The trend is undeniable. Tech companies hailing from San Francisco and Silicon Valley are setting up shop in Vancouver to gain access to our strong talent base.

The list continues to grow: Asana, Brex, Dialpad, Grammarly,, Lyft, Postmates, Segment, Tigera, Tile, and Zenefits. Of course there are also the big brands: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Samsung.

This trend shouldn’t surprise anyone. The strongest economic argument in Vancouver’s pitch to Amazon to build their HQ2 here was that the city’s tech workers have the “lowest wages of all North American tech hubs.”

The well-circulated 50-page bid proposal became required reading for anyone on the West Coast that had been tasked with seemingly impossible recruitment numbers.

The fact is Vancouver is an affordable option for U.S. companies looking for an engineering footprint outside of their hometown headquarters. Foreign direct investment in Vancouver is on the rise.

But what can Vancouver’s startups and scaleups do to prevent their valuable employees from being poached while continuing to grow their full-time employee count in a market with rising salaries?

While compensation is clearly important and it will likely continue to increase, Techcouver chatted with recruitment consultant and Rectxt co-founder Bradley Clark, about what companies can do for free to help them compete:

1. Make hiring everyone’s priority. It can be as simple as having hiring managers schedule interviews around candidate’s schedules, and even go to them for coffee. Have a painless interview process with as few of steps as possible and when you find the right person, be decisive. Another round of interviews is a great way to lose a candidate.

2. Build a strong feeder program. Build relationships with the universities, colleges, coding boot camps and build your co-op, internship and returnship programs with meaningful work and ideally turn them into employees. ( What’s a returnship?)

3. Get creative, and create a culture which supports working from home, flexible hours and even explore compressed work weeks and sub full-time options. Being flexible can also be key for helping attract moms back into the work force, who are an under-utilized talent pool.

4. Hire and promote managers who are people developers. They will naturally see potential and grow their people; ideally they’re also active in the tech community building your company’s talent brand.

5. Candidates are consumers – they have choices where they work. This should shape everything from your job postings, to career page. Also, during interviews be prepared to pitch your companies purpose and culture, because you’re not just interviewing but selling.

One more thing, treat your people well, grow and promote them before they’re ‘ready’ with stretch jobs. This keeps costs down and adds time to their shelf life before they leave your company.