8 ways to hire a developer [Actionable tips]

Whether you are an employer or an employee, you need to think beyond résumés to stay ahead of the game.

From hackathons to automated evaluation tools, semantic analysis to personality tests, social hiring to website scraping, recruiting is being reinvented and how.

A “one-size-fits-all” strategy certainly doesn’t cut it.

Résumés will take you only so far.

Research shows that context-dependent skills and passion for the job will continue to drive hiring more than ever.

Here is a quick overview of the top nine sources when scouting for technical talent.

Even if you are not a programmer yourself, these places should help you build a good talent pipeline.


How are recruiters using LinkedIn for hiring developers?

Recruiters can post jobs, source talent, and build the company brand easily using LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

LinkedIn has over 400 million people! Follow etiquette before all else for optimal results.

Use your profile and company page

Potential candidates will see your personal brand as a reflection of the employer brand.

A good recruiting profile has a friendly profile picture, an interesting descriptive headline, a summary that showcases your professional story and the company culture, goals, accomplishments, and candidate expectations in the best possible light.

Encourage discussions to build your brand.

Establish yourself as a thought leader by publishing engaging, insightful content, either curated or original.

Create a career page, apart from your company page.

  • Read a bit about the publishing platform, LinkedIn Pulse, here.
  • Read more on how to share content using this news aggregation feed here.

Use the built-in analytics features to capture valuable insights for data-driven recruiting.

  • Read more on how to attract followers here.

Extend your reach via engaging status updates about your company’s activities.

To target relevant candidates, try sponsored updates.

Say, your company is organizing a Swift hackathon, then you can sponsor an update to software professionals and students nearby, expanding your network with new followers.

Use the built-in dashboard to study the impressions, engagement, clicks, shares, likes, and acquisition.

  • Read more on some best practices for sponsored content here.

*Note that you can’t publish sponsored updates without a company page and an advertising account.

Use your network

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Beef up your existing network through content that might interest programmers. Once again, use sponsored content or company updates to grab attention.

LinkedIn Elevate gives your employees quality shareable content, thereby influencing future recruits in their networks.

People are more likely to believe employees than recruiter spiel. Studies show that people who use this tool,

  • share four times more than before
  • drive forty percent more followers
  • drive three times more job views

Build a referral chain, and run referral contests or referral programs that reward the participants.

*Data suggests that “it takes 29 days to hire a referred candidate, 39 days to hire a candidate through a job posting, and 55 days to hire a candidate through a career site.”

  • Go here to see how you can use LinkedIn Referrals to get the most out of your employees’ networks.
  • Go here to see different types of referral programs to source the best candidates.

One of the most effective ways to humanize your brand is by adding recommendations or testimonials.

Don’t forget to tag connections.

For example, a recruiter can group Python developers using tags.

Scan the events section for valuable connections in the attendee list. Or, list an event to spread the word.

Use ads

LinkedIn has a minimum daily budget that you have to spend on your ads.

Your ROI is much higher than any other internet advertising mediums.

You can attract the attention of people who are checking out profiles of employees in your organization by using Recruitment Ads beside these employee profiles.

  • Go here for some inspirational ads to boost hiring.

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Sponsored ads specifically reach the right audience and have proved to be very useful in getting new followers.

Text ads simply display the information you provide under the column “ads you make like” on the right side.

They are also highly-targeted.

Personalized messages can be delivered to a target hire’s inbox.

Use paid options

LinkedIn offers paid services to find passive candidates with access to a wider pool of talent and features to “build a candidate pipeline.”

The advanced search and filter options on offer with a premium account help you source quickly and nurture relationships with top talent easily.

Free (typically done via status updates, job discussions/groups, or creative presentations) and paid job advertising gets you relevant clicks from your target audience.

  • Read more about posting jobs on LinkedIn here.
  • Read more about job posting prices here.

Use groups and join discussions

Participating in group discussions can be really effective to increase the visibility of your brand among the developers and foster your relationship with them.

Here are a few LinkedIn groups that you as an IT recruiter should join for networking, knowing about the latest trends in tech, engaging with the talent, and posting jobs:

Just check out LinkedIn Recruiter for amazing features such as the Recommendation Engine to source outstanding talent.



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  • Try LinkedIn plug-ins such as Klout, Hootsuite, Buffer, TweetDeck, and Bullhorn Reach to help in recruiting the right people.
  • To deal with the 100 search limit quota, try Recruitment Geek’s LinkedIn X-ray Search.
  • Export LinkedIn connections to your recruitment database.
  • Try this link to search better using specific filters.
  • Save your searches to get talent emailed directly to you without upgrading to a premium account.

**Watch some helpful videos on LinkedIn Talent Solutions here.

You don’t need to actually join a group such as Austin Digital Jobs to get access to the members.

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Google+, Instagram

Everything is digital now. Recruitment too. When 30% of all Google searches are related to employment, there’s little need for further introduction.

 If you look at Dice Social Recruiting in Tech Survey 2016-17, you’ll see that recruiters are going all out with social tools with a remarkable success rate.


