What do nearly all IT employers have in common? Correct! They lack an IT recruiting strategy. They lack a plan that defines:

  • Who the company’s target groups are (which developer types are you targeting?)
  • In which geographic regions the company plans to recruit them
  • What motivates the target group (conduct market research)
  • How the company will reach out to the target groups (channels, platforms, internal and external stakeholders)
  • What the budget for these recruiting and employer branding activities is
  • How the company will create an environment that developers love to work in
  • How the company’s leaders will support the strategy and act as role models for the company
  • How marketing & corporate communications will support the communication initiatives
  • Who is responsible for (has ownership of) the recruiting activities
  • Timeframe: What are the milestones and goals, which KPIs will be used to measure success?
  • Differentiation: How will the company differentiate itself from all the other employers? Why should a developer go for this employer and not the others?

One thing is clear. Nearly every company needs to become a software company in order to survive and excel in the near future. And few companies have prepared for this necessity. If at all, they are starting now. What does this mean?

  • They lack the preconditions enabling them to provide developers with an environment that they will love.
  • They are restrained by a plethora of processes and routines that slow down the recruiting process.
  • They probably haven’t done market research in order to understand what motivates developers (e.g. by doing focus groups with developers).
  • They have no or little experience with employer branding for the developer target group.
  • They focus on short-term recruiting (on-demand) versus long-term strategic HRM.
  • Frictions exist between the IT and HR department. HR is not staffed with specialists and is thereby dependent on the IT department (the hiring teams) in accompanying them in the recruiting process.
  • They lack the experience and know-how in terms of which platforms and channels to use for developer recruiting (e.g. the WeAreDevelopers Recruiting Platform).
  • The larger the organisation, the more complex this situation becomes.

This means, you need a plan. These are the steps I recommend, in the following order:

  • Demand Planning: Which talents do you need – now, in the mid-term and in the long-term.
  • Market Research: Understand your target groups. What motivates them? What do they expect from you as an employer? Where are they based? How can they best be reached? Make sure you internalise secondary research (such as the Stack Overflow Survey 2016) and conduct primary market research (e.g. focus groups via an independent organisation) in order to get a grasp of who it is you are preparing your organisation for.
  • Differentiation: Define how you will stand out from the crowd. The war for tech talents is messy and brutal. Make sure that you act and communicate in a differentiated manner.
  • Long-Term & Short-Term Initiatives: Define the necessary measures that need to be taken in the long- and in the short-term.
  • C-Level Commitment: Get the commitment from your C-level, get them to drive and implement the necessary measures, such as empowering HR, removing bureaucracy in the IT recruiting processes, providing the required budget, etc.
  • Marketing Strategy: How will you communicate your organisation to the talent market from now on? Get your CMO’s support and synchronise your employer branding with your organisation’s marketing strategy. Both should work hand in hand. Focus on highlighting the key points that differentiate you from the other employers throughout all of your communication initiatives.
  • Community: Focus your initiatives and strategy on becoming a part of the developers community. Hire developer advocates who attend the events where your target group gets together, such as WeAreDevelopers World Congress.
  • External Partners: Select external partners (e.g. recruitment agencies) who are specialised solely on recruiting developers. Not IT. Not tech. Developers.
  • KPIs: Define the KPIs that will be used to measure the success of your undertakings. Review them regularly and take immediate action based on the results.

Becoming a great employer and providing a great environment for developers takes time and will not happen overnight. Now is the time to initiate the process of developing an IT recruiting strategy. After all, the future of your company depends on the people who will empower it. If you wish to discuss the above in more detail, feel free to get in touch ([email protected]). I look forward to hearing from you!

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