Recruiting in the IT industry: 7 Things that HR professionals can learn from developers

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They are still among the most sought-after employees: developers are desperately needed. So what can HR experts do to convince? First of all: learn from developers. Best of HR –®

Here writes for you:


Stefan Schwarzgruber Stefan SchwarzgruberStefan Schwarzgruber has been responsible for the business development of Stackoverflow in the DACH market since 2015.


Developer: Only 11 percent active on job search

HR personnel often face this challenge because there are too few skilled workers and very good developers are either difficult to find or difficult for their own Company to inspire. A labor market survey by the digital association BITKOM found that around 55.000 IT positions remained unfilled in Germany each year.

So there is a lot of activity in the HR departments and recruiting agencies that are looking for suitable specialist staff. But how do they recruit successfully and sustainably? And what do developers actually expect from employers? In a stack overflow developer survey, which surveyed more than 100.000 developers around the world, we found that just under 58 percent of developers are actively looking for a job. However, XNUMX percent are open to new job offers, which is a great opportunity for HR managers.

7 tips: That's what developers appreciate about the new job

For those who are curious about a job, the most important job criteria are, above all, which programming languages ​​are required of them and what their working environment and corporate culture look like. It's not about filling positions quickly.

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1. Training opportunities

Interestingly, most of the candidates only inquire after the salary and any additional benefits in the second step. More professional development opportunities and the teams they work with in future are more important for most developers.

Anyone who has opted for a career as a developer also chose the path of lifelong learning. This is the only way they can survive in the labor market, because almost every year new programming languages, technologies and (team) management styles are added.

2. Developer must fit the corporate culture

And what can HR managers and recruiters learn from this? That it's not always about the hard facts, but that many developers also appreciate “soft benefits”. And that it takes sophisticated strategies to convince developers of a position than to lure them with money.

For example, it is not effective to quickly hire only the very best developer to occupy a specific position or to continue projects. It is worth investing a little more time in a suitable candidate than just emphasizing that tasks can be completed quickly. But there are a few developer-friendly tips that recruiters and HR professionals can think about.

3. Recognize alternative educational pathways

What do Mark Zuckerberg, Thomas Anders and Günther Jauch have in common? Exactly, they all left their universities without a degree. In Germany, titles and certificates are still very popular, because one thing does not seem to have arrived in this country yet: you do not need a diploma to be really good at what you do.

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This shows up very much with developers, because they teach themselves a lot. About 90 percent state that they have taught themselves a new programming language, framework, or tool beyond their formal education (eg, through an online course, as 40 expressed percent in the survey).

No curriculum can represent as fast as technology is developing these days. Therefore, alternative educational pathways and programming experience should be considered equivalent to the degree. When companies free themselves from the need for formal education, they expand their pool of candidates - and probably by a few inquisitive developers.

4. Get to know developers better

Developers and HR professionals are basically different types of people, so they probably don't run into each other too often outside of their work. It's a wasted opportunity because it would probably help them understand what makes developers tick. A helpful measure can help here:

Companies should mix their teams much more often. If, for example, the HR staff works for some time between the developers, they learn what is important for the position, what interests programmers have and what everyday work looks like. New ideas and suggestions can be taken directly into everyday work, improving processes and, above all, deepening understanding of the position you are looking for.

5. Mix more teams

The development life is characterized by constant renewals and innovations, be it through constant improvement of the products or the constant work on them. Exactly this basis of thought should also find approval in the HR department and be implemented: Just because you have always done it this way does not mean that it is the best way.

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For example, one of our customers took a new path and invented the internal “MOVE” program. IT employees can move to other units and smaller teams and even develop their leadership skills if he or she leads the team for a certain period of time. This creates new ideas and perspectives and also increases employee satisfaction, as different areas are tried out and a completely new everyday work is created. Only when you leave familiar territory do you really do things differently - and sometimes you just need a little push.

6. New Work: Home Office and Flexibility

New Work is a relatively winged term and means that the rigid, old structures have had their day. However, flexible working hours and home office regulations are particularly popular with developers. True to the motto "People no longer work according to work, but work has to be based on the reality of life".

Employers should realize how important a work-life balance is today, that the digital office offers countless ways to simplify the workload, and that corporate values ​​are much more important than they were before 20 years. Keep that in mind when looking for suitable candidates, because these things are not only incredibly important to developers, but also to all other employees.

7. Technology is a top priority today

It has already arrived in most companies, but some do not know yet: companies are more successful when senior management has a background in technology or at least an insight into the company's technological processes.

This not only simplifies processes for and with developers, but the leadership understands the importance of good developers.

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Conclusion: Personnel and companies must allow new impulses and implement

These are just a few examples of how HR professionals can better understand developers and consequently find and hire them better. Ultimately, it's important for HR departments to understand the values ​​of their developers.

This is the only way to ensure that there is no “bad hire” and that the staff carousel keeps turning, but that the right people are brought on board at the right time. Only then can companies and employees grow together.

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  1. Iris Deida

    I am a freelancer and regularly read your very helpful articles. A big thank you!

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