Technical job post tips for the desperate

For software engineering jobs, most companies, especially startups, just can't find qualified candidates, even after tapping their networks. If you're one of these companies who has more trouble sourcing (finding candidates) than screening (filtering out candidates that aren't a good match), here are a few tips to get your job post more attention. Some of these tips may require fundamental cultural shifts for your company.

List a salary - if good developers are on a job board at all, you need to let them know quickly whether or not your company is worth their time. Posting any salary information other than "comensurate with experience" or similar is a step in the right direction. For example, you could say, "Compensation is completely open, but here's what we have in mind: $90k + meaningful equity stake."

Say that you're comfortable with remote work - there is a huge pool of developers who don't live (or don't want to live) in your city. For companies in cities with a high cost of living, you can pay someone 10-20% less and fly them in once a month/quarter for an in-person meeting.

Drop the degree requirement - plenty of good developers didn't go to college, didn't finish college, or went to a community college. You're going to have to look more at experience and focus more on evaluating technical skills during interviews.

Guarantee the job only requires 40 hours per week - developers with families, startup aspirations, or other priorities have a tough time finding work in an industry where long hours are the norm. In your job post, underscore that your company works at a sustainable pace, rarely requires fire-fighting, and respects other priorities.

Guarantee a response - even great developers suffer from resume black holes. In your job post, state your timetable for making a hire and say that you'll respond to each response you get (even if it's a "no").

look like a recruitment agency - big job boards, especially Craigslist, Dice, and Monster, are overrun with headhunters who make job seekers jump through hoops to find out which company is hiring (so they can protect their massive fees). In your job title, call attention to your company by stating its name and optionally who posted the job description. A post from a tech lead or a CTO will help give developers confidence that their application will be understood. Example: instead of a job title, "Software Engineer", consider, "Software Engineer at (responses go to CTO)".

Offer to train people in a new language - there are times Java or .Net are the right tools for the job, but there are also a lot of developers who would prefer to be coding in Ruby, Python, Scala, etc. In your job post, say that you are willing to consider all good programmers and help them get up to speed on your tech stack.

Avoid Rock Star, Ninja, Guru, etc - Using these terms in your job post may have communicated a trendy vibe at one point, but those times have passed. Now it communicates a desperate attempt to seem cooler than you really are, a sign that you're too full of yourself, or that you're just naive. For more detail, see What developers think when you say "Rock Star". (Thanks for reminding us of this one drivingmenuts)

Keep in mind, these tips are only for companies that have severe sourcing problems. These tips may produce orders of magnitude more resumes for you to look at (not all of which will be good), but there will definitely be a few good ones in the batch if you're willing to look for them.

About Hirelite

Hirelite is on a mission to put headhunters out of business. We host speed interviewing events using video chat where 20 job seekers talk to 20 companies for 5 minutes each. We have two upcoming events: one focused on SF Bay/Silicon Valley software jobs and one focused on NYC software jobs. If you're interested, check out