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As one of Australia’s leading car finance brokers, stratton was acquired by Carsales.com.au in 2014. To support the organization’s rapid growth, its software development team needed to hire six additional developers. Learn how stratton achieved all its developer hiring goals with the help of Stack Overflow.

The Challenge: Developer Hiring With a Recruiting Team of One

Leading a small software team operating within a large sales-oriented company, Andrew Lawrence, Software Development Manager at stratton, is always looking for what he calls “holy grail” candidates. He tells us that the company’s rapid growth (including through acquisitions) means navigating new relationships and potential culture clashes with the sales team. Because of this, finding the right developers is a process that Lawrence understands takes more time than most hiring managers are comfortable with, which was especially the case after stratton joined the Carsales network.

Although the team was prepared to stay patient in finding the right candidates, Lawrence faced the challenge of growing his team while simultaneously supporting the developers that were already on staff. He adds, “Because we have a small development team, I’m solely responsible for technical hiring and don’t have the luxury of having a separate HR department.”

With his time already stretched thin, Lawrence had grown tired of receiving spam from recruitment agencies and wanted to focus on candidates who were not farming out their resumes through automated systems. Instead, he was looking for talented developers who showed a real interest in joining the unique team he had already built at stratton, which had historically been a challenge for him. 

The Solution: Only show them candidates that could write quality code and were excited about what makes stratton unique

Conventional wisdom might have said that Lawrence needed more resumes, but the volume of applications he received at first was overwhelming. “Applicants we found through mainstream job sites were not ideal,” he says. “They used automated systems to farm their resumes out to any jobs that matched their keywords, and we rarely saw cover letters that expressed a sincere interest in what makes stratton unique.”

The company turned to Job Listings on Stack Overflow to attract their ideal developers. Mr. Lawrence says that while the volume of resumes he received decreased, the quality of the applications was much higher than he had previously found on other job websites. He continued by saying, “The candidates on Stack Overflow were succeeding for a few reasons: their cover letters expressed a genuine interest in stratton and they were scoring higher on our interview quizzes.”

Lawrence also told us about the impact that Stack Overflow's targeting technology had on the quality of applications he received. “We were truly able to target an international audience,” he says, “It was also obvious to us that we were targeting a stronger pool of applicants who were already employed, compared to the mainstream job sites, where most candidates were actively searching, but could not meet our standards.”

The Results: A Software Team Made Up Almost Entirely of Candidates from Stack Overflow

Lawrence tells us that out of his current team of nine developers, eight of his team members were candidates who applied to his Job Listings on Stack Overflow. Not only did Lawrence hire candidates he sourced via his Job Listings, he tells us that stratton has retained everyone it has hired via Stack Overflow. He adds, “Everyone at the company agrees we have an excellent team.”

Technical hiring at stratton is still a process Lawrence tells us is quite time-consuming. However, he maintains that because the resumes he receives from Stack Overflow are stronger, it has made interviewing a more enjoyable experience. More importantly, he adds, “Not having to sort through hundreds of low-quality resumes or field phone calls from recruiters allows me to devote more of my time to working with the current team.”