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Hiring Best Practices

3 Reasons Why You Aren’t Recruiting Top Tech Talent

Written By Aditi Chandrasekar | October 13, 2020

When you’ve got a thorough hiring process in place and the best recruitment practices at your disposal, you feel like nothing can stop you from successfully recruiting talent.

So why does it feel like you’re behind before the process even begins? Why are you missing out on quality candidates before they even make it to the funnel? It’s often the simplest changes that can make all the difference.

In our 2020 survey of 116,000+ developers, we uncovered insights on what attracts potential candidates to jobs, what tools they prefer using, and what they’re focused on learning. We validated these insights with local tech recruiters on the front lines with these qualified candidates every day.

3 Reasons Why You May Be Struggling at Recruiting Talent

Reason #1: You aren’t connecting with your hiring managers regularly

The recruiting process starts with you, but the weight of sourcing potential employees shouldn’t rest solely on your shoulders. Without support and regular feedback from your hiring managers, the skills or attributes of your target recruits starts to get foggy. 

Rupal Patel, Head of Recruiting for US and UK at HackerRank, explains, “It is important for recruiters to create a partnership with hiring managers and leadership teams to allow open discussion for technical hiring. It is also important to create a role and company branding message for attracting developers using social media.” This can be either weekly or bi-weekly, depending on what's right for you and your hiring manager. More than the frequency, the importance lies in consistency.

Solution: Check in with hiring managers before and after the interview process

Establish regular check-ins with recruiters and hiring managers to get a sense of the company’s hiring needs. Learn about any changes in criteria for certain roles or company priorities. 

When there’s an open position, go over the process with the hiring managers so they know their level of commitment. Once the position is filled, talk about what can be improved so the hiring process and candidate experience are more seamless. 

These insights can make significant impacts on your recruiting strategy and the talent you bring in.

Reason #2: You aren’t taking the time to discover what the candidates care about

As one of the fastest-growing roles, and highest in demand, developer candidates hold a unique set of needs when they’re looking for a new role.

Many companies make the mistake of not learning what those needs are. Instead, they promote a robust perks package or lecture about the company mission. While those are important to share with candidates, it might be a better strategy to tout what and who developers will interact within their new role. 

Solution: Ask your developers what they love about their job

Not sure what attracts developers to a job? Ask them! Host a quick Zoom call or send out a short survey to find out what your developers love most about working at your company.

Soham Mehta, the founder of Interview Kickstart, which helps coach developers on interview preparation and job search, spent the bulk of his earlier career as a software engineer at startups and established companies such as eBay and Box.

Mehta recalls that throughout his career as a developer, “The tech stack never really mattered, at any of the companies I worked for. The people you work with are really what’s important. The companies that I chose to join are where I could gel the most with the team. When you’re surrounded by good people, you definitely learn, grow, and develop your skills.”

Mehta’s observations about the importance of team coincide with what developers told us in our 2019 survey—which ranks working with “smart people/team” in the top three of desired attributes in their next job.

Reason #3: You’re not highlighting professional growth

One of the interesting insights we found in our 2020 survey is that developers tend to be lifelong learners. In fact, a whopping 59% of developers rank “learning new skills” as the most important form of professional growth. 

Working in an environment that’s exposed to new technologies and opportunities to learn is a top priority among the developer community. By highlighting these opportunities, you’re likely to feed your candidates’ insatiable thirst for learning.

Solution: Advertise opportunities to learn new skills

Learning new coding languages and frameworks show job seekers that you’re not just invested in the company’s future, but you’re invested in theirs as well. 

Naarah Hastings, the founder of 6h Talent, specializes in recruiting advice for startups. Over the course of her recruiting career, she’s noticed that candidates at startups tend to value what they are building and the tools they are using. She notes that learning is indeed important to candidates, as almost all of the engineers she works with ask about training. 

“They don’t want to be siloed in a specific role and are willing to migrate from full-stack to front-end in an effort to move around, stay on the cutting edge, and not be left behind,” says Naarah. 

She points out that 99% of possible recruits stay busy with their personal side projects through GitHub and Stack Overflow. “Some even run side businesses, all of which speak to their desire to stay busy, keep learning, and shape their candidacy profile for hiring organizations,” she adds.

Recruiting Top Tech Talent Begins with a Solid Hiring Process

Hiring the top tech talent isn’t easy. It requires you to fill your hiring funnel with quality candidates, with the hopes that one will accept an offer at the end of the process. 

In order to ensure you are on the right track to sourcing quality candidates, you need to build out an effective end-to-end hiring process that maintains open lines of communication with hiring managers, understands the specific needs of developer candidates, and aligns with their desire for learning.

For Further Reading on How to Recruit Top Talent in Tech

  1. To learn more about investing in the right tech, establish a presence in the tech world, and even how to incorporate marketing into recruiting talent, read this helpful article by Bamboo HR. 
  2. Check out this infographic to learn how you can improve your “tech talent brand.” 
  3. For more on the health of hiring during a work-from-home era, check out this HBR post, “Now Is an Unprecedented Opportunity to Hire Great Talent.”
  4. Virtual career fairs are another great way to get your brand in front of eager developers and learn new recruiting tips. Check out our virtual career fair page for more information.
  5. Check out 3 Common Mistakes Inexperienced Interviewers Make to ensure your interview panel has the right tools to execute a flawless interview.  

Interested in learning more about how to attract developer candidates? Download the full trend report:

Banner reading "[Guide] Growing your Tech Talent Brand: A Trend Report"


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in February 2018. It was updated for freshness in 2020 by the HackerRank editorial team.

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How to Incorporate Candidate Feedback Into Your Hiring Process