Recruiting for any role can be challenging, but finding great developers is uniquely difficult. Not only is the demand for technical talent at a fever pitch, but most developers aren't even actively pursuing new job opportunities at the moment.
While the talent pool is mostly passive, 75 percent of developers surveyed for Stack Overflow's 2017 "Developer Hiring Landscape" report said they would be interested in hearing from recruiters about new job opportunities. Developers also noted that email is often the best way to start conversations with them.
Developers expect recruiters to put some thought into every recruitment email they send. They're quick to delete any email they find impersonal, untargeted, or robotic. The good news is that a few simple changes to your recruitment emails are all it takes to get developers excited about talking to you.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind whenever you reach out to a developer via email:
Recognize Their Past Work
Very few (if any) programmers write code just for the sake of writing code. Developers tend to be passionate about their craft, and they pour their energy into projects they truly care about both at work and in their free time. Developers also enjoy seeing real people use the products they've built, and many programmers make their work public on sites like Stack Overflow and Github.
Before you write any recruitment email, do a little research into the candidate's previous projects. Identify a few things that impress you. If you need help understanding a programmer's code, don't be afraid to ask one of your current developers. This will take a little effort on your part, but it will ultimately show the candidate that you've done your best to match them with a job that is relevant to their skills and interests.
Avoid Long Lists of Job Requirements
Remember: When you're recruiting developers, you're dealing with a mostly passive candidate pool. It's up to you to identify qualified candidates before you reach out to anyone.
Your email is often your first (and only) opportunity to make a positive impression on a passive developer candidate, so don't ask them to qualify themselves for your open roles by including long lists of required skills. Give developer candidates an idea of some of the key technologies the role involves, but resist the temptation to include the "requirements" section from one of your job listings.
Share Details About Current and Upcoming Projects
Again, developers are passionate about their work. The best candidates live and breathe code, and they're always looking for exciting projects they know will impact end users. You can share details about perks like catered lunches and company-sponsored health benefits, but developer candidates will be especially interested in the projects they'll get to work on if they decide to join your team. A clear idea of what they'll be doing and how their efforts will impact your customer base is a much better selling point than even the most incredible perks.
Conclude With Your Name and Contact Information
Developers are far more responsive to recruiters who have taken the time to foster relationships with them, so provide your contact information at the end of every email you send. Don't be pushy: While you should make it easy for developers to respond to you, you also need to trust that if they're interested in hearing more, they'll follow up with you when they have the time.
Rich Moy is a content marketing writer and developer hiring expert at Stack Overflow.