The process of hiring remote software engineers can be overwhelming for both candidates and recruiters. In a fast-paced and competitive job market, with a large number of jobs available and a small number of candidates available, it's difficult to really stand out from the crowd and make a unique impression.
Every company wants to be able to attract and convert the most qualified candidates to join their recruitment process. In order to do that, they need to make sure that their company and the job opportunities they are offering are something that will catch the attention of candidates and make them decide to invest time in your company versus another.
It's really not just up to the candidates to stand out and make a good impression during a recruitment process. Companies need to put in the effort to brand themselves as a desirable workplace and a place that fosters great talent, both before, during, and after a recruitment process.
How can you stand out as an employer?
Design a good job ad
Be transparent about compensation and benefits
Showcase career development opportunities
Avoid a long list of requirements
Simplify the application process
Let’s dive into each step in more detail:
1. Design a good job ad
When designing a job ad, you should put just as much focus on describing your company and its culture as you would put on describing the job. Job ads are typically the candidate's first meeting with your company and it's a unique place to advertise yourself and how it's like working there.
What are the company's main vision and mission? What types of products or services are you offering your customers and why? How does the organization look in terms of size and distribution? What are the values that you've built your culture on top of? You should put energy into writing this as a personal sales pitch that will trigger the candidate's interest and consideration.
You should also try to describe how the engineering team looks. How big is it, how is it structured, what methodology do they use and which team does this specific role belong to. This is information that software developers consider important when assessing a job offer and something that could make them quickly decide if it's a good match for them or not.
By reading your job ad, candidates should be able to get a feeling of what it's like working at your company and what it means to be part of your team. They should be able to relate to your values and the way you work. If you manage this, we promise you that your offer will stand out and trigger conversion.
2. Be transparent about compensation and benefits
Unless someone is looking for some charity or volunteering work, it is obvious that salary constitutes a crucial component of any job offer. Stop treating it as a taboo or a secret only to be revealed at the very last step of the recruitment process. If you are a serious employer that is looking for quality tech talent to join your team, you have to be transparent about compensation and benefits early on.
According to our research, salary is considered the top factor for software developers to consider a new job opportunity. An adequate and competitive compensation package is in most cases what is going to trigger a candidate into starting a recruitment process with you.
If you can't or don't want to include the exact compensation in the job offer, try to at least include some kind of salary range just to give the candidates an idea of what to expect. This way, you will not risk wasting anyone's time in case you're too far from each other from the beginning.
We have also seen that an attractive benefits package is the second most important factor for software developers when considering something new. Make sure you put up a list of benefits that software engineers can value, such as paid vacation, remote work allowance, insurance, flexible working hours, and learning budgets just to name a few.
If you need some insight into average salaries across different countries, check this great salary calculator by Buffer.
3. Showcase career development opportunities
Speaking of benefits and being upfront, make sure to also showcase what you have to offer the candidate in the long run. The position looks interesting and the compensation is attractive, but is that enough? In order to really make or break the deal, you have to try and draw up the long-term picture for candidates.
For example, outline the potential career path and show how this position can lead to new roles, responsibilities, and opportunities in the future. The top 1% of candidates are not likely to stay in a position for more than a year unless they get the opportunity to evolve and grow both professionally and inside the company. Research has shown that the average turnover rate of software developers is 27,2% and that 31,5% report career advancement issues as the reason for switching jobs.
You have to show the candidates that you genuinely care about their professional development and that you have a structure and a plan in place to make that happen.
4. Avoid a long list of requirements
We all want to attract the perfect person for the role and spend as little time as possible going through people that don't fit the requirement. This is probably the reason why a lot of companies build long lists of requirements for every role they publish. But is this really the best way to do it?
Instead of putting all requirements into one big list, do an exercise where you split the requirements into must-haves and nice-to-haves. The must-haves should be a shorter list of requirements that is essential to succeed in this job while the remaining requirements can be put into a nice-to-have section below.
Is professional experience with Git or Redis equally important to professional experience with Java if the person is going to build back-end systems with Java? Don't overwhelm the candidates with requirements and put emphasis on soft skills in the same way as hard skills. Remember, you are there to catch their attention and make them interested in engaging - not to scare them away.
Once the job offer is published, remember to keep it updated. Make necessary changes to it along the way and adjust according to feedback from candidates.
5. Simplify the application process
When it comes to the application process - optimization is key. Get rid of old and tiresome application forms. It should be quick and easy for the candidates to show interest in your company and the job opportunity you have to offer. They should be able to engage with you from the start, without having to go through multiple pages of information only to wait a few weeks before they hear back from you. Treat candidates the same way you would treat new customer leads. Establish good processes to nurture the candidates from the point they apply.
Another thing to keep in mind is to manage their expectations. The candidate has made a decision to engage with your company and it's only fair that they get informed upfront about what this will require from them. Be clear about the steps of your recruitment process and how much time the candidate will need to invest.
You should also make sure to inform them early on about any tests or take-home projects. Candidates normally apply to multiple jobs at the same time and don't have enough time outside their full-time job to invest multiple hours in technical assessment for every recruitment process they engage in. You should think twice about the amount of time you expect candidates to put into your technical assessment and if possible, offer them compensation for it. Paid assessments are much more attractive than doing free work for a company you really don't know if you want to work for yet. Show the candidates that you respect and value their time.
These are some of our best tips to stand out as an employer in the never-ending race of attracting and hiring qualified software developers. Make sure to put your marketing hat on when designing a job ad and your sales hat on once a candidate has shown interest. Nowadays, recruiting software engineers requires so much more than it used to. It's not a one-way process where the candidate needs to put in all of the efforts - but a two-way process that requires just as much (if not more) from the employer.