There ARE software engineers on the market
October 13, 2021
min read

There ARE software engineers on the market

Ana Gospodinova
Ana Gospodinova
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All of us - my fellow HRs, tech recruiters, and CEOs of tech companies repeat it like a mantra: ‘There aren't enough developers on the market’ - a very comfortable statement and excuse that we all ‘benefit’ from. 

After 20 years in recruiting and for the past few years focusing intensively on the DACH region (while working for a company operating a tech job board and offering exclusive services for tech talents), It makes me tempted to question this statement.

How can it be possible that there are companies with 40+ applicants for tech job positions and others with nothing? Why are some companies able to hire developers and others don’t? 

Let’s have a look at the abundance of company behaviors watering down the tech market:

1. The ATS/hiring system issue

Some companies transform their job posting into a candidate ‘Black Hole,’ thus negatively damaging their employer branding while influencing their current and future recruitment.

It also widens up the problem when the candidates apply and never hear back from recruiters or are contacted months later. 

Based on my recruiting experience, if software developers are actively looking for a job, they will find a job in one week. If they aren’t looking for it, it will take them two weeks. Hiring chances get reduced significantly for the tech companies that can’t respond to candidates within 1-2 days.

Hey, recruiters, tech people have a job, how would you motivate them to switch jobs by starting with wasting their time already at this stage?

One-click applications vs. filling out 40 boxes - if one is not that motivated to switch jobs, would he fill up the endless boxes of your ATS? There are plenty of non-time-consuming application platforms for tech talent, which makes the statement ‘We have to use our ATS’ as a not good way of seeing things.

2. The gray area of tech job openings

We tend to bring as an argument to non-hiring the competitiveness in the industry based on the number of available tech jobs. Somehow we forget that many of those jobs aren’t open for immediate hiring. 

Some of the opened job positions are listed as pipeline builders for future needs, while others help companies get better visibility. If you want to build a pipeline, a community of engineers, or get visibility, I would strongly advise using other channels to achieve this (e.g., live tech events, talks, tech workshops, or specific events for the dev community).

There are also plenty of jobs aiming at ‘only hiring if,’ while the company can and does operate perfectly without that developer. Many qualified candidates are part of this ‘dead’ application pool, immediately developing distrust against job portals and recruiters in general, and we lose them to other recruiting channels, such as referrals.

3. Staying relevant

Relevancy is a big enigma for tech recruiters. You should dedicate time to the following important aspects if you don’t want to be affected by the ‘lack of talent’ situation.

  • Remote: There are still companies located at unattractive locations, hoping to attract and hire on-site software developers. When leveraging remote options, companies tend to increase their potential employee pool while cutting costs down. However, this requires experience in remote on-boarding and managing remote teams while constantly revisiting employee retention practices
  • Salary: There are no cheap and experienced developers, at least not that many. Also, there are no developers who would change their jobs for less than what they currently get.
There are not enough developers who would fit the low company pay rates unless you open the door to underrepresented countries and communities to overcome the problem with your remuneration budgets or policies.
  • Visa applicants: Rejecting candidates even if they fit tech requirements just because they need a working visa is a common practice. Often the argument is that the visa process takes too long and that company needs a certain candidate asap.

The truth is that often it takes way longer to hire a local developer than to go through the visa procedure.

  • Local language: I often see these types of tech positions open for more than a year, which is relatively enough time for some candidates to learn the German language while still contributing to coding. The local country language might be needed initially for some companies, while others only stick to this requirement because of their comfort.

If you want to grow your business, try to revisit this. English is the language that most developers speak.

  • Qualified management: Build your management around people who understand hiring, managing, and retaining tech people.

4. Failing in professionalism

Often neglected and hard to accept, companies are being pushed into a trap, failing to hire tech talent because they have unskilled tech recruiters. Or because they fail to secure the appropriate training for them.


To think differently is one of the potential ways to prevail in challenging times. As the tech recruiting industry is in it at the moment, it’s good to introspect that the root of the problem lies in us instead of being seen in everything else around. 

How big the talent pool primarily depends on how open the company is.


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