company is currently talking to Dick’s — which operates a nearby restaurant in Seattle’s lower Queen Anne neighborhood — about how many cheeseburgers they can make in the next 90 minutes. She expects the company to give out as many as 300 cheeseburgers to departing Amazon workers.
Will the promotion work? Who knows.
But, I think with this stunt, we can declare that the software developer job market is officially overheated. (We’ve also seen startup companies like SEOMoz in recent weeks offer five figure bounties for key job referrals).
The demand for tech talent — particularly smart coders — is incredible. And it’s one of the reasons why we’ve seen a number of Silicon Valley firms — Facebook, Salesforce.com and Zynga to name a few — establish offices in the Seattle area in recent months.
Amazon.com is growing like a weed, expanding its headquarters in the South Lake Union neighborhood. And Microsoft continues to grow at a steady pace.
Free food has long been a tactic to recruit talented engineers, with Microsoft’s free soda pop perk probably setting off the trend. Google raised the game a bit with its top-notch executive chefs who provide free meals to Googlers as they code away.
Obviously, a startup like Cheezburger Network — even though it did just raise $30 million — doesn’t have the budget to hire a Tom Douglas or Wolfgang Puck caliber chef. So, Dick’s cheeseburgers will have to do for no.
Cheezburger, which employs 58 people and just this week purchased the Web site Know Your Meme, currently has 12 openings.