Hiring a good developer is no easy task. There are far more vacancies than there are available developers on the market. To further complicate things, the more experienced ones are often already employed and rarely on active standby.

I am your average developer. I work at a software company with a good working environment and the latest technologies.

And every week, like many developers, I delete my emails without replying to the job offers sent to me by recruiters, knowing that other people may be interested in these offers.

Let me tell you why so many of us developers do this, and what you can do to grab our attention.

After a mundane LinkedIn invitation, I receive the notorious e-mail:

Your profile caught my attention and I would like to discuss our career opportunities with you.
I’m currently looking for a developer for one of my clients, a human-sized French publishing and distributing company, pioneering in the field of online media and leader of its market.

Main programming environment: .NET/C#, Java and Open Office
Location: Paris
Salary: €30-50K, depending on experience.
Is there a phone number I can reach you at to further discuss this opportunity?

Best regards.”

Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit, but the majority of the job offers I receive look a lot like this.

Pay Genuine Attention to Profiles

We are not on a dating site. If you want to “poke” people, send charms, or place the attractive guys in your shopping cart, you can go ahead and keep moving.

The first couple of times I received LinkedIn invitations from recruiters I felt flattered, “special”, and sought after. I soon realised I was only one among the thousands of others. The friendly recruitment officer hiding behind the invitation had simply clicked on a “Send” button, without so much as looking at my profile.

Yet, in your emails, you state that you’ve “carefully considered my profile”.
Yeah right! You offer me a Java developer position, when I’ve clearly showed an interest in Microsoft technologies; you ask me for my phone number, when I’ve put it on the first line of my CV.

The CV you say to have read carefully…

They say that a candidate should research all they can about the company they’re interviewing for before the actual interview in order to give a good first impression. Well, this goes for the recruiter as well. This implies reading the potential candidate’s CV, visiting their website and browsing their different social networks. Learn about them, in a way.

Ask Me What I’m Looking For

In your opening line, you say you have a golden opportunity for me.
Here’s where you’ve got it all wrong! At best, you provide me with five lines including the vacancy title, the corporate sector (without providing me with the name of the employer), and a vague list of technologies ranging from C# to JAVA, with Open Office mentioned somewhere in the middle. And of course, to finish things off: “€30-50K salary, negotiable depending on experience”.

What an opportunity indeed! The job offer does not specify what I’ll be doing, who I’ll be working for, how or for how much.

Logically, the best way to entice candidates is to offer them more than what they already have. So, after studying their profiles, all you have to do is offer them a better deal in areas such as: the interest of the project/mission, team cohesion, quality of the tools used, work, location, training, etc.

You’ll never be able to convince someone to apply to your company by giving them a vague description of what he already does at his current job. Stand out from all the others. The only person to have ever made me consider taking up a job offer hooked me in pretty easily. All it took was a simple and unique question:

“Hello! How can your current job be improved?
– Working closer to home, the implementation of new technologies, and a motivating challenge.
– Perfect! I have 4-5 projects that correspond precisely to what you are looking for. Want to meet and talk about it?
– See you next week.”

Boom! By asking me this simple question, he made me realise that I can hope for more, that I should look for something better and that he has just what I need.

Don’t be presumptuous. Don’t assume what people are looking for. Ask them!

Sell the Position

Three things can be said in observing the evolution of employees within their company:

  • Some want to take on different projects in order to test new technologies and finish with the old boring Frameworks once and for all;
  • Others don’t ever want to leave their team because their managers and colleagues are “cool”;
  • Or the new project from the next office over is the envy of all the departments because they are working on great things and contributing to something of value.

On this basis, we can consider that the same mechanisms apply when it comes to changing jobs. Everyone expects something from their new job. For example, participating in challenging projects, acquiring or putting into place the skills and know-how that drive employees.

It’s no coincidence that an employee referral program is the best recruitment approach.

Notice the difference between this job offer:

“As part of a close-knit team, you will participate in all the phases of design and implementation of web projects.
You will be involved in the following:
Design and development of HMI in Asp.net and JavaScript;
Development of back-end modules and WCF web services;
Strong vigil on high technology.”
And this one, written by a friend:
“The company is really cool, we all eat lunch together and sometimes grab a beer after a good day. It’s really quite  motivating, you’ll participate in everything.
The product manager listens to everyone’s opinions and you’ll really be able to enjoy yourself: from front- and back-end development to even a web service, if you want.
Not to mention, the entire team is really driven, always looking for the latest tools that will allow us to improve and be more productive.”

You’re better off describing what the person will experience in the position rather than describing the experience that is required to fill the position.

As they say in Marketing, you don’t want to sell a list of features; instead, you want to highlight the functional and emotional benefits. When describing the position in order to entice candidates, focus the attention on the adventure, the experiences and the benefits of your project.

Don’t speed through the stages of the hiring process. Wait until you’ve seduced the candidate and you’ve had a few exchanges with him before mentioning the prerequisites and the job responsibilities.

In a competitive sector, the first challenge is convincing the candidate of the relevance of your proposal instead of putting up the entry barriers right off the bat. The perfect candidate might not be the one who’s CV corresponds to every single criteria you listed in your preferred Job Board.

You’ll come to understand that you can’t publish a job offer as you would just throw in some bait into the ocean and hope that some big fish rises to the bait. In the midst of passive yet demanding candidates, it is no longer a question of hunting them down, but mainly a question of attracting new talents.  To keep up with this trend, your best weapon against the competition is to use sourcing, qualification and communication tools with candidates.

I love my job and I’m not looking for a new one. However, if a recruiter were to get in touch with me, I would hope he uses tools such as Hello Talent in order to get to know me better and have a constructive discussion with me about my career development goals.

At Talentsoft, we believe that the best way to recruit talented developers is through collaboration, ambition and innovation. With the help of our tools, we aim to encourage communication, evolution and joint projects. These are the values that foster fruitful and enduring relationships.


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