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Why you’re getting your developer recruitment wrong

Posted by Ben Smith on 9th January 2019

The stock of software developers has perhaps never been higher. Not only do the tech giants have an insatiable demand for their services, but ‘traditional’ brands also see hiring developer talent as a major strategic priority as they seek to disrupt their own businesses and markets.

It’s great news if you’re a developer of course, but not so much for the brands themselves. The fact is, the likes of Google and Facebook still have somewhat of a stranglehold on the recruitment market (well, aside from Facebook’s, shall we say, ‘controversial’ 2018…) For those smaller tech brands, and especially for non-tech brands, it can be incredibly hard to attract developer talent.

But it’s ok — we’ve all seen the glossy promo shots of Google’s offices haven’t we. Just chuck a few bean bags around! Free pizza to fuel late night coding sessions! Ping pong tables for all! That’s how you persuade developers that you’re the best place for them to work, right?


We’ve conducted our own research with developers, which found that 51% of developers would prioritise coaching and professional development over superficial ‘perks’. When it comes to what makes employers attractive in their eyes, software developers said they were looking to work on challenging projects (56%), collaborate with skilled colleagues (48%), and be part of a vibrant and supportive culture (46%).

As our new report How to hire developers highlights, this professional drive is what is often misunderstood and forgotten about in the race to attract talent. It’s easy to dress your organisation up as somewhere ‘fun’ to work. It’s not so easy to authentically communicate the technical challenges your company presents to developers and to demonstrate the personal and professional development opportunities you offer.

This isn’t just a ‘recruitment issue’. It means brands need to be bolder in telling their innovation stories rather than focusing their comms efforts exclusively on customers — something that a lot of companies simply aren’t used to doing. However, as the competition for talent gets fiercer you need to make PR a part of your recruitment strategy.

It’s why we’ve launched our new employer branding service — to help brands communicate to developers authentically, from senior leadership to the teams on the frontline.

Our experience as a tech specialist agency means we can help recruitment teams craft the stories that will resonate with what developers really want from an employer.

To find out more, drop us a line.

Ben Smith

Ben’s deep knowledge of sectors as diverse as electronics and IT, cleantech and medtech means he has a wide range of experience to draw on for his clients – ensuring that no two campaigns are the same. Ben’s expertise lies in helping his clients to raise their profiles beyond trade media and he has a proven track record in running campaigns that deliver coverage in national, business and consumer publications.