2 things you should know for recruiting hard to fill tech roles
August 16, 2021
min read

2 things you should know for recruiting hard to fill tech roles

Ana Gospodinova
Ana Gospodinova

There is nothing more embarrassing nor annoying than recruiters who don't know what they are doing. 

This is especially palpable when it comes to tech recruiting, as the lack of professionalism strongly impacts the outcome of your sourcing efforts. 

Back in 2019, during the WeAreDevelopers World Congress in Berlin, we ran a survey among the participants better to understand the relationship between software developers and tech recruiters.

hard to fill tech roles
Source: WeAreDevelopers internal data 2019

The survey revealed that one-third of tech talents are unreachable to recruiters due to their lack of trust in the recruiting process and a bad reputation of the recruiting managers. 

To improve your odds when filling up experienced roles, we recommend constantly refine yourself as a professional and obtain software developers’ respect. 

This will certainly help to differentiate from the competition.

Finding a job vs. changing a job

Accept the facts. Most software developers already have a job. 

To become a successful tech recruiter, try to understand your role from another angle. You are a person who convinces software developers to change their job.

Of course, a portion of this approach will still include making better offers than the current employers.

To become a successful tech recruiter, try to understand your role from another angle. You are a person who convinces software developers to change their job. 

It is possible to achieve this with two major “areas” of improvement where you should put your focus.

Area 1: Convincing developers that you know what they do

A common mistake is to focus on keyword matching. Software developers usually don’t have an updated CV. Why is that? 

Simply because they are mostly not looking for a new job (more details in our study). 

If you are about to reject someone just because you don’t see all the required checkmarks on the tech stack list, then you are making a mistake by limiting your talent pool. 

It would be best if you tried to avoid situations like these by understanding correlating skills and technologies that may give you an indication that someone from a potential candidate list is a "matching" person.

An exact match in terms of both technology and experience isn’t necessarily a must. 

Software engineers are intelligent and curious people. They are problem solvers in general. If they have a problem, they will find a solution by adopting new technologies or learning a new programming language. 

When you assess a situation in this way, you instantly get more maneuverable space. 

hard to fill tech roles

An additional misconception is that software engineer positions are about programming in Java, C#, or Ruby. Their job is to figure out solutions and to choose optimal technology when implementing.

An experienced tech recruiter should feel comfortable with the terms to understand the engineer's everyday tasks. For example, understanding the difference between Java and JavaScript is a must, but it’s far from enough. 

If you are a tech recruiter without an engineering background, we highly recommend researching before speaking with potential candidates.

Area 2: Doing your homework

When hiring experienced software engineers, tech recruiters are usually challenged to attract and hire candidates who fit the Lead Engineer job role. 

One of the common reasons companies can’t hire on their own is the candidate’s lack of leadership/people management experience.

To explain this requirement further on, we will go through one example. 

Imagine a Lead Engineer position that requires two years of team management experience while managing just one developer (at the very beginning, while later on, the team will grow) and coding through 80 to 90% of his time. 

As this isn’t an isolated case, there are several things that tech recruiters should know about the talent pool before looking for experienced software developers:

  • Many experienced software developers don’t want to lead.
  • There are few software developers with two years of team management experience that are actively coding. For sure, they don’t code 80 to 90% of their time.
  • No one will leave a bigger team just to become a manager of one person (even if the team will grow in the later stages).
  • You can’t attract a Team Lead with a senior developer salary.
  • In a limited scenario, this can be perceived as an opportunity for internal growth. But it depends on many business factors.


Recruiting software developers isn't rocket science. 

To become a leading tech recruiter, refine your approach and overall understanding of how specific your talent pool is. When filling these hard-to-fill positions, try to figure out what kind of person you’re looking for. 

You can’t approach software developers as you would with a person from the business world or an HR person.


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