How to attract the best tech developers into your startup

- October 15, 2021 3 MIN READ
Photo: AdobeStock
Devices, apps and digital services increasingly dominate our lives and workplaces.

The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation for many businesses, and what this means is that demand for coders and developers is now higher than ever. 

Research from Indeed found that programmers are one of the most in-demand jobs in Australia’s most significant growth potential.

It’s great news if you work in the IT industry; however, if you’re currently recruiting for a developer, be prepared to put up a good fight.

This article will share some tips on how to attract developers into your business. 


What’s your employee value proposition?

In July this year, Commonwealth Bank announced it was pushing to hire hundreds of top-level software engineers as part of its strategy to operate like global tech firms.

They’re planning to recruit around 50 in a month. What this means is your business is not only competing with glamorous tech giants like Canva and Atlassian — you’re also against other industries for the same skills. This means that companies need a solid attraction and engagement strategy that will lead to the best developer candidates. 

Attracting developers to your business begins with a compelling employee value proposition (EVP) — that is, why should I work for you over a tech giant? What’s in it for me? To nail your EVP, you need to understand what developers are looking for in an employer. Spoiler alert — it’s not fancy bean bags, yoga classes and pool tables. 

According to research by HackerRank, investment into their professional learning and development is the most desired quality. After all, tech is a forever moving beast, and developers are always looking to upskill in the latest programming languages, methodologies and systems.

Attracting software developers means communicating career pathways to grow their careers once they join. The second biggest thing developers are also looking for is flexible working hours followed by a competitive salary. 

While your business can communicate your EVP on your website and through job ads, if your candidate has a poor recruitment experience, it’ll leave a bad taste in their mouth towards your brand. 


Developers look for founders with a good track record 

Many startups don’t have high-profile founders but if your founders and management team have an outstanding track record of successful projects, be sure to mention this and use it to your advantage. 

Highly skilled developers are likely to have worked for a few startups and can sense any inconsistencies. One developer posted a question on Quora on what would motivate a programmer to join a startup. It was a hot topic. One user, a Senior Software engineer, answered:

“Don’t reject my application if I don’t immediately buy into the wonderfulness of your great idea. I’ll come to work every day and work hard and effectively to make your dream a reality. It’s up to you as a founder to have dreams that are not complete fantasy, and it’s up to me to write good code…”.

Developers are also looking into the investors of the startup. Investors with high ratings and solid industry experience will give credibility to the project — and most importantly, that the startup can afford to pay the salary.


Evaluate skills and potential

Contrary to old school belief, you don’t need a degree to be a successful developer. According to Hired, a computer science degree isn’t necessary to get a job as a developer. When shortlisting candidates, evaluate the skills rather than over-emphasising on formal education. 

Many developers are self-taught or learned coding from a boot camp. Google and Microsoft have launched a range of digital skill courses with Google Career Certificates and Microsoft’s next stage of skills initiative to help build more job-ready skills to start or advance careers in high-demand fields like tech.

In our increasingly digital world, hiring developers will continue to be a challenge. Despite that, businesses can improve their chances of hiring great developers by sticking to a robust recruitment strategy, nurturing talent, and focusing on the company’s unique benefits.

Developers are looking for sustainable projects, continued investment into career development and greater work flexibility. 

  •  Jessica Bilston-Gourley is the founder and director of Positive HR