There is probably no other job market so crowded, and yet so badly in need of well-working employees.
Staff rotation in IT development is one of the biggest, just next to the fast food industry, which makes IT market a place where many seem to work hard, but not many seem to deliver.
Searching for a good developer is like an endless battle.
Like being trapped in a black hole with no way out. You just keep ending up with so-called coders, over and over again, no matter what you do.
In the crazy number of almost twenty million developers searching for a job, many CTO’s are going nuts by having the bad luck of hiring only the incapable ones.
The good news: it’s not exactly about the bad luck.
Just by building the right plan of action, you remove the risk of obvious fails significantly, and by following the plan, you really hire the right ones.
By reading further, you will find how to make that happen.
But if you really think you have no time at all, fix it now with one click.
This article is dedicated to CTOs and Hiring Managers, struggling with the recruitment of talented developers.
Like a compass, it will help you keep the spaceship on the right course and not fall into black holes.
You don’t need any super set of skills to make that happen.
Before we start, you may want to check other possibilities of hiring people, like Outsourcing, or Augmentation.
You will find many tips dedicated precisely to React developers, but we think others can benefit as well.
We made it to show how we do it, and how you can improve your recruitment by using our advice.
We shorten the obvious stuff to almost nothing and focused on specific actions and what really matters.
If hiring people feels like a pain to you, here’s your doctor.
Headhunters vs Yourself.
This one will be short.
It’s easy and tempting to just go for the HR agency if you have money.
Or if you really want to make it quick, as you have no time, or resources to take care of it.
But just don’t!
Agencies will take up to 20%-25% of a yearly salary for themselves.
On top of that, in order to fight for the attention of employees, you have to pay additional fees, just to be included in the game at all.
Invest this money in something to improve your work, or work of others instead.
Mind that developers from Headhunters are the most disloyal ones.
You hire the guy and the next month he wants to change the job.
It’s too risky to give projects to people like that, no matter how good they seem to be.
Give this money to other people instead. You may persuade the hesitating ones, or highly motivate somebody else from your team.
Just don’t overpay for something you can easily arrange yourself.
Your wallet will love it, just as much as your accountants.
Employer Branding is about making your company hot and sexy for employees.
It gives the feeling of people working for you not because you hunt them down, but because they choose and want to.
You know how to reward and how to keep them fresh and motivated.
You invest in culture and provide whatever is needed to make things happen.
And obviously, you make things happen and you have a lot to do.
There are many different reasons people follow to choose the company.
We will write more about them in the next chapter, but the most important are:
- Feeling stressless
- Money and benefits
- Feeling special
Good Employer Branding is able to deliver the feeling of all four of them together.
As money and self-improvement may seem obvious, feeling special and stressless needs a bit more attention.
People should be feeling good, unique and outstanding while saying loud the name and the position of their work.
They should be proud and extremely open to distribute their business cards or add the title to their Facebook page.
For many of them, their work position and a company, is a way to say loud more about themselves, without a need of saying anything.
In other words, good Employer Branding allows people to show off, without a need of showing off and looking cocky.
Fast Food Effect
Now, think of famous fast food restaurants.
Difference between them and some local restaurant, is that in famous fast food restaurant you know exactly what to expect, you know the price, and there is no gamble.
This is branding. In other words, a promise you constantly keep and everybody can rely on that.
Employer Branding works the same way.
You have a clear career path and rules which makes a tempting promise you can keep.
Avoid Being Literal
If you want to start EB on your own, first of all, don’t say you have a great team. Show something to prove it.
Show your inner culture without saying anything about the inner culture.
If it’s really special, it will speak for itself.
Take us as and others as an example:
Red Badger Team
Show The Trust That Paid Off.
You sale yourself to employees.
And there is no better sales technique than a good reference.
The most famous reasons why developers leave their jobs are:
- Unstable contracts
- Rotation inside the company
- Slow projects or lack of projects
- Weak brand
- Poor management
Which sounds more like just losing time and money.
So you want to show how different it is in your company.
If you have people working for a long time, use their story.
If you have people working for a long and get promoted – show it.
You have people working for a long on one position? Even better!
It makes your culture less “greedy for success” and employees don’t have to think about the promotion constantly, to live a good life.
And that’s exactly what you want to show. People wanting/choosing you.
Employer Branding Team
Some companies have their own teams to handle Employer Branding, as it is becoming more advanced and complicated to reach great developers.
Many of these developers start to dwell in this trend, as it makes them feel even more special.
In our opinion, you don’t want them. You may prefer to have someone loyal, more stable and motivated by opportunity, not by the glory.
