This post was updated in November 2017 with new information.
It's deflating when a developer your team is excited about decides to go in a different direction. After all, you’ve made the effort to build out your hiring process, give the candidate a first-class interview experience, and extended a job offer that you feel is competitive. However, even when all of these pieces seem to fall into place, it’s never a guarantee that a developer will sign on the dotted line.
Learning that a developer has declined your job opportunity is always a tough pill to swallow, but here are a few ways to stay engaged with that person, even though he or she has decided not to come work for you.
After working so hard to identify and recruit a developer, it's really hard not to be upset when they choose another other—especially when you need to fill a position ASAP. But no matter what they decide, it’s incredibly important to respect his or her decision to decline. Rather than taking out your frustration on the candidate, offer your warmest regards and ask to stay in touch. This particular developer might have turned down your opportunity today, but being respectful of the decision today will make conversations about future openings much more seamless.
After a developer turns down your job offer, it’s best to leave them alone once they’ve informed you of their decision, right? Well, not always.
Remember: 62% of developers told us they’re open to hearing about new job opportunities. Keeping up with candidates who have said "no thanks" should be a major part of your hiring process. Why? It’s nearly impossible to predict how those candidates will feel about the jobs they’ve just accepted down the road.
Don't be afraid to check in with them from time to time over email. They’ll know you’re still trying to hire a programmer, but the occasional message about a recent blog post they wrote or a project you noticed they worked on will still be received warmly.
Establishing meaningful relationships with developers can be a long process. However, even after you’ve built rapport with a developer and have made the decision to hire that person, the way you engage with that person should not change. While it’s a good idea to stay in touch with a developer who has turned down your job opportunity, your pre-existing relationship doesn’t give you license to pester them. Use the knowledge you have from previous conversations to your advantage when engaging with developers who have declined the offer to join your tech team, but check in with them in 6-month to 1-year increments. Anything more than this will come off as an aggressive push to get them to change their minds, which will ultimately manifest itself in radio silence from the programmers you reach out to.