About a year ago, I was looking for candidates to fill an open senior full-stack position at an IoT company. I’d found an incredible candidate—qualified, ex-FAANG, on a sabbatical after working at Facebook for several years.
He went through several interview rounds with the client, and we consistently received feedback from the client about how great he was—they believed he’d fit well on their team. But after the final interview, we received notice from the client that they were no longer in a position to hire the candidate we’d put forward. They were hoping to keep the door open.
The candidate was very gracious about it, but I urged the client to reconsider. I argued that the client was in such a big growth phase that if they didn’t need our candidate today, they’d need him tomorrow. Basically, they needed to be opportunistic and hire him now. The client still decided to pass. Four weeks later, they reached back out—they had an offer and they really wanted him. But it was too late. He’d taken a job back at Facebook for half a million dollars.
Are We Really in a Talent Shortage?
It should come as no surprise that there’s an unprecedented demand for tech professionals. Only 2.2% of tech professionals are unemployed, but the industry is expected to grow 15% by 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. Even with the recent layoffs by Twitter, Meta, and others, those laid off will only fill a fraction of the total available jobs on the market. That, or they’ll start their own companies.
What does this mean for you? Hiring developers is still harder than ever, simply because there aren’t enough of them to go around. This problem is compounded by the fact that your hiring process is likely slow and inefficient—on average, engineering jobs are remaining open for 49 days before they are filled. And if you don’t have a large hiring budget, competing with other companies with open developer positions may be difficult.
You’ve got to address this problem quickly—your company likely can’t continue innovating without a strong product team. Neither can most other companies—hence the impending developer hiring frenzy.
Preparing for a Hiring Frenzy
1. Hire Now
Don't wait to hire the developers your team needs. That's what everyone else is doing. If you hire now, you don't have to compete for candidates with the companies that are in a hiring freeze. When their hiring freeze ends, you'll already have made your hires.
2. Hire Faster
The shorter your interview process is, the more likely the candidate is to accept the offer. If your hiring process moves quickly, the candidate won't have time to lose interest in your company or position, and won't have time to complete your competitor's interview processes.
You can hire faster and with more confidence if you use a scientifically guided process.
3. Hire internationally
There are 26.9M developers worldwide. If you can attract international talent, you’ve just widened your candidate pool by five times.
You may have some concerns about hiring developers outside of the U.S., but Facet can help you connect with and vet skilled international developers. Edge talent is a lower cost solution that can bring greater diversity, potential, and innovation to your team.
4. Choose your tech stack wisely
After compensation, 51.3% of developers report that the tech stack they will be working with would most impact their decision on which offer to accept.
5. Hire for potential, not pedigree
In the U.S. in 2021, only 59,565 computer science degrees were awarded to graduates. But the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that about 418,500 tech openings come available each year between growth and replacement opportunities. There aren’t enough new degree-holding candidates to meet that demand.
One in three developers is self-taught or holds a certificate. Don’t limit your candidate pool by requiring a 4-year degree. Reduce the number of things you absolutely have to have to the bare minimum, then look for talented people with less experience but who will become amazing developers when given the opportunity on your team.
6. Don’t try to save a few bucks by offering compensation below market
The top reason developers are leaving their jobs is for better compensation. On average, the median salaries of developers increased about 23% between 2021 and 2022. There’s been some discussion on whether salaries will begin to drop in the current economic environment. The reality is that it’s unlikely they will drop, but they may not increase as quickly as we’ve seen in recent years. Resources like levels.fyi will give you a good idea of benchmark compensation information by location, company, and title. There are additional considerations you’ll need to make if you are hiring contractors rather than full-time employees. Make sure you’ve done the research and established your compensation range before you put up the job posting.
Even if your base salary (or hourly rate) doesn’t seem as high as other compensation packages, think of other incentives you can add to the package, including equity or bonuses for sign-on or performance. With the state of the market as it is, it is common for candidates to have multiple offers on the table, including counteroffers from their current employers. Find out what levers you can pull during compensation negotiations.
If you’re lucky enough to have found a qualified developer for your open position, don’t make the mistake of lowballing them, even if you intend to negotiate. You can’t afford it. It can also ruin the candidate experience and put your brand at risk. Instead, set expectations early and often about what salary is realistic.
7. Provide benefits developers care about
In addition to compensation, you can incentivize developers to join your company by offering strong benefits. While insurance coverage is important, other benefits like working remotely are highly favored by developers. Over 70% of developers want the opportunity to work in remote or partially remote roles. If your company doesn’t offer this, you’ve limited your candidate pool once again. That’s okay, as long as you realize you need to improve your benefits or compensation package to remain competitive.
Research on what developers are looking for in a new job opportunity (after better compensation and preferred tech stack) shows that 36% of developers are looking for better work-life balance, and 35% are seeking more leadership opportunities. Look for ways to highlight those elements in the hiring process.
Facet has an extensive developer network of passive job candidates. We can help you find and hire the right person for your team.