The devil is in the detail – that’s what people say – but when it comes to presenting IT vacancies, organisations often choose a more generic approach. Unfortunately, a job advertisement that focuses solely on requirements and responsibilities often fails to attract notice from top candidates. Developers, in particular, are highly sought after by companies, and a lot of employers are struggling to fill these vacancies. So, where are they going wrong? The crux of it is that candidates want meaningful work, but in many cases the job descriptions put out by companies are meaningless – which does them and the role an enormous disservice.
Here are a few things you can do to maximise your job ads and start drawing in the best tech talent for your business.
Why Standing Out is Critical
All too often in my role as a specialist technology recruiter, I’ve seen job descriptions that look like shopping lists of all the qualities desired from applicants. While it may work well when the competition for jobs is high, today’s developer market is a candidate driven one, and this approach fails to meet the needs of those that hold the cards – the talent. Candidates can afford to be picky, so now it is up to the organisations to present vacancies in a way that will make them stand out.
The biggest mistake employers make when trying to attract the right type of talent is not selling the job properly. Job descriptions put out by IT companies tend to raise more questions than they answer, staying vague on the specifics of the role and not adequately representing the company. When I’m assisting an employer to recruit for a role, I’ll often ask them to be more detailed. The more information they give, the more we can help.
Put simply, companies wanting to enhance their team and quality of output need to sell themselves and their jobs better. If your job advertisement just blends in with the rest, then there’s very little chance that top talent, who have their pick of the roles, are going to be attracted to yours. It’s time to go off template and customise your job description to create a compelling proposition.
How to Fix the Information Underload
To attract the right sort of tech talent, a company needs to understand why a candidate moves roles: enter intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Many employers are probably already familiar with extrinsic motivators – those that come from an outside source, like work factors such as a pay and promotion. Yet throughout my career recruiting tech talent for companies across New Zealand, Melbourne and Berlin, we have found that candidates are usually more motivated by intrinsic motivators, factors that engage employees in the work for its own sake rather than for an external reward, than extrinsic ones. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour found that salary and job satisfaction correlate by less than 2 per cent regardless of how high the pay was, demonstrating how extrinsic motivators are often not enough to attract and retain talent.
The link between a lack of intrinsic motivators and disinterest in an unclear job description is obvious given how often we find ourselves answering the same questions from candidates. Here’s what employers can do to alleviate this issue and highlight the intrinsic benefits of their vacancies:
You have a vision, but can you articulate it? Candidates want to be able to identify with the project they’re working on, so it’s important that you clearly explain your company, its goals, the product and its purpose. Use your job ad to highlight your company’s vision and values, and how that relates to the role. Tell candidates how their role will contribute to the bigger goals, how they’ll innovate and push the boundaries of what is currently on the market, as well as the impact it will have on your customers. Doing so helps to place a sense of value and meaning around the role. In addition, be precise around the technology stack being used, as most candidates will want to work with the most up-to-date technologies and processes in the IT industry to keep their skills fresh.
Offer a Challenge
Developers want challenges; they want the ability to grow, expand their expertise and to create. Make sure you point out the particular difficulties that your project presents, and the essential role the candidate will play in overcoming them. Providing the chance to be innovative allows them to feel like a valued member of the team, as well as enhance their capability. People also want to know whether their growth will be supported through setting goals, internal development plans and opportunities to attend training and conferences.
Showcase Your Company Culture
My five years of experience in in-house HR for Tech start-ups has revealed how important the atmosphere and culture of an office is throughout the employee lifecycle. Candidates want to know about the team they may join, the management style and the way reviews and recognition programs work. A friendly atmosphere, a professional attitude and the chance for staff to learn from one another are key parts of a good company culture, so don’t forget to highlight what makes your workplace attractive. What will the working arrangements be like, and what is your policy around flexible and remote working? With so many roles to choose from, candidates are more likely to go for a job that allows them flexibility, especially when considering the significant proportion of tech professionals that have ongoing side projects. Most importantly, give potential team members an idea of who you are, your philosophy as a company, and what your aims and core values are.
The volume of jobs available in the Tech sector outweighs the number candidates, so if you’re looking to attract top talent, you need to ensure that your job listings appeal to the intrinsic motivators that drive people to apply. Doing this will not only help to attract more high-quality candidates, but it will also allow you to fill your role faster. To find out more about how RWA can help you sell your job better and get the attention of top talent, get in touch with us today.