So, save yourself time and money. Sometimes simple tactic is enough.
However, the takeout from Employer Branding should be the quote from Miss Manners:
It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.
Now let’s get inside the developer’s head to help them discover your qualities.
Developers are still people and our fundamental needs are the same.
We may differ one way or another, but the core is unchangeable since we exist.
We want to:
- feel good
- look good
- feel important
- feel comfortable
- be happy
- be liked
- be right
- be attractive
- have fun
- make money
- be safe, etc.
Many years ago, the world’s copywriting legend, Robert W. Bly gives a great example in his “Copywriter’s Handbook”, describing the IT people using “BFD Formula”, which stands for Beliefs, Feelings and Desires.
They discover that most of them believe “they are smarter than other people, technology is the most important thing in the world, users are stupid, and management doesn’t appreciate them enough.”
They also feel “an adversarial relationship with management and users, both of whom they service. They feel others dislike them, look down upon them, and do not understand what they do.“
And they want “to be appreciated and recognized. They prefer to deal with computers and avoid people whenever possible. And they want bigger budget.“
Obviously, this is not the ultimate description for each and every developer, but you cannot talk to every individual out there, so you have to put them in some sort of boxes.
However, the real point here is that this could be the description of almost anybody working in your company. Not developers or IT only.
They think they are smarter, sales is most important, they think nobody understands what they really do, and they are the most unappreciated ones in the whole company.
You could put almost anybody in this formula and you have a great description of a “Man at Work”, struggling with the same sort of feeling, beliefs, and desires.
Typical Workers vs Developers
Although, some stuff still may trigue good developers much better than others.
If you put a good developer next to another “John Smith”, you may discover that they are:
- more curious
- more logical
- more problem solving
- more straightforward
- more quality minded
- more creative
- more excited about working stuff
- more open to automate whatever they do
- hate being interrupted
- hate multitasking
Good recruitment is the one that can sparkle most of these points during the interview.
You want to check if candidate have these features, as well as you want to show you have them yourself.
We will talk about it more in further chapters.
Developers vs React Developers.
So, is there anything specific you should be aware of if you want to hire React Developer?
The most important thing is React is pretty easy to learn.
In fact, it is one of the easiest right now.
Based on research, more than half of today’s developers are self-educated.
It doesn’t mean they are bad. Many times, they work way much better than the school-educated ones.
But it also means you should be aware of “youngsters” with some knowledge, but not exactly the experience needed to handle a big thing.
We will show you a few good practices to separate newbies from pros.
But before, let’s agree on what not to do.
The Fallacy of Logic (What People Do, Even if it Doesn’t Work).
Hiring people seems not easy, but in fact, it can be if you stay away from doing irrelevant stuff.
In order to focus on doing the right thing, you need to unfocus from doing the wrong.
Let’s list some of the fallacies people fall into while they hire people:
The fallacy of being professional.
Take the stick out of your back and be a human as you are.
You search for someone to match your team, your way of being, and sooner or later it will come out who you really are, so save yourself a trouble.
This tactic may work if you want your candidate feel small and stupid, but why would you?
Don’t try to be corporate and pretend you are bigger than you really are.
If you don’t know how to act well, you will just embarrass yourself.
You will look like a parody of professionalism. And a good developer will smell it right away.
Save yourself time and cost, just by being yourself.
The fallacy of secret money.
As we said before, developers are more straightforward.
They want to know exactly what you can offer, as they respect their time and hate guessing.
They will think it’s a low-level job, as the price is mostly hidden in really crap proposals full of catches.
More than that, by showing the price, you immediately give the first sign on how serious the work is.
You are also not playing the game of “how much would you like to earn?” which is uncomfortable for almost everyone.
People see the clear career path with a flat and fair salary and it gives the signal you treat everyone equal and reward based on skills and not on personal preferences.
The fallacy of being general.
Being precise and clear makes your offer more attractive.
You also immediately put down the incapable ones, or the ones that just think they can handle.
Avoid being general. Explain as much as possible. It will save you miles in the future.
Explain what kind of technologies you use. Are they new, or wooden old?
What kind of projects you have? Explain the project life cycle. What would be his role?
What about the code? Do you push for quantity or quality?
What kind of clients you have? What industry you cover best?
In order to hire the right guy, you need to be precise, or you will attract monkeys.
This will also help you avoid the other famous fallacy:
The fallacy of intuition.
“I like him” is probably the most useless reason to hire a developer.
It can be the side reason, but never the reason by itself.
A developer needs to be relevant and capable.
