Struggling to attract software engineers to your company? The job market is extremely competitive, and more and more recruiters are getting creative to find and attract developers. Hiring is as much about providing a great candidate experience as it is about finding the right person. Going outside the box with your recruiting strategy can help attract new software engineers to your hiring funnel. Here are some creative ways to approach hiring software engineers.
Work with a vetting agency
Hackernoon advises against shelling out tons of cash for one rockstar developer. Instead, “hire those who are at least good enough to be able to build quality software and also don’t burn a hole in your pocket due to their high wages. If the developer is good and affordable, then it will give you some room even for the expenses of business development and marketing processes.”
How can you tell if a software engineer has the basic skills to take your company to the next level? Work with a partner who can vet, train, and support freelance software developers to take on a new project. JetCake, Toptal, and Index Code are just a few businesses that rigorously vet and prepare contract developers to integrate with in-house teams. JetCake will even offer a network of support after the developer is placed to make sure the person is successful in their new role.
Give candidates a challenge
There are a multitude of ways to test a developer’s skills. Coding challenges, paired programming, or code reviews can all provide a glimpse into whether or not a candidate is up to the task. However, some companies have gotten creative in the ways they test potential software developers.
Google, in 2004, posted a cryptic message on a billboard in Silicon Valley. For those who could solve it, the mathematical puzzle sent sleuths to a website where they were faced with another challenge. Those who cracked that problem received a link to Google’s hiring site. “This is particularly cool because it's self-selecting in that in order to access the ad, you'd have to already have shown interest in creative problem-solving,” writes one expert.
SeatGeek offered a similar challenge where programmers had to hack into the hiring website’s backend code to submit their resume. Similarly to Google’s test, the challenge specifically tested for the skills that SeatGeek’s ideal candidate would possess. It ensured that only qualified, tested backend developers made it to the initial stage of the application process, doing the lion’s share of prescreening for the recruiter.
Go to where the coders are
When you post a job opening for a software engineer on a site like Monster or Indeed, your company is forced to compete with the dozens of other businesses searching for talent. But, as one company in Denmark demonstrated, you’ll have more success if you go to where the engineer communities are already active.
Uncle Grey, an advertising agency, was struggling to find front-end developers. They decided to expand their effort to proactively reach out to their target candidates through the Team Fortress 2 online game. The agency’s research had shown that developers spent a lot of their free time gaming; therefore, they employed gamers to serve as recruiters within the game. “Within a week Uncle Grey had more than 50 applications and had found their ideal candidate.”
This is a unique example with a broader lesson. Find out where developer communities are thriving, and be proactive in how you reach out to them.
Host a hackathon
Many companies use a hackathon to generate new ideas or iterate on a product. A hackathon gives employees a chance to set aside their everyday responsibilities and think outside the box. But, it can also be a good way to recruit passionate, curious, and talented software engineers.
“Hackathons are one of their favorite talent-discovery activities, say recruiters. External hackathons are amazing places to network with exceptional talent and industry experts,” writes one expert. “Companies also conduct internal hackathons to crowdsource ideas and identify untapped exceptional talent in their workforce.”
Recruiters can either attend a hackathon hosted by a third party like HackerEarth and Hackfest, or they can host their own hackathon. Some companies prefer to use bug bounties – challenging developers and coders to find bugs and test a website – to find and recruit talented software engineers. Plus, your company gets the added benefit of working with talented coders to test your product or come up with a new idea: a win-win for your business.
The advice to use social media platforms to find software engineers isn’t new or revolutionary. But selecting the right social media platform takes a little more thought. Reddit and Quora are the natural watering holes for software engineers more than Twitter or Facebook.
Reddit’s particularly active community is a good place to find leaders and highly-skilled programmers. Find the right subreddit using the platform’s unique search terminology. For example, “if you are looking for a Python developer who is actively looking to be hired, you can try this: subreddit:forhire selftext:python. If this gets you too many results, use more filters such as time.” Make sure to follow the rules of Reddit before posting any job description or position.
Likewise, Quora is a great place to generate leads. This Q&A forum elevates experts in specific subject areas. Follow people who consistently provide accurate answers and build relationships over time. When a position that fits their expertise opens, you’ll already have the trust built up to get on their radar.
For more tips on hiring software engineers, follow JetCake on LinkedIn and Twitter.