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Every year, we survey thousands of developers on Stack Overflow to learn how they spend their time, what they’re working on, and what things they care about at work. Last year, we found out that when it comes to choosing a job, developers care less about money than about other benefits—such as an opportunity to learn and grow, to work with other smart people, and to have good management. Based on that information, we created Company Pages to give every employer a free space to show off the parts of their company culture and developer environment that appeal most to candidates.

This year, we wanted to probe a bit deeper. We know that most developers already have jobs, but where are they working? How likely are they to change jobs this year? And what’s the best way to get their attention? Based on a sample of 7,000 responses from this year’s survey, we can now paint a clearer picture of candidates that you’ll find when using Stack Overflow to recruit.

Here’s what we learned:


They are working at small, tech companies.

The majority of developers who completed our survey said they work in the software or web services industries, and more than half are employed at companies with fewer than 15 employees. How does this affect you? If you’re recruiting for a company that’s not uniquely building software, you may find that it’s difficult to engage developers in working on your products. If you’re a small, tech company, you may feel even more direct competition from other startups in your space. But whatever category you’re a part of, one thing is certain: Differentiation is crucial. It’s more important than ever to figure out what makes your company stand out from others.

They are open to new opportunities.

One in three respondents said they changed jobs in the past year and more than half said they are open to new opportunities this year. Given the low unemployment rate of developers, it’s likely that many of these people were passive job-seekers – aka: they had a job but were open to change. Rather than track down resumes on job boards, assume that your next new hire currently has a job look in places where employed developers hang out: talent communities, meetup groups, and industry events. In this survey, we also learned that 34% of developers never check job boards. By restricting your talent search to places that target active job-seekers, you’re missing out on the people who are most likely to move.

They have experience working remotely.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said that they work remotely in some capacity. What does this mean for your recruitment strategy this year? If you company doesn’t allow remote work, you’ll miss out on qualified talent that’s getting used to having this option. This also lines up with some other findings from the past year: That job listings on Stack Overflow receive 3-6 times as many applications when they offer remote work.

They prefer personalized outreach.

We’ve known for a while that developers have a lot of pet peeves about cold emails from recruiters, but now, we know a bit more about what makes them tick. We asked: What will make you more likely to open an email from a recruiter? As it turns out, more information is better. Talk about the team, add a personalized touch, and describe either salary information or something else about the company culture to up your chances of having your messages read.

Recruiting is just like any other project: The more information you collect, the easier it is to work smarter and more efficiently. When it comes to the candidates you’re looking to hire, the more you know about their background, the better you can craft that initial message to get someone on board. So keep this in mind as you build out your recruitment strategy this year.



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