Candidate experience in recruiting software developers. Part 1

Original author: By Lewis Stowe
  • Transfer
Good day, friends. Today's publication will not be quite typical for our blog, because it will be about recruiting software developers, or rather, the practical experience of the candidate. And this article is dedicated to the launch of a new stream at the rate of IT-Recruiter .

It has been proven that checklists (checklists) are incredibly useful for professionals dealing with risky and difficult situations, such as pilots and doctors . Since good candidate experience is essential for successfully recruiting the best developers, we have created a checklist that you can use to provide candidates with a good impression of the recruitment process.
Translator’s note: “candidate experience” is a term that defines the opinion of candidates about a company that has developed during the hiring process.

If your job is to hire software developers, then I take my hat off to you. Finding it is like finding the perfect life partner. You have to go through a complex, expensive process to find out if you are suitable for each other. If this works, you will be rewarded with lifelong love and companionship. If this does not happen, you can spend a lot of time and money on something that will not bring any benefit.

And this is no different from the developers. The right developer will do a great job for you, but the wrong one can cost you a lot.and not useful. Therefore, it is not surprising that a ton of resources and effort is invested in the search and evaluation of candidates. But, strangely enough, the same cannot be said about the candidate’s experience.

Candidate Experience Matters

Think of all the little things that bring two people together. At first you can find each other through friends or a dating application, but this is not something that brings you together. This happens when you make exciting dates, cook soup, during an illness, and meet friends and family. In other words, the experience you share brings you closer together.

This is no different from hiring software developers. They can come to you through a referral or a recruiter, and if you suit each other, you can take them on board. However, the candidate’s experience in the recruitment process can affect the course of the process and lead to far-reaching consequences that go beyond the scope of this recruitment.

When an organization invests in a candidate’s experience, the numbers speak for themselves:

  • Hiring quality can increase up to 70% !
  • They will be more than twice as likely to improve cost per hire.
  • Candidates who have not been hired will be twice as likely to apply again.
  • 57% will recommend your company to others.

When hiring expensive and responsible employees, such as software developers, a good candidate’s experience can save you a lot of money in your search, attracting the best developers as a result. But when the company is mistaken, this can have negative consequences:

  • 60% of the candidates from those 72% who share the candidate’s experience on the Internet had bad experience.
  • 42% of the candidates will not be employed in an organization in which they were ill treated during an interview.
  • 22% will tell others not to work there.

You will not just lose a potentially excellent developer, in the search of which you have invested a lot, your company’s reputation will suffer, which will reduce your chances of getting good developers in the future.

Why reputation matters

62% of developers are open to new opportunities
13% of developers actively seek work

Source : Stack Overflow via Devskiller

First, you need to consider the specifics of the market for software developers. A Stack Overflow 2017 survey showed that while 13% of developers were actively looking for a new job, 62% said they were open for a job change. In other words, with the right pitch, you can attract nearly five times as many developers. Given that the best developers are in high demand and probably already have a job, access to this labor pool is critical to the success of the hiring. But how can you access these people?

Reputation has a lot to do with it. Magazine study Corporate Responsibility Magazine / Allegis Group Servicesshowed that 84% of people agree to leave their current job and move to another position with the same salary level, but in a company with a good reputation. At the same time, 69% would not agree to work in a company with a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed.

Take a second to think about it. How many people base their career changes on a company’s reputation!

You would not have to mess with a loser just to be in a relationship, so why should a developer want to join a company with a bad reputation. Just to have a job? Not only the top of your recruiting funnel has suffered. 55% of applicants refused the offer after reading a negative review about the employer.

And how can you count on maintaining a reputation in the development community if the Internet is full of people saying that you are a bad company? Of course, no company starts the hiring process trying to look bad, but often it turns out that way. While only 12% of companies searched and never found negative reviews, 20% never even checked if there were negative reviews.

You do not want any of this to be there:

Source : Glassdoor


I applied online. The process took more than 4 weeks. I interviewed at *** (San Francisco) in September 2017.


Probably the worst interview process I have ever experienced. This is my first Glassdoor review because I always assumed that these posts were from embittered candidates, but to be honest, I feel that people should know what to expect.

I responded online. A few days later he contacted a recruiter. The recruiter was a little rude (“to be honest, I'm skeptical of your abilities”), but nonetheless missed me for the first technical interview.

The first technical interview was conducted by one of their engineers. It was extremely boring, and it was very difficult to understand his English (Hindu). Having solved his problem, he said that I was fine and that they would be in touch.

A week goes by without an answer. At this point, I was in touch with the original recruiter, another recruiter who planned the first call, and an engineer (and another engineer who was in the copy of the emails), so I was not completely sure who would answer. I sent a letter to the second recruiter and did not receive a response.

Another week goes by and I contact the initial recruiter. I was informed that I had moved on to the second technical interview and would receive another letter to schedule it. A fifth person enters my email correspondence to schedule a call and asks about my availability. After that I received an email from this person (in a copy of the letter two more engineers) confirming the call next week. A few hours after confirming the interview, however. I receive a standard copy / paste letter stating that they will not continue to work with my application. I send them an email to confirm that the interview scheduled a few hours ago will not take place and I get “Yes, I'm sorry.”

