Tech Recruiting Guide

How you can find good developers

Coding rules the world. This may sound like a commonplace statement in 2019, yet it bears repeating. Digital products increasingly determine how we live, what we love, and how companies make money.

Virtually all industries are digitizing their processes and products. And the people who make this happen are developers. In fact, it is the most in demand job in 2019.

So, finding a talented developer for your project can be difficult, but there’s a way around it.

Executives worry about access to developer talent

Good developers are a rare resource. A 2018 study by Stripe and Harris Poll found that C-level executives worry more about access to developer talent than access to capital or the impact of Brexit.

Finding the best coders for your company’s needs might not be easy. The many different recruiting options can seem overwhelming at first. But it is possible: you’ll just need to understand how developers want to work and live.

The recruiting process starts with one question

This guide walks you through various recruiting scenarios and their pros and cons. One basic question you will have to answer for your company: Do we want to hire developers for permanent positions (A) or work with freelancers (B)?

We at CodeControl believe in the future of work and strongly recommend working with freelancers—but we’ll get back to that later.

A. Finding developers for permanent positions

If you’re looking to shore up your in-house team with permanently employed developers, there are a couple of ways to do so.

1) Hire a headhunter

Headhunters are specialized professionals. It is their bread and butter to research, preselect and audition the best candidates for a position. Working with a headhunter can be a viable way to find your developers.

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However, you need to consider two things. Depending on their experience, headhunters can come at a high price. And while there are many qualified headhunters out there, few are specialized in finding the best coding talent.

Pro: You don’t bind internal resources. You might be able to fill the position fast if you work with a highly specialized headhunter.

Contra: You have to invest time to find a specialized headhunter. And when you do, you give up control of the recruiting process. Also, a good headhunter comes at a significant price.

2) Use a headhunting platform

Headhunting platforms like Honeypot or talent.io offer pools of developers and tech professionals looking for jobs.

talent.io embraces the idea of reverse recruiting. Companies apply, and employees decide which offer they like best. Honeypot emphasizes quality control. Registration is realized on an invitational basis for companies and employees. Both parties are evaluated on different criteria before being listed.

Pro: You don’t bind internal resources. You might be able to fill the position fast. You hire from a pool of tested developers.

Contra: You have to invest time to set up and maintain your company’s profile. You directly compete with other companies. You have external costs.

3) Use your HR department

You don’t need to outsource the search for top-notch developers if your HR department is up for the task.

First you need to clearly define the profile you’re looking for. Which coding skills are required for the position? How much work experience shall he or she have? What about quality references?

Based on your preferred profile, HR can start filtering candidates on platforms like LinkedIn, StackOverflow and GitHub. This step can take some time, and it should. You don’t want to miss out on an amazing developer just because you rushed the process.

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The best candidates make up your short list. Your HR professionals should contact them directly with a short, concise email. The email should include the reason why the developer absolutely needs to join your company.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get a couple of positive responses and can continue the recruiting process with interviews and coding tests.

Pro: You maintain full control over the process and avoid external costs.

Contra: The recruiting process can take a long time. It binds internal recources, while the position to fill remains vacant. Thus, internal costs easily add up.

B. Finding freelance developers

As we have noted here, working with remote or onsite freelancers has a couple of distinct advantages. Most importantly: freelancers offer a higher return on investment (ROI) than permanent employees. Projects get done faster and with better results.

More specifically, you are able to fill your position in less time. Freelancers are more flexible and readily available. You plug in the best developers for the specific demands of your project without having to commit long-term.

On the other hand, more and more people consciously choose to work as freelancers, as the latest “Freelancing in America”-study by Upwork shows. According to the study, technology makes it increasingly easy for freelancers to find work. At the same time, freelancers are more likely to achieve the lifestyle they want, compared to non-freelancers.

So, how do you find these prized assets?

1) Use freelance market places

Market places like Upwork or freelancer.de host big pools of freelancing professionals, including developers. These kinds of platforms work especially well for smaller projects (up to 2000 Euros) with rather broad requirements.

You will find qualified freelancers with all sorts of interesting profiles. Finding the one developer best suited to your specific project can be a challenge, though. There’s no form of curation on these marketplaces. This can make it hard to evaluate skill and fit of any given candidate.

Pro: You have a large pool of talent available. You avoid high external costs. You might be able to fill the position fast.

Contra: You have to go through a huge amount of freelancer profiles, while relying on the platforms’ filter functions. This can be very time-consuming.

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2) Use specialized freelance communities

Specialized freelance platforms like CodeControl offer curation and full-service recruitment, as well as project management if need be. Candidates are selected from a preselected pool of coding talent.

Freelancers in these communities are among the best developers available. Talent evaluators at CodeControl find those that are perfect matches for your profile.

Pro: You hire freelance developers from a selected pool of top-notch talents. You avoid binding internal resources. You are able to fill the position fast and with lower cost on average.

Contra: You have external costs and give up control over the hiring process to a degree.

3) Use your HR department

Basically the same procedure as described above. You define a profile for your ideal freelance developer and task your HR to find them on LinkedIn, Xing, StackOverflow, GitHub, or similar platforms.

The search process can be long and laborious. Even if you know exactly what you’re looking for and find good candidates, it’s not a given they’re available at the same time you need them.

On top of that, your HR staff may be more or less well-equipped to hire coding talent – which is not always the same as hiring talent in general. It is easier to look at a designer’s portfolio and evaluate his or her skill than it is with a developer’s coding ability.

Pro: You maintain full control over the process and avoid external costs.

Contra: The recruiting process can take a long time. It binds internal recources, while the position to fill remains vacant. Thus, internal costs run up high easily.

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Whichever way you choose to find your rockstar developers, choose wisely. The right hiring strategy may decide the future of your business.


Philipp Nagels

About the author

Philipp Nagels is a freelance writer and psychologist based in Berlin. He has years of experience in online journalism and copywriting. Among other places, he’s worked for Die Welt, Axel Springer Brand Studios, Upday, and Deutsche Bahn.

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