On hiring developers (Part III - Rules of Attraction)

Let’s talk about general rules of attraction. Don’t forget to read other parts - Part I - Part II and Part IV.

Job ids are important and it takes time to create a good one, but you have to do much more to attract awesome developers.

Once I gave a talk about Continuous Delivery and have never mentioned a word about company I work for. Just after performance a guy came to me and said:

You’re so awesome at FooBar, do you hire?

Remember — I haven’t mentioned a word about the company. This phenomenon led me to the following observation:

When you talk about cool stuff, people think you’re applying all the stuff at work.

In fact, you don’t have to do hot stuff at work! Sometimes it’s enough when your people know how to do hot stuff. Therefore, as a company you must do everything you can so your people speak on public. You must invest in your people’s public speaking skills intensively. You can start with conducting internal trainings or giving speeches in front of colleagues. Continue with a local meetup (e.g. Latvian Software Craftsmanship Community). Then TED, of course.

Go and speak at user groups or a conference, homebody!

Be active member of IT community

I admire companies that support IT communities. However, there is a problem. Most companies who spend money on user group and conference support don’t use all potential it offers.

Putting big banner in lobby is OK, it improves your brand recognition at some extent, but everyone with few hundred bucks can do it.

As a leader of a local user group I expect sponsors to be active and creative. But usually it’s not the case. Here is my message to sponsors:

Dear sponsor! Turn on your creativity and work closely with community leads. Otherwise you’re wasting $.

Surprise people, organise challenges, “special” events, competitions, quizes, give out cool freebies, books etc. Move on!

Show how you get shit done

Inviting for a coffee is much more effective than inviting for an interview. Coffee talks are much more personal and does not involve stress. If you invite me for a coffee without mentioning interview — likely I will come to your office in the sake of curiosity, will talk to you, see how you get shit done and make connections with you and your peers. This practice worked extremely well for me in the past. I didn’t hire these guys immediately, but most of them returned later when they considered changing job.

A rule of thumb — make sure people visit your office and feel excited how you get shit done.

You can also make your office serve as a meetup location — organise open trainings (hope there is something you’re good at), hackaton or invite a rockstar speaker. You don’t have to have TED-level speakers work for you or a ninja trainer — feel free to invite one from the outside.

Center of the universe

Everyone wants to feel important and wanted. Look at this message:

Hey Andrew! I came across your profile which made me feel very excited. Work you’ve done at FooBar is just mind-blowing! We’re growing our engineering team in Riga and looking for brilliant minds. Would you mind having a coffee in our office next week?” (c) CTO of TuxMux

And now compare to this one:

Hi Andrew,

My prestigious financial client is looking for a programmer to join their team.

Role: Java Developer

Rate: Negotiable

Location: Riga

Requirements: — Expert PowerShell skills …

This is an excellent opportunity to work within a financial client with no previous experience required.

To apply please send an updated copy of your CV. Notice periods of 1 month or less are welcomed.

Kind regards,

Feel the difference.

Few more things

  • Don’t let headhunters / recruiters talk to developers without proper control and mentorship from IT side. To be fair, IT guys require mentorship from recruiters too.
  • Don’t worry to invite candidate recurrently (once a year is good enough). Persistence matters.
  • Your company GitHub account attracts wildly.
  • If your people don’t refer friends and peers — referral bonus will not help. Problem hides much more deeper. Probably, you’re not attractive.

To be continued…

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