This post was updated in November 2017 with new information.
Job listings play a major role in the developer hiring process. They’re usually one of the first things that the candidate sees during the process, so you want to craft the right message, include the pertinent information, and convey your employer brand. It only takes candidates a few seconds to read a developer job posting and decide if they want to apply, which means you don’t have that much time to grab their attention. To keep the posting short and sweet – but still contain all the relevant information – here are a few things to leave out of your tech job listing.
Developers detest being referred to as “coding ninjas” or “rockstars”, so avoid using this jargon in your tech job listings. These nondescript terms don’t give the candidate a better idea of the type of candidate you want, and may even offend them. Instead, stick to phrases that convey the job duties and characteristics you’re looking for and avoid the marketing fluff.
Closely related to buzzwords are keywords. In the digital age, many job listings are laden with keywords to ensure that they are found by search engines or resume-reading software. The problem with using too many keywords in your listing is that it doesn’t sound like a human wrote it, but more like a robot did. And although working with robots would be cool, in this case, it’s best to write content for humans instead.
Posting too many demands or qualifications not only limits the number of applicants you’ll receive, but turns people off from applying. For example, if you’re asking for a developer to have 7 years of experience in a language that only came out 4 years ago, you’re asking for a candidate that simply doesn’t exist.
Instead, limit your list of required skills and qualifications to what is absolutely necessary for the job, and then add in a few qualifiers. It’s also important how you word and present these qualifiers or “preferred” skills. Saying something like “Strong background with Java” is much better than writing “Must have impeccable track record using Java”.
Any requirements that are obvious should be left off of your tech job listings. If it’s a Manager role, it’s clear that you’ll need “excellent communication skills”, so why bother including it? Other terms that developers don’t want to have to read through include phrases like “team player” and “self-motivated”, as almost every role requires those characteristics. In this case, less is more.
Software engineering isn’t a skill you can simply learn – it’s something you learn by doing. Our recent survey revealed that for developers the traditional education background is decreasing, with 90% of developers saying they're at least partially self-taught developers. We also learned that younger developers take online classes while older developers are far more likely to have enrolled in a code boot camp or professional certification program.
Employers who insist on demanding extensive academic qualifications from their candidates are clearly missing out. This rigid approach to recruitment removes almost half of the applicant pool without good cause, so drop that degree requirement.