Hiring is hard. Searching for the best talent can be time-consuming. Here are 3 tips for attracting the best developers, plus our analysis of the hardest skill sets to find.

Give yourself an edge

Unless you’re reading this whilst reclining on a beanbag at Google, odds are, someone will always be able to offer a higher salary than you. So, you need to think about what your company specifically has to offer – preferably with an EVP that stretches further than ping-pong tables.

The best developers are expert problem-solvers and get sick of solving the same problems time and time again. So, in our experience, what works best is demonstrating that the problem you are trying to solve is an interesting one.

In fact, in a survey sent out by La Fosse to over 1000 developers, across all tech-stacks, contract, and perm, the two most important factors for attracting developers to new opportunities were the tech stack they’d get to work on, and the project itself. These were significantly more important than salary and package.

So, whether you formulate your offer around the quirky nature of the challenge itself, what they’d be achieving by solving it, or the opportunity to try out new ideas and new technologies – the key thing is that it stands out, and seems interesting.

Find ways round the perm developer blind spot

Looking for a permanent developer around the £55k-90k mark can be like looking for a Node in a haystack. As soon as juniors get a couple of years’ experience, they are likely to go contract, then they settle down back into a permanent role later on. However, in between is a blank spot – which leaves many companies stuck.

There are a few ways around this issue. Firstly, accept if it’s not happening, then it’s not happening, and strategise around it – don’t suspend delivery waiting a million years for the perfect permanent hire, only to end up hiring contractors anyway. Often, when hiring for difficult skill sets, it’s best to work with an expert recruiter who will have a good grip on the market, who can advise you on strategy as well as helping you hire – La Fosse has a specialist dev team in both the perm and contract markets, and experience in helping to solve these kinds of hiring difficulties.

Many of our clients are choosing to hire from the junior end of the market, with a support infrastructure of senior tech leads, either on a permanent basis, or through contractors brought on specifically to upskill them (see our article on upskilling developers for pointers on this).

Another option is to cross-train. This is particularly applicable when looking for those dastardly skill sets which seem to consistently evade capture – the genuine full-stack engineers, the high-calibre React Native Developers. If you’re desperate for a Node.JS background, look for a good engineer with C# or Java and give them training and support. This tactic has the added benefit of making your job-offer to them far more attractive – engineers are unlikely to say no to an opportunity to be upskilled.

Never forget, your current team are someone else’s “passive candidates”

A lot of these plans depend on you having very solid team around you to help deal with the gaps and difficulties that you encounter when hiring in the current market. It pays not to forget that your team will be being perpetually bombarded with job offers from elsewhere, including the junior contingent – so as you’re coming up with ways to attract new staff, think of ways you can make life better for your own.

They also want the same things new talent will look for: whether a 5-10k pay-rise every year to keep them engaged, or a load of training to ensure they feel they’re being developed, flexibility of working, a good environment, and interesting problems to solve rather than the normal BAU. It’s very difficult to attract good people when your own people are unhappy, so invest in your current staff’s happiness when expanding your team.

Are you leading a digital team and considering how to drive your business forward sustainably?

Let me know what you would add to this list.

Simon Bird is a Senior Manager in the Digital Contract Recruitment Team. If you would like to learn more about our capabilities, please get in touch.