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Post by Rich Moy on Oct 23, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Not all employer branding content is created equal. Well-written job listings, careers websites, and recruitment emails can make your company stand out from the competition. But if you’re not careful, all the work you put into creating that content could ruin your company’s reputation in the developer community.

To help you avoid losing developer candidates, let's take a closer look at four employer branding mistakes that could negatively impact your technical hiring strategy.

You’re Using “Flashy” Copy That Doesn’t Accurately Describe Your Brand

Neil Patel once said that storytelling is a powerful technique for building relationships. Although he was addressing marketers, we feel that tech recruiting is similar to marketing in a lot of ways.

The right words on a careers page or job listing can get the most passive candidates interested in learning more. On the other hand, trying too hard to generate excitement is one of the biggest employer branding mistakes you could make. Phrases like “the best company on the planet for ninja-like developers” aren’t just wordy, but they turn developers off.

How does your company position itself to its customers? What type of tone and messaging do your current employees use to describe the business? Which buzzwords do you typically avoid? When you sit down to create employer branding content, find ways to engage developers without deviating too far from the answers to these questions.

You’re Featuring Overly-Posed Photos From Around Your Office

Raise your hand if a cheesy stock photo has ever made you laugh. What did you find funny about that image? In all likelihood, the picture probably featured a group of actors that were carefully posed by a professional photographer.

Now, take a second glance at the images you’ve uploaded to your careers page. Do your employees look natural in their work environment, or do those photos seem a little too perfect? If it’s the latter, you might be driving developers away.

Of course, you should choose the photos you share carefully. At the same time, make sure to include candid shots of your employees in action. When developers evaluate employer branding content, they try to envision themselves working for your company. If your pictures and videos seem like they’re too good to be true, many developers will move on to opportunities with more authentic companies.

You’re Putting Too Much Emphasis on Side Perks

All too often, employers assume that it takes enormous cash bonuses and free dry cleaning to compete for top tech talent. If one company offers developers catered lunches, it’s up to you to figure out how to top that, right? It’d be naive to say that programmers don’t consider the perks you offer, but it’s important to remember that they’re not the only things that matter to them.

Take another look at this graph from the 2017 Developer Hiring Landscape:


Compensation and benefits came in as the near the top of their list of job evaluation criteria, but not by a huge margin. Your office environment and tech stack are just as important to developers when they consider new jobs—and opportunities for professional development were at the top of their list.

Whether you’re creating a Company Page or a technical job listing, avoid focusing on just one or two things that you think developers care about at work. Instead, tell a story about everything that makes your opportunity stand out. If you oversell your side perks, candidates will assume that you’re trying to hide something negative about your engineering culture.

Your Employer Branding Content is Too Hard to Find

You might have the most authentic employer branding strategy on the planet. But if you’re not promoting it on platforms that programmers use, it’s probably not going to improve your reputation in the developer community.

Remember, only 13% of developers are actively looking for a job. To attract the 87% that are employed at least part-time, think more strategically about where you should be advertising your employer brand. Sites like Stack Overflow and Github are an excellent place to start, since developers rely on both platforms to do their jobs every day. 

Additionally, where do your ideal developers get their news? What types of events do they attend, both online and in-person? How do they commiserate with one another? The answers to these questions will help you understand how to get in front of tech candidates—and more importantly, where to find them.

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