Every minute, users update 293,000 statuses and upload 136,000 photos on Facebook (FB).

This is definitely a talent bank you can’t ignore as a recruiter.

Recruiting through Facebook is a quick and cost-effective way to source local talent, especially for small businesses or startups.

  • Use creative job postings on your company’s FB page and leverage the customization options for maximum benefit.
  • Create a buzz about your company goals and culture in your target market (say, Java developers) through short videos or photos.
  • Connect with potential programmers (or have a page manager) and ensure you engage with them via discussions and quick responses to queries.
  • Add job tabs on your FB page using your ATS.
  • Join relevant groups such as The Facebook Corporate Recruiters Network and Recruiters Online for hiring tips and networking.
  • Encourage employee referral activity.
  • When your company creates an ad with great visuals, make sure it includes all pertinent job posting details.
  • Go here for WordStream’s infographic on ad targeting options FB offers.
  • Read about FB ad types, costs/pricing, and guidelines here.

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  • Find suitable programmers using the FB Graph Search feature. Organic search can’t help you look beyond employees’ friends.
    • Read how to use the graph search option for recruiting here.
    • Don’t create work and a personal FB account as this is against the Terms of Service. Create a “candidates” list and make employer information and hiring posts available only to that audience. Only you know about the privacy restrictions.
  • GitHub

    GitHub is an online project-hosting service site where developers share their open- source projects.

    You can collect contact information from this hotbed of emerging and established technical talent from around the globe.

    Perhaps no other platform has so many programmers in one place. “It is the largest code host in the world.”

    • Once you have a public account up and running, you can get details such as a candidate’s current employer, location, email address, websites she has chosen to display, number of followers (the number telling how good they are at what they do and how respected), GitHub contributions (notice the keywords, for example, Django, Ruby on Rails), and repositories.
    • Your search could be: language: ruby location: San Jose followers: > 15.
    • After filtering your search results (best matches on top), you can reach out to people of interest. Remember to do a bit of research about their work on the site, public activity, and cross-check on other social media sites if possible.
    • You want Code listed as Sources, not Forked.

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    • Use tools such as SourceHub to find candidates easily.
    • Note that GitHub wasn’t designed for sourcing, so people may not respond. Find a less direct way to approach them.
    • Pick a talented programmer from your company, find her on GitHub, and identify similar people from the follower list.
  • Stack Overflow

    Stack Overflow is an online community for programmers to learn, share their knowledge, and advance their careers.

    Currently, it’s a community of 6.9 million programmers where sort-out developers post their day-to-day questions seeking help and advice from other developers.

    • Use Google search bar to search for candidates with specific skill-set in a particular location because the Stack Overflow search interface is limited. For example, to find android developers in the “Portland” area, in the Google search bar, you can type: “site:stackoverflow.com/users Android (“location*oregon” ”location*portland” ”location*or”)
    • Add a tag (say, the area of expertise such as Flask) as the keyword to find developers who posted or answered questions from that tag.
    • Use Stack Overflow job listings portal to subscribe to Stack Overflow talent.

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    • You can find basic details and summary about programmers, answers they have provided, questions they’ve asked, and a rank/reputation based on how the candidates’ questions and answers are perceived by others.


    • Use Stack Overflow badges to search for great candidates.
    • Find passive candidates by going to the Careers section; you’ll get an idea about what sort of opportunities they may be looking for.
    • Construct MySQL queries to search data.stackexchange.com.
    • Use properly constructed simple queries on recruitin.net to search Stack Overflow.
      • Read more about sourcing programmers using GitHub and StackOverflow here.
  • Reddit

    Reddit is an online community where users submit content, such as text posts or direct links, in very specific “subreddits” (areas of interest such as news, gaming, music, books, and technology).

    Users can vote submissions up or down.

    As of early 2017, Reddit had 542 million monthly visitors (234 million unique users) and was the seventh most visited website in the US.

    Various developers and thought leaders ask questions and discussion on technology in the Technology section. This can be an amazing place for you to discover highly skilled programmers.

    • Create a personal or company profile after you’ve understood the somewhat complex interface.
    • Use the search bar to find relevant subreddits using keywords like technical hiring, hire, tech jobs etc.
      • Note that Reddit has its own Boolean search terminology. Although it is more limited than some other sites such as LinkedIn, if you are looking for a Python developer who is actively looking to be hired, you can try this: subreddit:forhire selftext:python. If this gets you too many results, use more filters such as time.
    • Once you find your subreddit, you can share your well-defined job description after you read the Rules.
    • You can also contact a Redditor looking for a job in the technical domain.

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    • Go here for a recruitment subreddit.
    • Download this plugin to answer queries from Redditors without having to log in to Reddit.
    • Desktop users should install this enhancement suite.
    • Message the moderators if you find your post has gone to spam.
    • Before all else, learn the “Reddiquettes.”
  • Quora

    Quora is a Q&A site which facilitates social interactions and interesting conversations.