Pretty weird stuff. Seven different people involved in the process offer an erratic hiring process, and confirming the interview just to cancel it a few hours later is just poor planning. In addition to how much time each step took. If you want to go through months of planning and re-planning, apply now.
But there is hope. While 60% of employers have read at least one negative review about their hiring process, 99% think that increasing the experience of a candidate can help them protect their employer brand. Therefore, if you read this post, you know that increasing the experience of the candidate during the hiring process will improve your reputation and help you in the future.

About 60% of candidates have poor candidate experience.
About 60% of employers read negative reviews about their processes on the Internet.
Source : CareerArc

Of course, an idea is just the first step. To improve your recruiting skills, you need to break up the process into parts and figure out how you can improve each part.

Search and research

The candidate’s experience begins even before you have the opportunity to schedule a meeting with the developer. Regardless of whether he found you through a recruiter, through one of your employees, or simply looked through a job site, the developer will want to know more about your company. Would anyone go on a blind date? The more information you give, the easier it will be for them to work for you. The more information you give, the easier it will be for them to see themselves working for you.

Job announcement paints a picture

The job announcement should not be incoherent (ideal length is from 700 to 1100 words ) and should include all the necessary information about the vacancy. Key details include:

  • Salary
  • Social package
  • Allowances, benefits
  • Specific work tasks
  • Ideal candidate profile
  • Working hours
  • Expected goals to be achieved in the first year
  • Education and continuing education options

Check out this good example from Nested .

At the beginning, it contains the location and a detailed description of the work, including specific tasks that the developer will perform daily:

Source : Nested

Senior Software Developer

Location: London, England. United Kingdom Engineering CO2


Lead Developer

Want to be a mentor for junior team members? Want to create products from scratch?

Solving unique, technically challenging tasks is part of everyday life at Nested. Become part of our novice engineering team and help shape our team, practices, product and culture from the start. We believe that every homeowner in the UK should have access to an accurate and honest assessment of his property in seconds and be able to sell it in a few clicks.

Who are we

We are an ambitious team. Our goal is to become one of the defining technology companies of our generation, using technology to change the process of selling a home.

It seems crazy to us that the largest asset of people is also the least liquid. Our vision is to allow every UK homeowner to get a fair offer on their home in minutes.

Earlier we created GoCardless and Songkick and are already moving faster than them, and getting support from leading European venture investors and entrepreneurs.
Having done this before, we know what it takes to be successful. We are looking for exceptional people interested in creating something important.

Daily you will:

  • Work as a member of an agile team that includes collaboration
  • Take a break from coding for mentoring team members
  • Develop a core product using Elixir and JavaScript using iterations based on customer reviews and metrics. We use a data-driven approach.
  • Develop tools to support our internal team to increase operational efficiency
  • Work closely with our design team (Matt is the product manager and Sean is the designer) to implement a modern and high-quality interface.
  • Indulge in new technologies to help push the boundaries of what we are developing
  • Work with these great people to help create a world-class team.
    • Phil Cowan (CTO)
    • Darren oakley
    • Sujay mansingh
    • Deividas kariinauskas
    • Tyler ferguson

The ideal candidate they mean is then described:

Source : Nested


We think that you probably

  • Passionate about technology and have experience creating products for the web, ideally using Elixir (previous experience with Elixir is desirable, but not required, we are sure that you will quickly master it).
  • Carefully follow the details and carefully take care of creating reliable and well-tested systems.
  • Want to work in a startup.
  • You have a passion (on the verge of obsession) to make things more efficient and automated.
  • Curious and passionate about troubleshooting, actively look for problems and then solve them.
  • Have experience in training and mentoring developers) Candidate profile.
  • Have a deep understanding of Agile principles.
  • Previously helped in the selection of developers.

Things that would be useful, but not required:

  • Frontend development experience, including client-side JavaScript.
  • Linux system administration experience.
  • Experience as a team member in a fast growing company.
  • You are involved in open source projects.

Have questions?

Want to know more about a job or team before clicking on the red or blue button at the bottom of the page? Contact Phil (CTO) directly by writing him an email at
At the end is a complete list of all the benefits, options for personal development, benefits and the range of salaries that a developer can expect.

Source: Nested


Finally! This would not be a job description without a benefit section. We believe that our values ​​distinguish us and are our main advantage. We take them very seriously, and they are at the core of everything we do. In addition to our values, we have other wonderful benefits that you can talk about.

  • Flexible schedule. Most of the team works from home alone. It is important for us that you do your work, no matter where.
  • Generous bonuses, so you get your own piece of cake.
  • We pay a competitive salary with regular reviews.
  • Deserved 27-day vacation + holidays.
  • A budget (£ 3,000) to make sure you have the perfect workplace.
  • A generous budget for personal development and special school-wide training days aimed at employee growth (£ 1,000 per person per year).
  • Breakfast, coffee and snacks are always at hand in the office to support you + monthly team events.
  • Pension scheme (4% employer contribution).
  • Medical insurance, which includes discounts at the gym, medical care and a dentist.
  • In addition, if you will ever buy or sell a house, we also help well in this :-).

