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Post by Rich Moy on Jan 31, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Even for experienced HR leaders, it can be challenging to create, track, and manage a tech recruitment budget. In addition to the obvious things like online recruiting and applicant tracking systems, there are a lot of variables that could make or break your developer hiring strategy. Plus, without a solid plan for getting the most out of your budget, you could be left wondering where all that money went by the end of the year.

So how do you create a recruiting budget that works for you, and what should you include in it? Let’s take a look at a few critical line items that you might not be tracking today, but definitely should.

Promotional Materials for Meetups and Hackathons

You’d never send recruiters to a tech meetup or hackathon empty-handed, right? Fortunately, you can purchase materials such as branded t-shirts, print-outs, and pens from most online vendors in just a few clicks. The problem is that these items aren’t always cheap, so your costs could quickly spiral out of control without a self-imposed spending limit.

That doesn’t mean you should reduce or eliminate spending on swag. But before you buy additional giveaway items, identify all of the tech recruiting events you plan on attending each quarter. Then, use your list to estimate the dollar amount that you’ll need for promotional materials. While you might need to increase giveaway spend in the first part of this year, there might only be one meetup that you plan on attending in the second quarter.

Professional Development and Training for Your Tech Recruiters

Developers always look for opportunities for growth and professional development when they consider new jobs. While your tech recruiters are focused on finding and hiring programmers, they’re also eager to hone their skills—and a portion of your budget should be allotted to support their growth.

Some budgets might have enough room for recruiters to attend large conferences or other events. Other budgets might allow for online courses and reading materials. The good news? There’s no such thing as a wrong answer. That is, unless you completely omit professional development from your budget.

Meals for Candidates

Lunch interviews have become a common (and important) stage of the developer interview process. It gives candidates the opportunity to meet their future colleagues in a relaxed setting. This can help you close the deal in the future, but it’s also another expense that you need to track.

To do this, determine the average per-meal cost that you’re comfortable spending, and multiply that number by the number of candidates that typically make it to this stage of your interview process. Estimating and documenting this spend will keep you from going over the top to recruit a developer, and overextending yourself in the process.

Interviewer Travel Expenses

Sure, plenty of your developer interviews will take place at your headquarters or over the phone. But there are also instances when they’ll need to travel off-site. On any given day, one of your recruiters might schedule an interview with a developer at a hackathon that he or she is attending in your city, while another has an informational meeting with another candidate at a coffee shop. The costs of getting to and from these types of meetings might seem low on a one-off basis, but they can add up quickly. To avoid being caught off-guard by a cab ride or train fare, leave room in your recruitment budget for your recruiters to get around your city.

Discretionary and Unexpected Expenses

The harsh reality of budgeting is that you’ll always find a line item or two that you missed along the way. After all, even the most detailed recruitment budget can’t prevent the unexpected from happening. 

For example, your careers website might need an urgent update. You might need to upgrade to a higher tier of your favorite online recruitment platforms sooner than you anticipated. And there will be plenty of times when you just underestimate how much money you need to execute a certain part of your developer hiring strategy. No matter what the case may be, leave yourself a little cushion to minimize the impact of these unplanned expenses.

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Recruiting Budget

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