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How to recruit top tech talent

Robotics engineer students teamwork on project
NDAB Creativity / Shutterstock

1. Promote your job where techies hang out

To catch fish, you have to know what ponds they swim in.

It’s no surprise techies spend significant time on social media. And according to a 2019 Stack Overflow survey of nearly 89,000 software developers, Reddit is where most of them hang out. Surprisingly, only 5.3% of respondents reported using LinkedIn.

By taking time to research your target candidates, you’ll know where to best direct your recruiting efforts.

You also can use job sites to fill your tech roles. One strategy is to use tech-specific job boards like, Stack Overflow Jobs, GitHub Jobs and HackerEarth.

For even more reach, you could post a job on ZipRecruiter, and the platform will automatically distribute your listing to over 100 job boards, including tech-specific sites.

Lastly, search for virtual conferences and tech meetups, then have your current software engineers give presentations that mention the exciting projects your company is working on.

2. Give candidates what they want

Portrait of smiling Vietnamese software engineer
Dragon Images / Shutterstock

For a successful tech recruitment campaign, you need to create an irresistible offer. And to make an irresistible offer, you need to understand what tech candidates want in a job.

Since Reddit is popular among software engineers, it’s a good place to snoop for information.

Once you understand the goals and gripes of the typical candidate, you’ll have everything you need to write an attractive job description.

Make sure to use a proven structure that includes all relevant information. To speed up the recruiting process, you might try ZipRecruiter’s free software engineer job description template.

During your research, you’ll find that the overwhelming majority of professional developers are male. You can use this information in two ways, if you’ll forgive a couple more analogies to aquatic life:

  • Fish in the big, crowded pond. Use language and benefits in your marketing materials that target men — the way most other companies do it.
  • Fish in the small, uncrowded pond. Be one of the few companies with recruitment campaigns specifically targeting female developers.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so try both.

3. Cast a wide net

There are many benefits to hiring locally, but with tech workers in such short supply, hiring managers may need to search a much broader area.

Most tech jobs are remote-friendly, so there’s no need to limit yourself. As long as a candidate speaks your language, you can expand your recruitment worldwide.

Broadening your search internationally not only deepens your candidate pool, but it also can reduce costs.

For example, Eastern Europe is known for its talented English-speaking developers. Many Eastern European countries have a lower cost of living, meaning tech companies can hire equally talented candidates for less.

4. Set up a referral program

Woman pointing at computer screen, showing her friend something online
GaudiLab / Shutterstock

Instead of wasting your energy hunting for the perfect candidate, let your employees and network do it for you.

Start with your current tech team, because your employees likely have friends and colleagues who might be interested in your tech position.

You also can blast out your referral program to your network. Put up a cash prize for the person who introduces you to the winning candidate, and promote your offer on your personal and company social media channels, LinkedIn, your company website, email newsletters and anywhere else you can think of.

It feels good connecting people. It feels even better when you earn a reward for doing it.

5. Take advantage of tech hiring software

If you don’t have any tech or coding experience, it’s hard to judge an applicant’s technical skills.

One way to ensure a candidate is indeed a talented software engineer is to use technical screening software.

For example, tech hiring platforms like Codility and CodeSignal have built-in assessment tools you can use to test an applicant's coding skills.

These tools streamline the entire hiring process. They help you attract potential candidates, screen them, run assessments and predict job performance.

6. Protect your company image

User give rating to service experience on online application.
Blue Planet Studio / Shutterstock

It may seem obvious, but the first step to attracting tech professionals is to not repel them.

And if there’s one thing that repels, it’s bad company reviews.

Today’s world runs on social proof. Everything is based on reviews. And if the internet is littered with reviews bashing your company, it spooks job seekers. This is especially true when those reviews were written by former employees and applicants.

That’s why your company must provide a pleasant experience in every encounter, even with a job candidate who isn’t the right fit. Be courteous. Give feedback. Always go the extra step.

The last thing you want is for a disgruntled programmer applicant — someone well-connected in tech communities — to blast rotten reviews about your company all over the web.

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About the Author

Mitchell Glass

Mitchell Glass

Freelance Contributor

Mitchell is a freelance contributor to

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