You’ve found yourself in a situation where you need to hire web developers at your company. Maybe your team needs to scale up and you find yourself in the position to hire one or two technical staff members to keep up with demand. Or maybe your existing developer quit, and now you need to fill their void to keep up with deadlines.
No matter how you ended up here, there are many ways to get yourself out of this situation and find the right developer to join your team. You share a job posting on Indeed and...crickets.
Where are all the applicants?
With a little bit of effort, you can discover more potential applicants for your technical job posting. The following five tips can help you increase your exposure within your industry and expand your pool of applicants.
Partner with code schools
There may be situations where you need to bring on Junior-level Rails developers. If you have motivated developers with more experience who can mentor and teach younger developers, this is a great option. In an industry teeming with jobs ads containing “Rockstar Developer” or “5+ years experience”, there is absolutely still a place for Junior Rails Developers to contribute to a team.
When you hire junior developers, your more experienced team members can hone their mentorship on communication skills, you’ll likely increase the energy level on your team (those fresh to a field often have the most enthusiasm!) and lessen the clashing that comes with a team of senior devs. I love this write-up on seven reasons companies should be hiring Junior Developers.
For us, partnering with Epicodus, a local Pacific Northwest-based code school, has increased our exposure to new developers and expanded our talent pool. We take part several times a year in their internship program, where we’re matched with students ending their curriculum. We take on interns in pairs but have the chance to interview 6-8 new junior developers throughout the process. Speaking with them helps increase our exposure to those new to the industry.
If you’re in the industry and haven’t become involved with a code school before, I’d encourage you to reach out and connect with the people that lead these programs. They’re often looking for companies to get involved in other ways. Epicodus hosts lunchtime talks with people in the industry. This gives students an opportunity to ask questions to someone in their new field and gives you insight into the upcoming generation of developers.
Mentoring, speaking, helping with mock interviews, or offering to review resumes are other helpful ways to support code schools. The best first step is to contact someone and express interest in helping out – they’ll surely find a way to get you involved!
Hold an active internship or apprenticeship program
Over the last two years, Planet Argon has been making an effort to improve our internship program. With every new intern, we learn a little more about what’s working and what isn’t, and provide many opportunities for our interns to provide feedback along the way. It’s become an important way for us to give back to the developer community.
When you hold an active internship or apprenticeship program, you’re also opening your doors for a wider talent pool in the future. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to hire every intern that comes through your program full-time. We’ve consciously made an effort to not hire our interns (or at least not without a formal application process).
We know that the skill set they learn during their time here will help them in another workplace, and also want to make sure our hiring process is as unbiased as possible.
When we opened up Junior Developer and other Internship postings this fall, we had several applicants for these roles who initially heard about our company through their peers that interned at Planet Argon. If you make an effort to put together a solid internship experience, you’ll benefit from positive word of mouth about your company.
Engage with meetups and local groups
There are tons of technical meetups and events scattered all across the globe. For example, a quick search for “Ruby” on Meetup.com resulted in 892 meetups around the world, with over 700,000 members. If you’re looking to hire Rails developers at any point, making connections at Ruby or Rails-centric meetups will be beneficial long-term. If you hire developers in other areas – like React.js, PHP, or Python, you’ll find tons of groups for those technologies as well.
It’s easy to attend an event as most are open to anyone with interest in the topic who will follow their expected code of conduct. Meetup is a great place to start. When you find an interesting group, join it, and keep an eye out for upcoming panels, happy hours, and networking events. When you attend these events, bring an open mind and be ready to listen.
If you’re part of a company who hires Rails developers, it’s also helpful to get involved in these groups beyond just attending their events. Meetups and niche groups are usually operating on a tiny budget and are always looking for sponsors to help with hosting events, providing food, or other costs associated with the group. There’s often a shortage of speakers and panelists to lead events as well.
We’ve hosted groups like Portland Women in Tech, the Portland Junior Developer Meetup, and Women Who Code at our Portland studio to get involved. We’ve seen the direct impact of hosting these groups, as we’ve had job applicants for our Rails Developer and Front-End Developer jobs who found out about us through these events.
Connect with contract and freelance developers
If you employ developers, it’s handy to have a set of contract and freelance developers in your contact list. This can be helpful if you have an additional project come up that you’re unable to complete without outside help, or if someone approaches you for a developers recommendation in your area of expertise.
It’s also helpful because not every freelancer will freelance forever. We’ve had a few developers on our team that freelanced prior to getting back into a full-time job, and have spoken with many others who have followed the same path.
We have a form on our website for freelance developers to get in touch with us – for future project opportunities we can send their way, and to make connections within the industry. We promote it most often when we’re needing temporary additional bandwidth on our development team. By building that relationship with freelance developers now, it’s helping to increase our pool of applicants for potential future jobs.
Participate in industry Slack groups
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of Slack groups related to the web and software development industries. These include channels dedicated to underrepresented groups in technology, specific frameworks or types of development and even channels for developers in certain cities.
Slack groups are not only excellent for keeping a pulse on the development industry, but also for connecting with other industry people you wouldn’t have otherwise met. Like meetups, there’s a Slack group for every topic. Many organized groups like Women Who Code and local Ruby groups will have a Slack group alongside their in-person meetings for additional communication.
They’re a useful resource for requesting input on a tech-related problem (and giving answers to others questions!), meeting others with a shared interest, and for sharing job opportunities. When we’re hiring for Rails developers, sharing the job in various Ruby and Rails related Slack groups is on our to-do list.
It can be tough to find the right addition to your technical team of developers. But having a broad pool of applicants can make the search a bit easier. Do you have any strategies for expanding your pool of applicants for development roles?
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