Having trouble finding good developers? Join the club. At last count, 93% of IT employers reported having trouble attracting qualified technical talent. Software employment has increased 45% in just 10 years, so developers today essentially have their pick of any shiny new job that they want. If you want to snag a good one, you have to do something to make your company stand out. This starts with the way you advertise your open roles.
If you take a look at the traditional job listing, you’ll notice it typically includes a job description, specific requirements, and a brief company statement. As the hiring manager, these details may help you fill the role. But to a developer, standard job listings just look like a list of demands: “You need to do this, you need to have that, and you better do this to be considered.”
Needless to say, this isn’t a very attractive offer. It also doesn’t let your company make a strong first impression. But worst of all, this type of job listing paints an incomplete picture for candidates.
At Stack Overflow, the largest Q&A for developers, we’ve spent a lot of time trying to make this process better. We analyzed the best and worst performing listings on our job board to see what works and what doesn’t. Then we asked more than 2,000 developers what they care about when evaluating a job opportunity. We learned that developers want a job where they can learn and grow, work with smart people, and work with good management, among other important factors. When’s the last time you’ve included these elements in your job listing?
In a market this competitive, it’s not good enough to post and wait. It’s also not good enough to copy and paste. Developers want different things than other employees want, so write your listings to attract the right audience. Below are five elements to mention if you want to stand a chance getting eyeballs on your next developer job opportunity.
1. Show how your company stands out.
Forfeit that marketing-approved, canned company statement and instead include information that developers actually care about. Describe your company’s mission, what you’re building, or what other properties or affiliate companies you own. Use this as an opportunity to define your company’s brand as an employer for developers. Explain how you are unique from your competitors.
2. Explain what makes the job (and the product) interesting.
When choosing their next job, the #1 thing developers look for is an opportunity to learn and grow. So talk about what makes your opening interesting. Whether you’re launching a brand new product or refining a tried-and-true model, explain the challenges that your development team solves every day. You’ll attract candidates who are eager to jump right in.
3. Spotlight your benefits.
9 in 10 developers would turn down an offer that paid 10% more for a job that better fit their other criteria. To attract developers, put your benefits center-stage. But make sure they are targeted toward things developer want. Big computer monitors, flexible work hours, or even the chance to work side-by-side with a notable programmer will help turn heads.
4. Get rid of long bullet-point lists.
Job listings with endless bullet points generally fall among the lowest performers. Instead, state your needs, but be concise. Get rid of anything fluffy like “good team player” and “strong communication skills.” You can vet those factors during the interview. Instead, just stick to the technical guts of the job—keeping in mind that the best developers may not need to have experience in your company’s tech stack.
5. Describe your team environment.
When developers evaluate a job opportunity, the second most important element they consider is the quality of the existing team. That’s why we decided to let employers link their company pages to profiles of their developer team. If you work with smart people, don’t just say so—describe their tech talks or side projects and explain how the team collaborates on a regular basis. It not only gives you a chance to show off your existing team, but it also lets candidates decide whether they could be a good fit.
Bethany Marzewski (@stackcareers) is the Marketing Coordinator at Stack Overflow Careers 2.0 (a SmartRecruiters Partner – post a job to Stack Overflow), the largest online talent community for professional programmers.
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