There isn’t one. Wow that’s refreshing isn’t it? A blog where the question posed in the title is answered in the first sentence. Finding Developers: cracked. Thanks for taking the time to read this guys.
If you’re still here then I guess you’d like something a little more constructive. Whilst there really is no secret to finding Developers for your organisation, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re giving yourself the best possible chance.
Before I kick off, let me start by painting you a picture (think less Bob Ross and more Neil Buchanan).
The demand for experienced Developers is HIGH. It’s a skillset that’s integral to designing and supporting the programmes, products and operating systems we use in everyday life.
Take a trip to any of the major job boards and you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of companies you’ll see vying for the attention of what is potentially the top commodity in the tech space at the moment. Front End, Back End, Full Stack, Web, App, Game, Dev Ops, Software, Security…companies are crying out for these skills and the competition is only getting more fierce.
So, when you’re fighting to get noticed by the tech equivalent of Justin Bieber batting back an arena full of teenagers, what can you do to make sure you’re the one being asked up on stage?
Beyond getting your cheque book out (you’ll have to do that too trust me) read on to find out.
Ever heard the saying “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” My English teacher dropped that one on me for the first time when providing feedback on my GCSE coursework. It’s as annoying now as it was then but just because it’s annoying doesn’t mean it’s not true.
If you’re trying to find the right Developer for your business, time is your ally. A long term view to how you approach workforce planning helps to ensure you know what skills you need and when and the more time you have to find these elusive Developers, the better.
If you find yourself trying to backfill someone that’s left the business and are stranded with a lack of skills, bite the bullet and hire a contractor to bridge the gap (trust me there’s plenty of those). Hiring the wrong employee because you’re backed into a corner will end up costing you more in the end.
A streamlined recruitment process
If you’re hiring Developers you better have your sh!t together when it comes to your recruitment process. Define your non negotiables from the off. What skills do you need and what can you flex on? How many interview stages will the applicant be put through? Will there be a technical test? How long will there be between each stage? Are all the stakeholders you need to manage the process in the office and available? (you might need back up waiting in the wings).
Whilst it’s important for you to assess the technical ability of the applicants you’re interviewing; be mindful of how much time they’ll have to invest in completing or preparing for a coding assessment or technical interview. Many have been burned by companies looking for free consulting in the past (the b*stards) and if you’re competing against an organisation whose barrier to entry is a little lower, then you run the risk of losing out.
If a good candidate puts their head above the parapet, they can be snapped up by a competitor within days so on your marks, get set, go.
Have a clear idea of where you’re heading
Whatever’s prompted you to look for these skills in the first place, make sure you have a clear idea of the outcome you’re looking for from bringing this swiss army knife of a consultant into the business. Developers are often thinking about their career move strategically and will want to know more than just the tech stack they’ll be working with. You’ll often have someone with all the experience you need but if you can’t show them the impact they’ll be able to make on the product/ software/ application they’re working on, you’ll lose their interest quickly.
That being said, your tech stack is important and for companies that are still working with the less attractive technologies, provided you show a willingness to listen and act on input from new hires when it comes to ways of modernising and improving processes then you’re in with a good shout of attracting the right people.
Use your most powerful asset to promote the role. Your people.
People buy from people. Ok it’s a notoriously “salesy” expression but nevertheless completely true. When I bought my washing machine I didn’t just buy an Indesit My Time EWD7145 blah blah blah. I bought it from Craig, the guy at Curry’s (the washing machine turned out to be awful, but I don’t blame Craig…much).
Find employees in your business that you can use as champions. Advocates for why candidates should be choosing your organisation over anyone else. People have varying levels of comfort when it comes to putting stuff out online but don’t get hooked on having to create video content when a blog/ graphic or even a testimonial would do. Job seekers are far more likely to apply or show interest in a role if they can see one of their peers talking about it or at the very least sharing their own experience of what it’s like to work for your company. This of course applies to any and all vacancies but is particularly powerful when it comes to hiring developers.
So, there you have it. If you follow all these steps there’s a high probability you still won’t have the Developer you’re looking for but you’ll be a whole lot closer and at the very least you can say you tried you’re best.
In all seriousness though, in a market where experienced, conscientious Developers are holding all the cards, accepting the fact that you have to invest in getting your attraction strategy right is the key between securing the talent you want and being forced to make decisions because you’ve got no other option.
Best of luck and if you find the secret to hiring Developers, make sure you share it with me 😉