The Ultimate Guide to Hiring High-Impact Software Developers, Part Two
How can you create a process for recruiting software developers that brings valuable candidates at a reliable pace? It’s time to continue the conversation.
We’ve already gone over outbound methods of recruitment in our previous article, outlining the ways you can reach out and pluck talent from the job market.
But you can’t go running after every candidate and hitting them over the head with your offer. Once you scale up, it’s hard to sustain such practices.
What you need is a source of inbound recruitment opportunities — in short, people coming to you to work at your company.
Is it possible to have developers come to you, asking to join your team? We know it is. Here’s how we make it happen.
Many thanks to Wojciech Lichota, our Head of Service Delivery in Gdańsk, for contributing his knowledge to this article.
4 steps to a great inbound funnel for recruiting developers
I probably won’t shock you by saying that people have different methods for achieving their goals. This is as true for job-seeking as for anything else you can think of: finding a romantic partner, finding a vacation spot, finding a computer mouse with that perfect price/quality ratio…
(I love the Razer Deathadder personally, but that’s because all my gadgets need to 1) be edgy, 2) have a nice, pretty glow. Otherwise, why bother?)
So it stands to reason that even if you exhaust all of the outbound options we’ve gone over in the previous part, there are still developers who will never get hired at your company if you limit yourself only to outbound methods.
After all, some people want to take matters into their own hands. They want to find the best job for them, and find it through their own effort. Maybe they feel that this way they can get a better offer than if they’re just ‘reactive’ and responding to outbound outreach.
And that’s all okay. All we need to do is to make sure we’re out there to be found.
Here’s 4 methods we use to ensure a strong presence on the job market and a steady stream of passive job submissions.
1. The classic approach: developer job postings on job portals.
As before, we’ll start with the classic, perhaps obvious method first. Listing jobs on job portals.
And as previously, this tactic is included in the list for a reason. Job postings can be as effective as ever, even for developer positions — if you put in the effort to do them correctly.
There’s a few factors that affect the effectiveness of your job posting, especially when you’re targeting developers. Here’s what we advise:
- Always include information about the salary, segregated by seniority if possible.
- List the technologies the developer will be working with.
- Highlight the perks and benefits of employment at your company.
- Consider separating your requirements into “must-have” and “nice to have” categories.
- Outline your recruitment process to set clear expectations right from the start.
- Encourage the reader to contact your HR department and ask questions in case of confusion.
- Do not gloss over crucial details — only communicate the truth.
- Update the job posting based on feedback or questions during the interview.
- And finally, use bullet points to make the content easier to digest! (See what we did here?)
Once you have the content of your job posting ready, it’s time to post it around the web and wait for inbound candidates. If you’re looking for inspiration where you could post your offer, here’s a handy list provided by Wojciech.
Job portals to post your developer openings on:
Once you cover the portals above, stay on the lookout for new ones where you can promote your offers. Niche websites may get less traffic from potential developer candidates, but at the same time you’re likely to encounter less competition there.
(And if there are any useful job portals we might have missed, why not drop us a comment? I’ll be happy to update the list with any recommendations you might have.)
2. The Careers page on your website.
If someone hears about your company, they will visit your website. That’s especially true if they’d like to work for you.
I mean, would you even want to hire someone who hasn’t bothered to google you?
This is why you should assume that every single person you recruit will go through your website, or at the very least through your Careers page.
To avoid losing their interest at this stage, make sure you avoid two common pitfalls:
Pitfall One: Not having a Careers page in the first place
Some companies, especially startups, take a peculiar approach to recruitment. Believe it or not, they think that they can only put up a vague teaser page showing their awesome company culture and developers will flock to join them.
Sure, an interesting main page may pique the visitors’ interest, but taking on a new job is a major life decision. Candidates want a clearly labeled place where they can get cold, hard information about potential job positions. And if they want to get such information, it’s your task to provide it — with a dedicated Careers page.
