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Post by Rich Moy on Dec 1, 2015 12:00:00 PM

We’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re big advocates for involving your developers in the hiring process. When it comes to learning more about what makes your company attractive, nobody can speak to this quite as eloquently as the people who chose to join your technical team. This is also a prime opportunity to reinforce to your developers that their input is valuable, which can go a long way towards keeping them happy and ultimately retaining them.

If you’re stumped for ice breakers to jumpstart your conversations with your tech team, here are three easy strategies you can use to learn more about what they find appealing about a company.

Take a Real Interest in What They’re Working On

Tom Harvey, a recruiter here at Stack Overflow, told us he starts conversations with candidates by owning up to what he doesn't know about what they do and making it clear he’s interested in learning more. He finds this to be an incredibly effective way to foster a conversation with a developer, and this shouldn’t change after you’ve hired someone. When it comes to talking shop about the projects they’re currently working on, not only are developers generous about sharing details with their technical team, they’re just as eager to chat with anyone who’s interested in learning more. That also includes recruiters who are trying to learn more about what makes their company appealing to other developers.

Ask About New Technologies They’re Hoping to Learn

In the spirit of getting your technical team talking about the things they’re most interested in, don’t forget that developers are always looking for ways to hone their skills and love keeping up with the latest technologies. An easy way to start a conversation with your developers? Get them talking about those new technologies. The benefits of this are twofold. Not only will you learn more about how your tech team is tackling new technologies, you’ll also discover areas in which your company might be falling short in offering your developers opportunities to tinker with these languages.

Don’t Lead With a Technical Problem You’re Having Right Now

Long before I became a recruiter, I learned a tough lesson about interacting with technical teams: if the only conversations you’re having with developers are about the “urgent” tech problems you’re having, they won’t be particularly inclined to chat with you for very long. As important as it is to make sure you’re not treating developers like commodities during the hiring process, it’s even more crucial to do so once they’ve joined the team. Although developers are often willing to share information with you, they also value actual relationships with the people they work with. When you take a vested interest in the interests and challenges your developers face, rather than focusing only what they can do for you, they’ll be far more inclined to lend a helping hand when you’re trying to attract candidates.

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