15 best recruitment methods for effective IT hiring

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Effective IT hiring

Introduction

According to the latest Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021, which surveyed over 80,000 developers around the world, only 3.55% are currently unemployed and looking for a job. In such a competitive tech hiring landscape, you can’t be passive and hope that a traditional job ad will do the trick – you have to be creative with your recruitment methods!

15 best recruitment methods and their benefits

The key to recruiting the best talent is combining various internal and external recruitment methods to see which work best for your organization. In today’s article, we’re going to discuss the best recruitment methods and their benefits – all to help you make the most of your hiring process.

Here is a rich selection of the most effective internal and external recruitment methods and their benefits.

External Recruitment Methods

Job ads

Job ads are one of the most commonly used types of recruitment methods, and they’re probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of hiring new employees. It’s not surprising as they can be a very effective tactic, provided that the job description is attractive to the potential hires. What does it mean? It shouldn’t be limited to job duties and requirements solely, but should clearly state “what’s in it for the candidate”, and why they should be interested in the job.

Source: TalentLyft

Benefits:

  • Wide exposure – if you post your ad on a job board such as Dice or Indeed, then you’ll have access to a wider talent pool
  • It’s cheaper than hiring a recruitment agency
  • It gives you a chance to show your organizational culture – if you make your job ad catchy.

Headhunting on social media

According to the Stack Overflow report, only 3.55% of developers are actively looking for work and 81% of developers are employed full-time. This means a large number of candidates are passive and merely looking for a better opportunity. This has a significant impact on hiring. Finding the right candidate requires some good old headhunting. You might be thinking – what’s the point in targeting developers who are not looking for jobs? Many programmers would consider a job change if the right opportunity came along. Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are great sources for finding highly-skilled candidates. More about social recruiting here.

Benefits:

  • It doesn’t require a large budget, which makes it cost-effective
  • You decide whom to target, and you can focus specifically on candidates who meet your requirements.

Developer relevant sites

Posting a job ad on GitHub or StackOverflow is yet another great external recruitment method. Both of them have a strong developer community – GitHub has over 73 million developers, while StackOverflow’s user base exceeds 14 million. Programmers openly share their knowledge, and both of these platforms are great spots for finding the most skilled tech talent.

Recruiters can either post a job ad and wait for the candidates to submit their applications or contact developers directly as most of them have their email addresses listed in their profile.

Source: GitHub

Benefits:

  • Easy access to a large tech talent pool with less competition, as there is less recruiter footprint (at least for now)
  • Recruiters get an opportunity to get an idea of the developers’ skills as programmers actively and freely share their knowledge – it’s every recruiter’s dream!

Company pages on external sites

source: Stack Overflow

Creating a company page on GitHub, StackOverflow, or other similar websites can help you catch developers’ attention. Among others, you can add a description, location, images, and pin your company’s repositories to the top of the career page. This way, you’ll encourage candidates to send over their application. Users can also create job alerts from the companies they want to keep an eye on.

Benefits:

  • Good employer branding
  • Candidates get to see what working for you might look like on the inside – which means a higher chance for the right skills’ and culture-fit.

Employer review sites

Before we commit to buying something we read product reviews, so it’s not shocking that on average, candidates read 6 company reviews before applying for a job. If you want to attract the best tech talent, you should set up a profile on an employer review site like Glassdoor and invite your employees to leave you reviews (hopefully, mostly positive ones).

“Quality candidates are typically well-researched and those that go beyond job ads and look for a richer set of background data that includes benefits and employee reviews, among other specific traits about an employer. This means that employers should make information available to job candidates proactively, or they risk missing out on quality candidates applying.”

Julie Coucoules, Head of Talent Acquisition

Source: Glassdoor

Source: Glassdoor

Benefits:

  • Attracting more quality candidates, as employer reviews is something they look for
  • Obtaining credible information about what employees appreciate and what should be improved which should help in future recruitment.

Recruitment events (speed dating, developer community events)

As competition for talent is fierce, using innovative recruitment methods is necessary to stand out. Organizing recruitment events such as speed dating or attending developer community events (Women Who Code or Kaggle), is one of the best external recruitment methods.

“Hiring can be a slow process – but it doesn’t have to be, speed interviews can save you time while showcasing your company to candidates. They’re fun and they give people a sense of what we’re about.”

Head of HR at Voices

Benefits:

  • You can meet a lot of highly skilled candidates at once, and decide whom to invite to further interviews which save you time
  • You can quickly assess whether the candidates are a good culture-fit, while they can meet their colleagues, see the office and check if you’re a good match for them. This might prevent future disappointments, as candidates know what to expect early in the recruitment process.

Hackathons

Companies that incorporate hackathons in their hiring process reduce their recruitment time by almost 80%. Hackathons are high-on energy events, where coders and developers collaborate to create real software, which solves real problems. It usually lasts between 48 hours to a week. The event ends with the best developers receiving a job offer so no wonder hackathons significantly shorten the recruitment process.

Benefits:

  • Speeds up the hiring process
  • You can assess programmers’ technical skills, as well as their approach to problem-solving, and their ability to interact with others
  • The developers can check if the employer is a good fit for them.

Job fairs

Job fairs are another type of recruitment method which you can consider. The main concept is to meet a large number of candidates in one place – it’s a large time saver for both job applicants and employers. Job fairs are a great method for meeting junior talent especially – many colleges and universities hold career fairies for their graduates.

Benefits:

  • A chance to connect with a large pool of potential employees without advertising
  • Finding exceptional candidates quickly
  • Increasing the number of resumes and applications from candidates who are qualified for the position.

