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Post by Rich Moy on Aug 1, 2018 12:00:00 PM

When you hear the phrase “employer branding,” what immediately comes to mind? If you’re like many people in talent acquisition, you probably think of assets such as job listings, careers websites, and recruitment emails. But as we learned from Lee Jones at trivago, companies can also impact their developer hiring with creative and informative banner advertising campaigns.

That doesn’t mean advertising to developers is easy. Experts say that the average Internet user sees 5,000 ads per day, and many of them are invasive and irrelevant. Based on what we learned in the 2018 State of Developer Engagement, programmers are particularly wary of the ads that they see online.

The good news? A few small tweaks to your campaigns can help you build trust with tech candidates through advertising. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Monitor Their Conversations About Work

Developers use sites like Stack Overflow to find solutions to their coding challenges. Many of their conversations are likely about your company’s products. Typically, marketers rely on these sites for insights on how to promote a new product trial or launch. For talent acquisition leaders, these product-specific discussions can help reshape an employer branding strategy.

Say that you’re hiring developers to work on a personal finance application. Search for a few threads related directly to your product, as well as conversations about your biggest competitors. Are developers excited about the applications they’re working on, or the technologies that they’re using to build them?

For this example, we’ll assume that programmers are enthusiastic about the technologies. At first glance, you might think that it’ll be even more challenging to find developers to work on a personal finance application. Instead, think of how you’d optimize your employer branding. In addition to promoting your perks and benefits, highlight your tech stack. If you can offer developers an opportunity to use the programming languages they want, make that a major component of your employer branding strategy.

Get More Involved in Their Discussions

Let’s use our example from earlier again. You are still looking for developers to build a personal finance application. But now, your team has discovered that a few questions about your product have gone unanswered. Specifically, developers that currently use your product are frustrated about an ongoing bug.

In this scenario, you have an ideal opportunity to build trust through advertising. Whenever you catch an old article or unanswered question related to your offering, forward it to an engineering manager and ask for ways that you can respond. Again, this might sound product-focused, but contributing to their discussions also helps improve your company’s reputation. Over time, developers will see that you’re not looking to hire them to fill a quota, but that you’re making an effort to engage with a relevant audience and add value to their community.

Get Straight to the Point

Developers are a challenging audience for even the most seasoned advertisers. Standing out from the thousands of ads they see every day means rethinking a few “best practices” that you might be familiar with. When it comes to engaging with tech candidates through advertising, that usually means keeping your ad copy as simple as possible.

Your company might offer incredible perks to developers. Why wouldn’t you want to promote that in an online advertisement? Quickly jot down the benefits that you typically highlight in your recruitment emails or job listings. Now, consider the most common web banner sizes. It’s not difficult to see that you’ll often be working with limited space.

For employers looking to build trust with developers, stick to a sentence or two for your web copy and highlight a specific benefit. One company might be looking for Apache candidates in Los Angeles, while you might be searching for programmers that know Go. Identify one unique thing about your opportunity, and showcase it in your ad copy.

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Employer Branding

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