IT Recruiting: International ways to find software developers
February 17, 2022
min read

IT Recruiting: International ways to find software developers

Barbara Oberrauter-Zabransky
Barbara Oberrauter-Zabransky

It’s a well-known fact that the pandemic has sped up the overall digitization and skyrocketed the need for software developers worldwide. 

We can now see the widening gap between the vast number of job ads and potential tech candidates, which made companies and tech recruiters increasingly look at the international talent market. 

To help close the gap, we want to show you the strategies you can use to successfully find and retain international software developers for your tech team.

New and individual ways in IT recruiting

The numbers are devastating. Germany is currently reporting a shortage of 100.000 software developers. At the same time, Austria is hit even harder (compared to the overall population and labor market size) with 24.000 unfilled tech jobs. Unfortunately, the trend is rising.

According to a WeAreDevelopers study, every tenth developer is actively looking for a job, and at least 57% would be open to a job change if the right opportunity emerges. 

There are many reasons for it, such as demographic changes of falling workforce numbers due to their aging process. In addition, the job descriptions often require academic training, years of professional experience, and specific skills, which further limits talent pools. This is especially visible in software engineering and web development, where there is a lack of qualified applicants.

Since the outbreak of pandemics, tech recruiters understand that virtual networks are increasingly softening national borders and that international talent could cushion the crisis.

Opportunities of international recruiting

In addition to simply filling vacancies, involving international software developers can bring a number of advantages for your company, as the low proportion of women and diversity in software engineering is still ubiquitous. 

international recruiting, borderless hiring, software developers

You can counteract with qualified candidates from abroad and promote an open, modern corporate culture.

The different perspectives and wealth of experience of international teams demonstrably promote innovative and creative problem-solving. Last but not least, employees from different countries provide insights into international competition and can help to open new foreign markets.

Recruiting abroad: This is where you will find the best talent

There is a possible risk of losing track quickly with talent pool expansion. In the beginning, find out which countries are suitable for your search for candidates. Include these key indicators: required (minimum) language skills, residency agreements, the labor market for IT jobs, and the status of tech education and digital innovation inside the country.

International studies and rankings of leading platforms for software developers such as WeAreDevelopers, Devskiller, and Hackerrank can also be helpful indicators.

IT recruiting in Eastern and Southern Europe is worthwhile

Companies currently operating in the DACH region should first screen potential candidates from neighbouring countries since geographical distances and cultural differences are less prominent. 

Several studies have shown that Eastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia are top destinations for IT professionals. Southern European countries, especially Italy, Spain, and Portugal, also have highly qualified developers recruited by UK and US companies regularly. 

Non-European countries are always popular when it comes to international tech recruiting. A large proportion of 11% of foreign software developers in Germany come from India, Russia, and Turkey.

5 steps for an international professional

When approaching international recruitment in tech, these five steps should be the basis of the process.

  1. Position yourself as an attractive employer

In addition to exciting projects and an appropriate salary, software developers are looking for a friendly and innovative working environment with further training and upskilling opportunities. Before searching for a candidate, take a look in the metaphorical mirror: ask yourself, what does your website, social media presence, or employer ratings say about your company? Show through authentic employer branding why it’s worth becoming part of your team.

  1. Analysis and selection of the recruiting countries

After creating an exact requirements profile, you can compare which countries are the most strongly represented skills you are looking for. When recruiting, it’s best to focus on a few selected destinations and ask about internal recommendations or contacts.

international recruiting, borderless hiring, software developers
  1. Recruiting: Searching for candidates

Note that in requirement profiles and reviewing CVs, academic qualifications may vary internationally and that programmers are more often self-taught. Some initiatives and networks such as EURES (Europe), ZAV (Germany), and ABA (Austria) have specialized in international job placement. That’s why local HR companies specializing in IT professionals can be helpful as an interface in the selected countries. 

Also, there are many opportunities for active online sourcing on popular development communities like Github and Stackoverflow.

  1. Application process: Remote and interactive

When looking for potential tech candidates, it makes sense to narrow down the candidates into several stages: A technical assessment interview, a practical coding task, and an in-depth personal interview. Use virtual communication tools to exchange video, show the office atmosphere and enable first contact with the IT team.

  1. Integrating and promoting employees

After successful hire, how you welcome the international talents and support them in integrating into your company becomes crucial for building a long-term relationship.

This is how successful relationships are built

There are challenges and uncertainties on both employers' and employees' sides when recruiting international candidates. These checkpoints can help you overcome them.

Language barriers and legal uncertainty as to the biggest hurdles

Every software developer should be able to communicate in English for integration purposes and daily usage, while knowledge of German is necessary permanently. Prevent possible language barriers by offering a preparatory and accompanying language courses. 

international recruiting, borderless hiring, software developers

HR teams should clear up legal ambiguities before the application process starts to avoid later misunderstandings. Inform yourself and the applicants about the requirements for residence and work in your country, support visa applications and deal with authorities.

Diversity training for long-term, successful cooperation

An open corporate culture in which employees feel comfortable regardless of their gender, religious and political beliefs, or ethnicity is a basic requirement for international teams. Since this doesn’t happen overnight, it’s helpful to sensitize your existing and new team members through diversity workshops and individual mentoring.

Digital mentoring made easy

Workers hired from abroad might experience turbulent first few weeks - make the process easier with digital onboarding. Before starting work, you can create a joint induction plan, organize a buddy for the first exchange and introduce them digitally. It’s easier for developers to get started if they provide all the important information and the existing documentation. 

Regular communication and feedback play a major role, especially in the first few months of work.


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