Pitfall Two: Having a huge Careers page that developers can’t easily scan
Of course, there’s the other side of the coin. Large companies tend to have a multitude of job openings at any point in time. As such, their Careers page is filled with numerous job positions, most of which have nothing to do with software development. The IT gets lost in the crowd.
Try to empathize with a potential candidate. You visit your company’s website. Do you feel like sifting through all the content just to find that one position labeled “Python developer”? Or do you keep looking elsewhere, perhaps in search of a company that can communicate their needs more clearly?
Luckily, there’s a simple fix: create a dedicated landing page on your website specifically for IT positions, or at least the key IT jobs you want to fill. Then you can direct traffic from other pages, such as your main page or social media posts, to this dedicated landing page. No more digging through irrelevant postings.
3. Posting developer job offers on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.
If you’re anything like us, you’re spending quite a bit of time and energy building a following on social channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. It stands to reason that you should use that following not only to attract clients but also new hires, including software developers.
Once again, the trick is in the execution. A well-structured post can mean the difference between a candidate clicking with curiosity or scrolling down past your offer.
To grab attention, your offer should follow some of the same rules as the outreach that we’ve discussed in the previous article. It must be brief and include the key selling points: salary, work requirements, technologies used, benefits, location, etc.
As a general rule of thumb, visual content works best, so presenting your offer using an image instead of just text will help you stand out. If you can, use a consistent visual theme for your software developer job openings — see our example below.
(The salaries in the images above may be out of date. To find the newest job offers at STX Next, make sure you visit — you guessed it! — our Careers page.)
Go deeper on social media
Posting on your company’s Facebook fanpage or LinkedIn company page is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not nearly enough. To really start getting results, you need to take your search one step further.
4. Ad campaigns.
The final tactic to consider for your inbound recruitment are paid campaigns using Facebook and Adwords. You will need to set aside a budget for such operations of course, but a well-profiled campaign can be very effective.
As an example, we are currently entering the Gdańsk market after establishing our new STX Next office in the Polish Tricity. With a small expense of around 150 PLN (€35/$42) per campaign, we can create ads aimed specifically at Python developers in the region, aiding our initial recruitment efforts.
This is not a ‘last but not least’ entry on the list. Ad campaigns will cost you, especially if they’re poorly targeted. You should only use them to support the other operations.
Think of the ad campaign as a closing mechanism for candidates on the fence. A large success factor in inbound operations is having multiple points of contact. You want to have many channels through which potential candidates can hear about your company. Once they realize that the paid job ad they are seeing is not coming from a completely unknown employer but from one they’ve already discovered on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, they are much more likely to click and apply. Using the ad campaign in synergy with other operations can lead to excellent results. Using ads in isolation is a recipe for financial waste.
Another successful tactic is retargeting (also known as remarketing). The idea is to display your ads to the people that already visited your website and give them an additional push to finally take action. Such campaigns can be quite cheap and directed towards a very small group with a high chance of success. Once again you’re looking at paid campaigns to work as a closing mechanism, the cherry on top of your previous efforts.
Looking for a Cliffs Notes version of what we’ve covered? You’ve come to the right place!
The 4 steps to a thriving inbound recruitment funnel:
- Post your job openings to job portals. Include salary, location, technologies and key perks. Scroll up for a list of portals to use.
- Have a dedicated Careers page, narrowed down to only IT jobs if needed. Make it easy for developers to find crucial info.
- Post your job offers on social media. Use consistent visual content and Facebook/LinkedIn groups to get real attention.
- Boost your recruitment efforts with paid ad campaigns. Aim at a small and relevant target, preferably through retargeting.
Of course, the journey doesn’t end here. Once your candidates’ resumes start pouring in, you need to carefully prepare the interview process, consider how to draft a fair contract, plan out the onboarding process… But those are all topics for future posts. Or perhaps something more?
(And if hiring developers is your current challenge, perhaps you’d like to learn more about how to calculate the actual costs of in-house development?)
Want to know more?
For more helpful posts about Python/JS web development, implementing Agile/Scrum in practice and effective software product design, visit our blog:
Originally published at stxnext.com on August 30, 2017.