Virtual job fairs

The pandemic changed the way many job fairs operate but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still happening. Many virtual job fairs have popped up all over the world, with some saying that the virtual fairs offer many surprising pluses over their counterparts. For instance, it’s cheaper and easier to attend a virtual career fair, and not having to travel means that a candidate can actually attend more jobs fairs than before. So there is more chance of finding the right candidate.

Freelancer websites

According to a 2020 Gallup report, “36% of all U.S. workers have – in some capacity – a gig work arrangement in place.”

This means that you should explore what the global freelance tech talent force has to offer.

Now, you might be worried that it won’t be possible to evaluate your freelance worker’s skills and you’ll be taking a leap in the dark. Luckily, with a tool like DevSkiller, you can run an automatic assessment test to quickly find out if the freelancer you’re considering has what it takes to fill your need. We discuss skills assessment tests further in this post.

Benefits:

  • You don’t need to bring a new permanent employee on board
  • Minimal paperwork
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Access to global tech talent.

Last, but not least, there’s always the most convenient solution…

Hiring an agency

If you’d rather not spend time posting ads or attending tech events in search of talent, consider a recruitment agency. However, bear in mind that it’s a costly solution. Depending on your agreements, you might need to pay for the initial candidate research and/or a commission for each hired employee. How high can the costs be?

“Standard recruitment costs tend to range between 15% and 20% of a candidate’s first annual salary, but this can go as high as 30% for hard to fill positions”.

Agency Central

Benefits:

  • You don’t have to worry about sourcing candidates
  • Your recruiters can focus entirely on evaluating candidates’ skills.

Let’s now take a look at how you can find and evaluate new hires through internal recruitment methods.

Internal recruitment methods

Upskilling & reskilling

Given the digital skills gap which is constantly widening. The only way to keep up with the ever-growing demand for some digital skills is to help your employees acquire new skills by upskilling and reskilling.

  • Upskilling is providing an employee with more advanced skills, or adding on the existing skillset within a role
  • Reskilling is the act of providing the opportunity to acquire entirely new skills to do a do an entirely different job

Source: The World Economic Forum

Benefits:

  • Upskilling and reskilling are especially useful in the tech scenario – while some IT skills rapidly grow in popularity, others become obsolete
  • You can keep employees happy and engaged by supporting their professional development. This increases retention rate, morale, and productivity
  • Maximizing training budget dollars

Intranet & Facebook groups

If your company has an Intranet or a Facebook group, make use of its hiring potential. Chances are, someone among your current employees either has what it takes or knows someone with the right skillset. Here are two recruitment methods you can leverage:

Employee referrals

According to Jobvite via Undercover Recruiter, new hires who come referred by current employees tend to stay longer with a company than candidates from external recruitment methods.

Your developers can also share your job ad and vouch for your company on GitHub, StackOverflow, or Reddit threads, which means more credibility for your brand.

Source: Jobvite via Undercover Recruiter


There are two ways in which you can encourage your employees to ask around: ensure high employee satisfaction and/or create a developer referral program (i.e. commission for anyone who brings new talent to the company).

Employee transfers & promotions

Making an announcement in your internal channels means your current employees can also put forward their candidacy for the role. They might either aim at receiving a promotion or cross between teams.

Let’s summarize Intranet and social media groups’ recruitment potential.
Benefits:

  • Access to your employees’ professional networks
  • Referred employees have a better retention rate
  • Low recruitment costs and a relatively quick time-to-hire
  • Employees can transfer between teams, which means no recruitment costs and higher employee satisfaction.

Company career site

A company’s career website is an important source for finding crucial information. It is another effective internal recruitment method. Use it to allow the potential candidates to learn more about your organization – your culture, benefits and job requirements. Make it as appealing as possible as this may be as far as many applicants get when applying for your company, if the careers site doesn’t meet expectations that is.

Benefits:

  • You have full control, you can decide on the design and copy making sure everything is buttoned up
  • You can monitor how many candidates visit the website using Google Analytics, and make changes fast if such need arises
  • It’s free.

Automated skills assessment tests

One of the best internal recruitment methods is running automated skills assessments – especially the so-called work sample coding tests.

What are they?

Work sample tests let you evaluate your candidates’ technical skills in a real-life environment that simulates the tasks and environment your developers use. As the tests are automated, you don’t have to ask your developers to evaluate any of them. You can simply filter out the very best results and schedule an interview.

Source: “The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 85 Years of Research Findings”

To put it simply, automated skills assessment tests work.

For example,

– healthcare company Ada Health saves 3 hours per candidate:

–  retargeting and internet advertising company Criteo saves 200-400 hours of work annually:

Benefits:

  • Remove bias (i.e. via report anonymization)
  • Reduced time- and cost-to-hire (saving your developers’ and recruiters’ valuable time)
  • You can assess hundreds of candidates, almost effortlessly.

This method is followed by…

Video interviewing

Video interviews are a great next step to work sample coding tests. This recruitment method saves both you and your candidates tons of time. Not to mention, if you decide to go fully-remote, you can recruit global talent!

Your video interviews should be divided into two phases: a culture-fit interview with HR and a technical interview with your CTO, tech lead, or hiring manager.

The best part about technical video interviews is that it can include a pair programming session. This lets you check not just how well your candidate codes, but also how they solve problems.

Benefits:

  • Time and financial savings
  • Access to global tech talent
  • You can verify the culture-fit and observe how candidates tackle problems.

Summary

The best tech talent goes off the market quickly, which means you need to use the best recruitment methods to attract them faster than the competition. We hope that the recruitment methods we included and their benefits will help you improve your hiring process and employ a bunch of A-players. Good luck!

Featured image by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

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