My number one advice on finding great tech talent

After loads of trials and errors I made a breakthrough in recruiting with one simple tactic. It’s time I share it with you.

I’ve been committed to finding the right people to join the WhiteAway development team for the past 6 months and tried most of the ordinary methods like HR posting ads for us, recruiters running around on commission, asking around in our network. I even created a recruitment bounty website for anyone to send me candidates. The result? Well, ok.

After trying a couple of recruiters, we found a some that understand our needs and culture. They have sent us some really good candidates an we have signed a few. But recruiters cost money. That’s the bad part.

The internal job ads went ok but we never hired anyone to the dev team on these ads. And it was a lot of admin work to filter out the generic shotgun applications from people all over the world.

The bounty website got a lot of traction in Social media. We only counted the shares on LinkedIn, and it was up over 300 shares in a week. So a lot of views but very few tips (Less than 10). I guess people are not so in to sending their friends to a company they know very little about. We’ll have to fix that.

Then the breakthrough.

Aside from recruiting we are planning to refactor our code base quite substantially and moving to micro services. Since we don’t have these skills in house I announced the project casually in a Facebook group called “Jobs for code monkeys” (Jobb för kodapor in Swedish).

Roughly translated it said:

“Hi. Our code base at Tretti (WhiteAway Group) is a big monolith that needs breaking apart. I’m looking for a bright mind who have knowledge in the field of service oriented architecture or have worked on a project like this before. Consultant may also contact me. We are a team of developers located in Stockholm and Århus. Please send your tips.”

Lots of people started liking the post or sharing friends names in the comments. Even more started sending me PM on Facebook messenger and my mail inbox was starting to fill up too. Mainly with consultants in the latter.

It got me thinking. What happened here?

My conclusion is this. Developers like a good challenge. I posted about a specific project that we were looking in to and that was going to be a major part of what we do for at least a year. It’s simple really. The people that know what I’m talking about have a clear opinion if this is exciting or not. The ones who don’t get it don’t bother to contact me. I only get the best and most relevant candidates.

In the classic work ad, we spend so much time on writing about what programming language we want the candidate to know, what education requirements we have and try to sell it with a fluffy company description. Don’t get me wrong, this matters too, but maybe at a later stage.

It’s like when you hire a carpenter to build your house. You ask him: “These are the plans. How would you do it and are you interested in the project?” You don’t say “We are involved with construction. You will work with hammers and nails, and maybe a bit with the saw. Are you interested in working with us?”

In conclusion. Think really hard about your needs, post about it in an informal or formal channel and meet with fantastic people.

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