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Post by Rich Moy on Aug 4, 2016, 12:00:00 PM

Developers have made no secret of the fact that if they had to choose, they’d prefer being recruited over email. However, that doesn’t mean that any old recruitment email will make them excited about continuing the conversation. Your initial outreach to a developer is one of best chances you’ll have at making a good first impression, so understanding what they look for when they read recruitment emails will help you stand out from the competition. If you’re like many recruiters who need to recruit developers, you might be thinking, “That’s great, but what do developers want in recruitment emails?” To help debunk the mystery behind it, we spoke to a few developers to learn what they wish more employers would share more often via email.

A Sincere Interest in Their Field

Although we’ve said that it’s not your job to understand every single detail about a developer’s toolbox, having a basic understanding of what’s happening in their field goes a long way. Daniel Reilly, the founder of Fuse Technology, told us that he expects recruiters to have a keen interest in what his work entails. Reilly says, “If the email is for a role in iOS, they could ask my thoughts on the new iOS beta to catch my attention.” He also adds that the volume of emails he receives from recruiters hasn’t changed, even though he recently launched his first company. What does this tell him? “It shows a lack of research, and most do not get replies.”

Details About Relevant Perks

There are plenty of people out there who would be incredibly jealous if they were to find out that your company offers in-house dry cleaning and regular trips to a water park. As great as those extras might sound, don’t forget that everyday basics are just as important to candidates. Maria Stephens, an Atlanta-based data engineer, told us that she gets countless emails that lead with perks like unlimited beer and ping pong tables, but says she wishes more recruiters would detail more practical benefits. “What I want to know from recruiters is that I won’t be the only female engineer on the team,” she adds. “I want to know that there is ample time off, and flexible working hours. Benefits such as paid parental leave are much more appealing than potato chips.”

Evidence That You Have Done Your Research

It’s worth reemphasizing that developers receive a lot of recruitment emails. That puts the onus on you to make sure that every message you send when you recruit developers leaves no doubt that you’ve taken the time to learn what each person is interested in and qualified to do. John Chapin, a Software Development Consultant at Capital Technology Services, tells us that many employers are still skipping this crucial step when they recruit him over email. “Most recruiters don’t take the time to know where a candidate has depth or strength in their technical skills,” Chapin says. “I can’t count the number of times that a recruiter has reached out for a .NET or Java position, even though I don’t profess either technology as a strength.”

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