Then, if you hesitate, take the one you like and fit your flow more than others.
But never other way around.
You can also find more fallacies in our post about “How Not To Hire Developers”
Take them as reasons why you must be well prepared.
As we said, in order to focus on doing the right thing, you need to unfocus from doing the wrong.
Buy reading further, you will learn how to do both.
But enough with the theory.
Let’s get to work.
How To Search for a Developer?
First, you need to get your website running.
You sell yourself to candidates, just the same as you sell yourself to a client.
Obviously, they want to work with the best, but more than that, they need to know they can trust you.
The website is to build this trust.
You show how you work, what you value, what you have done, and how others already trusted you with a benefit for them.
For candidates, your relationship with a client is a reflection of your relationship with an employee.
Now, make sure that the “Career” page is full of information we mentioned before. In the next chapters, we will also create your candidate profile to put there.
Good developers are in high demand, which encourages them to search jobs often, just because they can.
By having “Career” page, you keep your gates open all the time.
More than that, you create the feeling that you search for people constantly, as you have many projects coming in, on a daily basis.
Setup your Google Analytics to keep an eye on the traffic and incoming applications.
Where To Hang Your Job Ad?
To hire full time, search locally in the most famous work portals.
Use also those links. But before, check if it matches your business profile:
Where To Search for a Good Developers?
First of all: Pagepro.
But here are some other options as well:
LinkedIn – which became the most popular place to search for a job lately.
How To Attract?
Based on research, different age sparks different needs.
- The 20+ yrs old student will be more into knowledge and improving his skills
- 25-30 will start becoming greedy
- 35+ will be looking for a good work/life balance to raise the family
There are still some details making the difference, which are personal needs and some specific requests, but this you need to decide if you are ready to give.
However, here is the list of the most important factors to attract a good developer:
- Good work/life balance
- Growth and learning
- Interesting/challenging work
- Money and benefits
- Work environment
- Health benefits
If you can cover all the points, you are fantastic, and you don’t need much more to attract good developers.
Attracting people may sound hard, but stay cool.
Many good developers are ready to get out from a bandwagon anytime they find something better, which is both good and bad news.
Good, as it makes great developers almost always available.
Bad, as it means they will sooner or later start to look around if won’t be pleased with what you have.
This makes the recruiting process, an endless process.
However, check the offers of others and check what more you can give.
Maybe they give something extra that nobody thought about before.
Be creative. If you can’t, make sure you have the previous six points covered, and you are already better than many employers on the market.
Your recruitment can fire up quick, but it can also appear to be very quiet and slow.
To make sure you are doing well, try to control the performance and find the weakest link.
You can do that by checking the differences in:
- “Career” page traffic vs incoming resumes (ad attractiveness, application errors)
- Incoming resumes vs tasks done (proposal may attract the wrong ones)
- Tasks done vs meetings (was the task too boring for the level you aiming for?)
- Quantity and quality of people hired (competent recruitment team)
Workshops and Lectures
Developers love free knowledge.
They also like to attend specific events to meet more professionals, get the news and stay tuned with all what’s coming up.
So more and more companies organize workshops, or attend IT events as an experts.
It’s a great way to present your work, values and culture, as well as meet the younger generation and get in touch with them.
But on top of that, you get the army of developers just for yourself for a while.
And that’s a huge advantage, considering this crowded job market.
Setting Up Your Candidate Profile.
There are three kinds of people you may search for:
- Necessary ones.
- Desired ones.
- Useful ones.
It should be enough to set up your profile. Let’s make a template out of it:
Profile of a Perfect Candidate
- experience with specific technologies and challenges (and frequency of change)
- code examples
- abilities and language skills
- personal attributes
- education (if you really care, but we suggest not. It can sabotage your decision)
- extra certificates
- other experience
- passion (excited, interested in technologies, enjoying coding)
- communicative (soft skills)
- recommended by other professionals
- worked in fancy places
- happy to do lectures / represent company
- blogging/vlogging experience
Again, you can also take us as an example.
After that, let’s get to the recruitment stages to find The Golden One.
So you have a good job ad, hanging somewhere on the internet.
By now, your candidates should already click to get in.
Let’s turn down the incapable ones.
The Art of Turning Down.
If possible, make a job application and put all the features from perfect candidate profile in there, exactly how you made it.
Don’t worry if your application seems long. Good developers are ok with that.
If possible, go even further by giving a specific task to reveal the application form. By this, people can apply only if they know how to crack the code.
You avoid useless CV’s of people that can do everything, or just had been part of some project, but have no clue how to do it themselves.
