Everybody knows that software engineers are in high demand today. Therefore it’s important to use all the methods at your disposal to become a company that will attract large numbers of tech candidates. Of course, it’s not easy. But let me ask you a simple question: what have you done yourself to attract the best applicants?
When talking with recruiters and hiring managers from different companies around the world (minus tech giants like Google, Netflix, Spotify) I often hear the following:
- We offer good market wages
- We’ve established our brand and invested a lot of funds in marketing and advertising
- We’ve got our internal recruiting department
- We’ve already been working with a number of external agencies
- We’ve got flexible schedule and “table soccer”
Stop right there! Don’t you think that other tech companies have already been using the same kind of gimmicks? In offering those supposed “perks,” what you’re actually doing is offering the same thing that every other company is and hoping you’ll luck up by scoring a dozen software engineers contacting you here or there. Alas, it doesn’t work that way. To make people want to work for you you’ll need to make much more than a simple monetary investment. It’s all about relating to your prospective employees. Here’s what I mean…
There’s a well-known quote from Tom de Parko of PeopleWare that I like to use to describe this:
“Count on the best people outperforming the worst by about 10:1.”
That’s the reason why every tech company — including yours — is looking for the best employees. Why not attract them to you, then, by change your relationship with software engineers by treating them like you would treat your clients? All the things that are important to your clientele are equally important to your potential hires.
Make the "jobs" section of your website unique, user-friendly and accessible. Let your candidates see that you’re headhunting for top employees. I’ve seen a large swath of sites with very poor navigation. I had to spend some time to find their “careers page,” which was often hidden somewhere in the footer amongst other links. Instead, why not create a “careers page” separate from the other links and make it really appealing? Taking this approach, you can also write interesting and unique content for this page. Be different from your competitors.
You can start by being prompt in replying to your applicants. Our modern world is very connected. As a result, you need to be quick to stay ahead of the pack. I still don’t understand how recruiters wait for weeks to simply reply to their applicants, then wait several more just to arrange an interview. Do you really believe that a Senior Node.js developer would wait for a month to be interviewed and won’t join Netflix instead? The speed of your responses is critical at all stages of hiring process: respond with swiftness, and candidates will view as more reliable (meaning they’ll be more apt to consider working for you).
All feedback is important, even negative feedback. If an applicant has sent you their CV but you see that they’re not really the best match for a position, reply to them anyway. Tell them why they aren’t the right fit for the job, give them some advice on how they should improve for the next time they decide to apply to your company, and wish them success in their job search. I know some developers (really talented, I have to say) who didn’t get any responses to their CV’s at all, and that’s not the way to build a good relationship with job seekers.
Don’t delay with an offer. I can cite numerous cases when companies waited 3-5 weeks to send an offer back to a job seeker. By this point, the candidates in question had already lost their enthusiasm and desire to work at those companies. Don’t tarry with feedback after the final interview. If an applicant failed, (gently) tell them about it as soon as possible. Don’t make up fake excuses, like the classic “the status of this position has been changed to hold,” be upfront and honest to everyone who applied to your company. Your feedback will give those candidates who didn’t make the cut an opportunity to grow. Furthermore, based on your promptness during the application process, they may even recommend you to their friends, urging them to try their hand finding a job within your company.
Networking (which is what you’re doing when providing quality feedback) is a long play. You’ll do well to maintain relationships with all prospective candidates, even those who are currently not interested in your positions. Take part in technical conferences, discuss subjects related to your primary business, and always try to help, even if you’ve got very little information.
Always do a little bit more than what candidates expect from you:
- Invite a final candidate to work for a whole day so that they can get an idea of your company’s culture and all the interesting things you do.
- Invite a candidate out for lunch or invite them to join you for a drink after work.
- Show your interviewee the social usefulness of your project.
- Read at least a few of your applicant’s blogs and check if they’ve ever taken part in any topical conferences.
- For those of your candidates who have come for an onsite interview from another city/country and don’t know your area, help with logistics (offer to pay for their flight, offer a lift to the nearest station after your interview, etc.).
I believe that the way a company treats its employees and how it attitudes to its potential candidates during the recruiting process that becomes one of the most important criterion for talented IT guys. I strongly recommend that tech companies to use these simple (but very effective) tips when hiring software engineers.
Think big and hire the best! Good luck ;)