This post was updated in December 2017 with new information.
When I was a recruiter, I often made the mistake of thinking that my only goal was to find candidates for roles assigned to me. Sure, that approach yielded some hires that I’m still very proud of, but it also left me scrambling whenever a hiring manager suddenly needed to hire someone for a role that wasn’t in our original plan. In the case of developer hiring, it’s especially important to think about your company’s current and future hiring needs. Read on to learn more about why you should always recruit developers, especially when you don’t have any job openings.
Whenever you can close a difficult search for a developer, it’s tempting to kick back and relax, especially when your engineering manager insists you won’t need to recruit developers for an extended period. However, if your company is like many others, I’m willing to bet that you can remember at least one time when a hiring manager came to your desk with an unexpected (but urgent) developer role. Proactively recruiting developers during slower hiring seasons makes it much easier to launch searches that catch you off-guard. Not only that, but having a full pipeline for these events goes a long way in building stronger relationships with your hiring managers.
One of the toughest realities of developer hiring is that retaining your current technical staff is just as challenging as recruiting developers. While you might be confident in the perks you offer and the tools that you equip your developers with, you’d be hard-pressed to find a company that has ever retained its entire technical staff. Considering how expensive it is to lose an employee, recruiting developers regardless of your current hiring needs will ultimately help you minimize the long-term cost. Additionally, a full pipeline will put you in a better position to make a sound hiring decision, rather than rushing into a hire for the sake of backfilling a role.
Even though 62% of developers are interested in hearing about new job opportunities, the truth is that your talent pool will mostly consist of passive candidates. Because the most talented developers can choose where they want to work, it’s up to you to build meaningful relationships with them to stand out from the competition. Whenever you're in the middle of a slower-than-usual hiring season, take advantage of your downtime to catch up with previous candidates. If a developer mentioned a side project in a previous conversation, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for an update. If you come across a trending tech article that you think a candidate would be interested, feel free to share it. These personal touches will help you recruit developers more efficiently when hiring picks up again.