Salary range: 60-80 thousand pounds + options. However, sometimes the ideal person is more or less experienced than we expected. In these situations, the planned ranges exit the window. If you think this may be so, please submit an application and just let us know in the application form.

Finally, if all of the above sounds good, please take 2 minutes to familiarize yourself with our hiring process. He is quite thorough and ensures that we are confident in every hiring. Please see how it works here.
If everything is done correctly, a good job announcement is more than just a description, it allows developers to imagine what their life would be like at work and out of it if they took up it. To do this, they need to know their salary in order to be able to evaluate their lifestyle. This means that you have to bite the bullet and give information about the salary.

It goes without saying that the wages of developers are extremely high, and any advantage an employer can get in wage negotiations can potentially save thousands of dollars. But by hiding salary information, you can lose many potential candidates. 59% of developersthey want to know the details of compensation when they first hear about job opportunities. After all, most of them already have work, and they don’t want to invest in an uncertain process with a company that has gained a reputation for hiding information.

Even if your reputation does not suffer much damage, you certainly will not be able to attract as many candidates as you want, since the lack of salary information leads to a decrease in the number of applications by 33% .

Don't neglect your career page.

Source : Google

If a job ad is a detailed eHarmony profile, then a career page is like a Facebook match page, a window into the wider world in which a person lives. It is not enough to imagine what products a developer can work on or what kind of mortgage they can afford for the money that they will be offered. Developers also need to imagine the environment in which they will work. In the end, when you connect yourself with a person, you will spend a lot of time with his friends and family, so it is important to find out whether it will be a joy or a burden.

64.5% of applicantsconsider sites with vacancies as important sources of information, so you should make sure that they have information about the company. Unfortunately, many companies have a simple page with some contact details and a mission, which contributes to the fact that only 45% of the candidates think that these job pages effectively communicate how they work in the company.

This means that for more than half of employers miss candidates, since candidates are 41% less likely to apply to employers who do not show their culture. No company wants to reduce its pool of candidates by more than a third because they do not support a web page.

To really attract potential candidates, on your page :

  • State clearly the values ​​and history of your company.
  • Humanize your brand with photos, videos, and biographies of existing employees.
  • Optimize for mobile.

A good example is the Airbnb career page . In fact, this is not the main page dedicated to a career, but a subpage created specifically to attract engineers. It contains information about the company, including their approach to creating products, contributions to the technology community through blogging, open source code and speeches, employee reviews and many photos and videos of people working on Airbnb. This seems like a great place for developers, right?

Source : Airbnb

If you want to know more about the Airbnb approach, you can read the post on candidate-oriented hiring .

You want the developers to think that when they get up from the table to drink coffee, they will be in an interesting place, surrounded by interesting people who share their values. Developers should know exactly what kind of people are working for you, and understand whether they see themselves as one of them.

After all, a company is like a family, and if you are planning to join a family, you want to know if you will get along with your relatives.

The application can be terrible

But she should not. Think of it as creating a profile on an online dating site. You understand that information is important, but filling it out can become tedious, especially if the questionnaire is too long. If you set up profiles on several dating sites, you know what this looks like, since you probably answered the same question about ten times.

Both the job posting and the career page offer something to offer your developers, namely a potential lifestyle in which they can present themselves. The response form for the vacancy is designed exclusively for you, the employer, so keep an eye on its effectiveness.

Good shape should be clear and short. It should only request important information necessary to verify candidates at this stage of the process, and not request extraneous information that can be collected at another time.

After all, most of the workforce pool you will be drawing from already has a job. They are not going to spend a lot of time filling out a long form. In fact, only 33.4% of candidates spend more than 30 minutes filling out a regular online application, and 60% stop filling out an application because of its length.

And these figures include all sectors, including those where there are more labor resources than vacancies. Demand for technical positionsmuch more than the candidates presented in the market to fill vacancies. Only one vacancy is filled for every three advertised in the USA. Do you think software developers who are very popular and often already working will worry about filling out an application that is as long as Santa’s list?

And if you think the worst-case scenario for a long list is that it might bore some candidates, think again. The main causes of poor forms are vague instructions and repetitive questions. This is not just boring reading, it can damage your reputation. One survey found that 93% of respondentsthey believe that incomprehensible forms negatively affect their opinion about the company, and another study showed that 90% of their respondents believe that repeated questions and long forms give a negative candidate experience.

Therefore, it is very important to evaluate your application form. Specify exactly what you want your candidate to do, and request information only once. Instead of telling people that your company is a mess, let them think that your company is a place for winners, not time wasters.

Look at Asana. The candidate really needs to enter information in only a few fields, spending a few minutes on this:

End of the first part.

Second part.

The material turned out to be large, so we decided to divide it into two parts. We hope that for many it will be useful. We are waiting for your thoughts and reasoning in the comments, and also want to invite to a free open webinar , which will be held on April 16. At the webinar, we will analyze the search for candidates for Slack, new tools for Boolean search, how to implement Devrel if the company does not have a budget for this and more.

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