Marketing and HR have a lot in common. At their very core is the importance of communication—communicating externally about their products and services, their company, their brand, and their open positions. They’re also communicating internally about buyer or candidate needs, wants, and pain points so that internal teams incorporate feedback into the products they’re building and the company cultures they’re creating.
So it’s not surprising then, that the process of finding, sourcing, and attracting candidates (recruiting) for your company is similar to the process of finding, sourcing, and attracting buyers for your products and services (marketing). The process, or context, is the same. The content and conversations might be different. But it all starts with understanding your audience.
One way you can understand your audience is by creating personas. Marketers create and use buyer personas—semi-fictional representations of the ideal customer based on real data and educated speculation around buyer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. Recruiters and HR professionals can create and use candidate personas—hiring profiles of your ideal candidate based on real data and educated speculation around candidate skill sets, qualifications, motivations, and goals.
Here are five reasons why you need to create developer candidate personas for your hiring efforts.
Understanding developers is the first part of the developer hiring process. Once you understand the technical hiring landscape, the motivations of most developers, the tech stacks programmers use in their roles, the places online where developers spend their time, and where in the world they’re located, you’ll be in a better position to find them, communicate with them, and make a connection.
Let’s face it—a job listing is an advertisement. And good advertising exists only when two things happen: you go where the people you’re trying to reach go (or you show up where they are), and you have a message that appeals to them. What’s the point of writing a job listing if it is inaccurate? If it doesn’t resonate with your audience? If it’s not appealing? If it looks just like any other job listing?
Example: When you understand the audience you’re looking to reach for your open PHP Developer role, then you’ll be able to know that someone with PHP, Python, or C++ programming experience is most likely qualified for this role.
Understanding the motivations and goals of your developer audience will help you know what to communicate to them about your company. We’re not suggesting that you create a fake employer brand, but rather that you highlight the things about your company that resonate with developers (like the ability for them to choose their own equipment or gain access to professional development.)
If I told you right now that all Full-Stack Developers are going to be congregating at Central Park tomorrow (assuming you’re in NYC), you might find it lucrative to just hop on down there to talk to them about the open roles at your company. Why? Because your audience is there.
The problem is that you’ll probably only be able to reach a small percentage of those developers. And maybe you’re not looking for Full-Stack Developers located in NYC. Which is why it’s even more important to know where your candidates are spending their time online (you should go where they go).
Example: The marketing team here knows that HR professionals and recruiters spend a lot of time on Linkedin, that’s why you’ll find us active on Linkedin! We also know that the world’s developers (50 million) spend a lot of their time on Stack Overflow. In fact, there are probably 51,000 developers on the site right now at this moment. As a tech recruiter, your best bet to reach your developer audience is by being active on Stack Overflow.
Discovering that developers want collaborative engineering departments and prioritize opportunities for professional development is great if you offer those things. Having key benefits that matter to developers and knowing that developers appreciate transparency will favorably position your company.
So go ahead and empower yourself and your organization with the knowledge, tools, and processes that will enable you to find, reach, attract, and hire the tech talent you need. Start by understanding your developer audience. Start by creating a developer candidate persona.