    • Just like you would when using any niche community for recruiting, you will need to first establish yourself as a thought leader, for example, by answering questions on hiring. Build your reputation.
    • You can identify domain experts by going through topics of interest. For example, if you are interested in Go, you can find people who consistently provide accurate answers.
    • Initiate conversations with the experts and keep in touch. You may just be the recruiter of choice when they start looking for jobs!
      • Read more on how to use Quora for hiring here.


    • If nothing else, listen to what people are saying about your company and hiring process. This will help you design your strategy better.
    • Pick up pointers on better-recruiting processes, developers’ pain points, and general know-how in the tech area.
  • Glassdoor

    “Glassdoor is a bit like TripAdvisor for HR, gathering user-generated, anonymous reviews about companies and company life,” says Jonathan Bright in his post on the Business 2 Community website. The candid content prompts potential hires to check out employer ratings before they sign on the dotted lines. A promising tool for recruiting, Glassdoor exerts a huge social influence on job aspirants.

    • Sign up for an Enhanced Employer Profile and make the most of it. Tap into the potential hires’ needs, paint wonderful pictures of the work culture, growth opportunities, work-life balance, and other company policies (which are true, of course).
    • Go here to know more about Glassdoor for Employers.
    • Take pains with your Employee Value Proposition. How you present it and how you promote your company brand makes or breaks a deal.

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    • It is hard to fake content on Glassdoor. So, be genuine and transparent and earn trust.
    • Gather “competitive intelligence” from Glassdoor before you create your employer profile.
    • Use metrics to better identify your target audience and tailor your hiring approach.
    • Glassdoor offers paid advertising options.
    • Go here for a Glassdoor recruiting tutorial.
  • Meet-ups and developer events

    Meetup.com is an amazing networking site which unites people with shared professional interests.

    With 30.3 million members and more than 0.25 million groups, it’s one of the largest networks of developers all around the world.

    Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest. It’s designed so that organizers can manage events associated with in-person meetings.

    For individuals, it can help them find groups that fit their interests and attend events in their preferred location.

    But you can use meetup to find potential candidates without having to go to any events as many of meetup’s groups and attendee lists are public.

    • Find groups of interest (according to location, skills, etc.) using specific keywords. For example, you can find tech meetups within 25 miles of Melbourne, you can browse by country, state, city and the topic of your interest (in our case, it’s tech).
    • Look at the meetup members’ profile and evaluate them through their introduction, interests, and answers to group questions. (Highlight “members” in the image.)
    • Get a list of other groups they’ve joined. This would help demarcate serious ones from the others. Also, you’ll get to know about their interest areas. (Highlight Members of 11 other meetups.)
    • Once you’ve made your interest list, for reference, check their Twitter, Google+, blogs, or sites (if any) to know more about them. Once you’ve filtered your candidates, you can send them a personalized email through meetup which goes to their personal e-mail address as that’s the same address where their meetup updates are sent to.

    In this era of digitalization, we daily come across innumerable ads, emails, offers, sales pitches and a lot of other things.

    So as a recruiter, how can you differentiate yourself and your company from others?

    Personal relationships not only can enable you and your organization to stand out but can create an image of an outstanding brand for which people would want to work.

    And to develop these relationships, as a recruiter, developer events can provide you with an opportunity to network with the most sort-out technical experts.

    You can make connections and build mutually beneficial relationships with them.

    These events happen around the year globally and your colleagues and you can be part of it.

    Over coffee, lunch, or cocktails, you can make connections and spread awareness about how awesome your company is for the developers.

    Maybe at a breakout session, you may find your next tech star.

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    • There are various sites which provide you with information about these events. Search on Google will give you these on top:
  • Hackathons

    Companies conduct hackathons to foster innovation and get out-of-the-box ideas to create efficient and highly effective products.

    Irrespective of the format or theme of a hackathon, participants are expected to build something from scratch and typically complete the challenge with a working prototype.

    Hackathons are one of their favorite talent-discovery activities, say recruiters.

    External hackathons are amazing places to network with exceptional talent and industry experts.

    You can skillfully build a talent pipeline of hardworking, smart, and passionate programmers by attending the right events.

    The participants will need to work collaboratively and competitively against time and resource constraints; this gives a recruiter a complete picture of the programmers in their “natural habitat.”

    Companies also conduct internal hackathons to crowdsource ideas and identify untapped exceptional talent in their workforce.

    • Read more about how hackathons can be leveraged by HR here.

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    • Go here for some pointers on how to successfully recruit at hackathons.
      • Companies such as HackerEarth and Hackfest offer platforms to conduct, manage, or organize hackathons easily.


Recruiters can use these ideas to rope in the best programmers looking for a challenging and rewarding opportunities. Admittedly, finding them can be overwhelming.

No matter which source you turn to, remember to hire a programmer who fits into your work environment in terms of vision and commitment.

To ensure better chances of success, you can give them audition projects or bring them on board as consultants initially.

Take your time.

There’s more to a programmer than knowing how to code.It’s really just about logical thinking and analysis,” says Zack Haehn, Bloomberg’s Software Engineering Head.

So, hire for proven capability.

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