Let’s all say it one more time -- hiring developers is hard. With 98% of them currently employed, the market is tough and only getting tougher. Unfortunately, relating to this audience as a non-technical person only intensifies the challenge. So when the numbers are against you, it’s even more important to put your best foot forward and portray your company and the position in a way that’s attractive to the developer community. You might be offering an incredible opportunity, but if it’s not tailored to appeal to this audience, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Here are 5 reasons your tech job listing might not be getting any applicants.
I’ll be honest, surrendering control over a situation isn’t easy for me either. However, with 5 jobs out there for every available developer, it’s absolutely crucial to make an effort to show potential candidates what you have to offer them. I’m not talking about bells and whistles here (though a beer fridge and free lunch will certainly help), these perks are by no means necessary. Developers want to know that they’re taking an opportunity that will benefit them professionally in some way, whether it’s working on a compelling project, collaborating with a smart team, or just being in on the ground floor of a startup and having the chance to make a real difference at the company. Candidate requirements are obviously important, but don’t forget to articulate what a developer will be getting in return (aside from a paycheck) by choosing your opportunity over another.
We’ve all been taught not to judge a book by its cover. That being said, I’m confident that everyone reading this has done so. And if you haven’t you should probably give it a try—it’ll save you some time every now and again. When exposed to tech job listing titles, developers are much more likely to look into one that offers a bit more information or gets them excited about the role right off the bat. This is something I emphasize to every company I work with, simply because I’ve seen the results; a company changes its listing title from “Software Developer” to “Java Developer passionate about changing the landscape of education,” and suddenly there’s a spike in views. More listing views will increase your chances of applicants, so take an extra minute or two to think about a catchy title that will draw some eyes.
Every once in a while, our development team here will catch a requirement that’s not only asking too much, but also impossible. Being that certain languages have only been around for a definitive amount of time, it’s best to avoid requiring 4 years of experience in a language that has only existed for 3. Additionally, you may want to reconsider including that little note under the requirements that says “Do not apply if you don’t meet these exact requirements, your application will not be considered.” Not only does that sound scary and intimidating, but you might be shooing away a very qualified developer whose experience can be extremely valuable to your organization. It’s much tougher to gauge without a technical background, but there are certain circumstances in which a developer’s experience is relative enough to get the job done or to help him/her quickly learn the required language. Don’t scare away an awesome candidate!
I understand sometimes this isn’t an option. But for those who do have some flexibility in ATS use, the fewer steps it takes to submit an application, the better. Seems obvious, right? That’s because it is—anyone who has ever applied to a job knows that horrid feeling when you come across an application method that requires a developer cover letter, a resume, a manual input of everything on your resume, a little test to make sure you’re not a robot, a 30 ATS-question questionnaire, etc. This is even more painful for developers, who are typically locked into their work and don’t want to deal with an extensive, distracting process. The longer the application method, the more drop-off you’re going to experience in completed applications.
It’s been brought to my attention, and I’m sure all of yours, that hiring developers requires traveling off the beaten path of recruitment. All of these tactics that are so effective when hiring for other roles just don’t seem to produce the same results when trying to hire developers. One of the most significant adjustments that needs to be made in recruiting for technical positions is where you’re advertising your listing. Put yourself in the tech community’s shoes: if you’re being offered jobs left and right, how often are you going to find yourself on a job board? This is what makes passive candidates so key in the technical hiring market. Before you start pulling all of your tech job listings from job boards, keep in mind that casting a wide net will yield the most success. Ultimately, be smart about where you’re advertising. Instead of mass-posting on generic job boards, focus on going where you know the developers will be hanging out, and where you can truly establish your company brand within the technical community.