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4 ways to improve your search for developers.


Meredith Stack


Sourcing candidates for open developer roles is a daunting task. There simply isn’t enough talent, and competition is steep. HackerRank, a tool that helps assess developers’ technical skills, published their annual community survey on the state of recruiting developers.

Based on HackerRank’s findings, we see four opportunities for you to widen your candidate pool, attract more candidates, and improve your offer acceptance rate.

  1. Look beyond candidates’ background and resumes. According to the 2018 report, 81% of hiring managers still use resumes as the first step in their process. However, only “55% of developers said resumes were a good reflection of their abilities.”

    While assessing a person’s coding skills with a tool like HackerRank is helpful, we recommend assessing traits and abilities as well. Research shows that cognitive ability, or the ability to learn and solve complex problems, is the strongest predictor of future job performance, and is especially strong for complex, technical roles (Schmidt & Hunter, 1988). Assessing for cognitive ability, as well as work style and personal motivations via a personality test, can help your hiring process better identify high potential talent. The combined insight into personality and cognitive ability allow you to identify candidates with the potential for success, even if they don’t have an obvious track record.

    At Berke, we encourage our customers who are hiring for developers to evaluate candidates' spatial recognition and learning ability (via the vocabulary module), as both of those traits are important predictors of technical capability and performance.
  2. Fine-tune your job descriptions and carry them through the interview process. According to HackerRank’s 2019 report, the #1 way to lose technical candidates is advertising an unclear role. There are many approaches to improving a candidate’s understanding of the job. For instance, Mailchimp finds success by “work[ing] closely with hiring managers to create job postings, to ensure they end up with a role description that accurately communicates the available position.” The more specific your job description is, the more likely you are to attract candidates whose aspirations and abilities align with the open position.

    The interview provides another opportunity to convey the day-to-day responsibilities. Ask developers who work in similar capacities to meet with the candidates and talk about their role and responsibilities, and allow the candidate to ask questions. Walk the candidate around the office, and introduce them to members of the team. A tour will help them get a feel for the culture and see the office environment.
  3. Develop and promote training programs for popular languages. Developers are thirsty for knowledge. The 2019 report found that when developers are considering accepting a role, the most important factor is professional growth. HackerRank explains, “developers are eager to learn Go, Kotlin, and Python in 2019.”
  4. Advertising jobs on sites like Stack Overflow, YouTube or music sharing sites. Developers are often self-taught, and they visit sites like Stack Overflow and YouTube to get their questions answered. They also listen to music when coding. Dance and Electronic music is the most popular genre for developers under 53, while 54+ lean towards Classical. So consider purchasing ad inventory on music sharing sites like Spotify and specifically targeting those musical genres. Focus ad messaging on work/life balance, in particular, flexible work schedules and professional growth opportunities are the most in-demand perks for developers who are looking for a job.

When facing challenges attracting and selecting candidates, it’s necessary to be thoughtful and creative with your recruitment marketing and to look beyond your usual candidate pool to consider people whose resumes look different than your current employee base.

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