But if you choose to go the traditional way, by posting your job offer on the web, be ready to dismiss around 70% of incoming CV’s before the first contact.
Making a special place in CRM for incoming applications will help you keep it tide.
If you know how, set up the automail to ALL candidates.
All the emails, even the rejection ones, creates a strong point in your image as a serious player.
When you have your best 30%, it’s good to call them all and have a quick chat.
Let them introduce themselves and explain a bit more about what they do.
Inform about all the recruitment stages and explain that the next step is a specific task.
We prefer to keep more questions for the meeting, to do not sabotage our decision.
First, we want to check the capabilities.
It’s a great way to separate serious candidates from circus ninjas.
Out of your best 30%, about half of them will make it to the next round.
The task will help you examine what kind of thinking and approach the developer used, and what kind of code quality he can deliver.
If he didn’t do it the perfect way, but it works, you can go thru the task with him on a meeting.
This will help you discover how well he can communicate his thoughts.
Some good developers losing their minds when put in unexpected stress and time pressure for free.
You still may want to give him a chance.
Give him around 10-15 minutes to explain more about his CV and resume.
What he did? What he was doing the last 3 years? How he did it? What was his role in projects? What he knows about related technologies? Are there any good references from his past clients?
Then, take the task he was solving, and go over it together. Let him explain what was his approach and what else could be done.
After a few more React related questions, you should have a clear view of how capable he is.
Ask him to give you two or three days to make a decision, and you will call him, or send him an email with further steps.
Optional Day of Work
In Pagepro, we sometimes ask developers to come for one day of work.
It’s good to see how easily they can find themselves in between the rest of the team.
Besides that, you see if they actually work, or walk around in order to let the time pass.
Well-Done recruitment is the one with more than one and less than five candidates at the end of the whole process.
Normally by now, you should have your Golden One, but if you still hesitating, or the skills are pretty similar, now is the time to use your gut feeling and compare the personalities.
Which one will fit your office more? Be subjective for a while.
Imagine working with him for the next few months every day.
Now also imagine how far is he ready to go for the project?
Sometimes the perfect ones are the hardest ones to handle, with too many personal requests and endless expectations. You won’t please them.
So you may prefer someone not so perfect, but very promising. He is probably more willing to push himself and improve.
As we mentioned before, good developers switch places often.
So maybe take someone loyal and stable to save yourself future trouble.
More or less now, after around two months of recruiting, you made it.
You just got yourself a brand new Golden React Developer.
Taking Care of the (Promising) Future.
First Days and The Test of Patience.
Based on Hackerrank research, the second biggest problem is to evaluate the candidate.
Don’t panic if your New Developer will not be able to immediately sit and do whatever is needed.
Some good developers need time to adapt and get comfortable with the new environment.
We know great developers that fired up after six months.
Be patient. You know you have the best you could get. So don’t worry and follow the tips:
You want to keep them fresh and motivated, so:
Let Them Do The Work
Meetings are for people who have no idea what to do. When given good instructions, the developer knows exactly what to do.
Project Manager should be able to handle some questions himself, without a constant need for consultancy.
Shrink the meeting needs to an absolute minimum and keep the PM’s away.
What’s even more important, is that developers hate wasting time on badly managed projects.
Allocate the right people to the right project and give them something they would be excited about. Work will fire up immediately.
Also, mind that project stagnation can easily burn out the enthusiasm.
Take Care of The Ego
If work is well done, appreciate it.
It’s like an art, and every artist likes to feel needed and appreciated once for a while.
Use The Latest Technologies
Don’t slow people down by asking them to work on old software versions.
They will feel downgraded and old.
Every single developer wants to improve his skills over and over again.
They want to stay attractive to the constantly innovating and expanding market.
If you ask them to work with old technology, they won’t stay with you for a long, as everyone around is improving every day.
For them, it’s a waste of time and effort.
Good People Motivate One Another
Get rid of the negative people. Clear the atmosphere if needed. No negativity, period.
People follow other people. It’s tempting to ask:
“Why do I have to work, while this guy is doing nothing?”
Take out the trolls, to keep the culture of work getting done.
Give Special Tasks
Once in a while, give them something to make them feel special.
It will boost self-confidence.
Give The Right Machine
If you can afford a good developer, you can afford any machine.
There are more tips on how to make your people work good.
You will find them on our dedicated blog post “Taking Care of New Developers – 10 Tips to Become a Better Boss”
As you see, we believe anyone can do that.
All you need is good preparation.
If you still think you have no time at all, here’s something you may like.
If You Really Don’t Have Time
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