It’s not a secret that demand for talented software developers is high. When a software development position is open for an extended period of time, sometimes hiring managers assume there must be a major shortage of software developers in this market.
I respectfully disagree: there are plenty of great developers, but it’s up to you as a hiring manager to effectively explain why your opportunity is the right fit for them.
Let’s take a closer look at the 5 main reasons developers are turning you down:
1. You aren’t involving your technical staff in the interview process
You might be the best manager in the world, but if you aren’t a hands-on developer who can answer advanced technical questions, you run the risk of turning off top talent. Developers are curious, detail-oriented people. They want to know how what they will be building works at the micro-level. They want to know that they’ll be working with people they can learn from, and they want to advance their skills.
Involving your best developers in the interview process shows that their opinions are valued in the company, which prospective developers find appealing.
2. You are making offers below the desired compensation
As the real estate market heats up again, it’s become the norm to read about properties getting offers above the listed asking price. Top-tier software developers are no different right now.
On average a top developer will have between 3-5 offers in hand by the time they’re ready to make a decision. While other factors such as the type of work, commute, and work-life balance are part of the decision, compensation is always going to be a deciding factor. If you are working with a staffing firm or your internal HR Department, have an open dialogue about what the candidate’s monetary expectations are. Making offers below this number almost always guarantees a refusal.
If your hands are tied with a low approved salary, try adding vacation time or offer to pay for additional training and certifications to increase the attractiveness of the offer.
3. Your interview process is disorganized
It’s very important that you can clearly articulate the interview process to prospective candidates from the beginning. This is especially important for gainfully employed candidates because they will need to make arrangements to take time off from work to interview.
I typically advise clients to have no more than three rounds of interviews, typically a phone interview followed by one to two on-site interviews. Cancelling interviews last minute, adding additional rounds late in the process, and not being prepared for interviews are a quick way to turn off prospective candidates, particularly top talent.
4. You can’t articulate the role’s responsibilities and expectations
Developers want to know what the expectations are for the role. Are they being brought in to do maintenance or new development? Are there major projects planned that they will be a part of? How does their role fit into the overall goals for the group? Being able to effectively explain these topics will help the developer evaluate if this is the right role for them.
Hiring managers need to remember that in a candidate driven market they need to “sell” top talent on why they should work for their company. You should be able to explain the competitive advantages of your company, the career path for the role, and go into detail about any exciting projects the candidate could be part of. Discuss past success stories about your team members such as recent promotions or significant achievements that have been recognized by the company.
5. Your technical landscape is outdated
If your technology is outdated and you don’t have a plan in place to make upgrades, don’t expect to be able to land top talent. The best developers know their worth is based on their experience working with the latest technology in the market.
If you are still running .NET 2.0 and SQL 2005, you need to have a realistic view of the level of developer you will not only be able to attract but also retain. At the very least know what your company’s timeframe is for the next upgrade, and be able to explain to the candidate how they might be able to play an active role in the upgrade when it comes time.