It’s not just software firms that hire developers — people with coding skills are needed in all departments and industries, from marketing right through to finance and sales.
However, the job listings for roles outside of the software industry rarely resonate well with developers. According to Stack Overflow’s developer survey, 68% of UK developers are still waiting to find their dream jobs. There’s huge appetite among developers to find new challenges, so it’s important to make sure your job listing caters to that need.
A successful developer job listing has specific requirements. It’s important to think carefully about what information candidates will find useful, and what they’ll find superfluous. Recruiters who fail to understand these requirements risk deterring great potential hires. It’s key to make sure the information you’re offering is specific when describing the skills that are needed for the job. With that in mind, here are some top tips that will help you attract developers outside of the tech sector through your job listing.
Include specific requirements for the role and steer clear of generic phrases. Recruiters will often use keywords in order to quickly shortlist applicants whom they think will be appropriate for a role. This can be useful for reducing the volume of applicants, but one might overlook strong candidates who have used different words to express their skills.
Try and avoid using phrases such as ‘turn ideas into products’ that don’t explain to the developer exactly what they will be doing. Too many such phrases make a job listing meaningless. On the other hand, you can have too much of a good thing: a long list of requirements can put off developers from applying for the role. Each developer will interpret these in a different way and some will not apply unless they’re sure they can satisfy all of the requirements. In order to increase the size of your applicant pool, only list the most essential skills.
In-house developers often become a ‘jack-of- all-trades’, so it’s crucial that you highlight the relevant languages and skills required in the job listing. Developers tend to have a particular skill set or specialise in a certain field. However, with the rapidly growing demand for digital skills across all sectors, businesses are looking to hire developers with broader proficiencies.
There is a real demand for developers who can adapt to different situations and languages when required. It’s important to be upfront and mention this need for flexibility in your job listing.
Highlight soft skills
It’s really important to highlight soft skills in your job listing. In the past, soft skills such as relationship management and teamwork were seen as crucial skills for sales or marketing, but less so for developers, who were (and continue to be) seen as employees who function best alone. However, this is far from the truth in today’s job market. CEB found a 92% increase between 2012 and 2014 in the number of IT departments looking for candidates with soft skills, such as the ability to influence and communicate with their colleagues.
Most jobs require people to collaborate with their colleagues, and developers are no exception, with coding in pairs and daily SCRUM standups as standard practice. This is especially important when hiring a developer for a non-tech department, to ensure that you are attracting a candidate who can bring real value to the team, beyond their technical prowess.
There is currently a huge demand for tech talent: according to Stack Overflow’s developer survey, 97% of developers are already gainfully employed. With such a high level of competition, you can’t cannot afford to have poorly constructed job listings.
A successful job listing will set realistic and specific expectations — as opposed to simply laying out a vague list of requirements. With business units outside of IT hiring more developers, we expect there to be a lot more opportunities opening up in the near future for people with IT skills across the board.
About the author: Kevin Troy is the Director of Insights at Stack Overflow, a service that helps organizations tap into Stack Overflow’s wealth of data to understand software developers.