These days, good coders are hard to find. It’s not that there are fewer of them now than there used to be, or even that the rate with which they’re entering the job market is slowing, but rather that the need for recruits with coding skills continues to skyrocket every year.
The ability to program used to be the sole province of techies working at software companies and startups, but today nearly every industry needs people with backgrounds in software engineering, web development, computer science, etc. No wonder programming jobs are growing 50% faster than the overall market.
Whether you’re a burgeoning startup or an established tech company, there will (hopefully) always be more seats to fill, which means that you have to establish yourself as an employment destination not just within your field, but across all jobs that could have a technical element. This means that you’re not just competing for candidates with your peers, but also with non-profits, automakers, consulting firms, etc. Combine this with the fact that there simply aren’t enough developers to go around (the unemployment rate among coders in the U.S. is below 2%, with comparable rates elsewhere in the world), and you’re looking at a situation that might seem impossible as a recruiter.
But not so fast—maybe recruitment marketing automation (RMA) can help.
The Numbers Game
Above, we noted the high job growth and low unemployment among coders—but those aren’t the only numbers you need to be aware of. The low unemployment also means that ratio of passive to active job seekers is considerably skewed: 9 out of 10 potential candidates for programming jobs are not actively searching for new employment (compared to 8 out of 10 for the broader population). This means that old fashioned methods like posting on job boards—i.e. methods that only reach active job hunters—are particularly ineffective.
Luckily, the willingness to change jobs may actually be a little higher among programmers, in part because of a culture that places more emphasis on flexibility and penalizes workers less for switching jobs.
So, if you’re not going to reach developers on Craigslist, where can you reach them? Well, you can start by going where they spend their time. This includes social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, yes, but it also includes more niche websites like Reddit, Stack Overflow, and GitHub. These latter options are places that communities of developers already use not just in their free time but in the course of their work, whether that’s to search for solutions to problems they might be encountering or to find reference materials for projects they’re working on. This makes these ideal channels for promoting employer branded content. If you can tell people your story through posts and ads—or, better yet, provide real value for these users in the form of helpful information about problems they may be working through—you can get passive job seekers interested in your employer brand.
Employer Branding in the Tech Industry
Unsurprisingly, with such a competitive market, the success or failure of your recruitment marketing efforts really depends on the strength of your employer brand. And what defines a strong employer brand? First of all, it should be tailored to your target personas. In the case of a tech company seeking programmers, this might mean emphasizing things like flexible hours, or the chance to work with interesting proprietary tools, or even cool office spaces with futuristic kitchens. Pay, benefits, and amenities are all important pieces of the puzzle, but so is your corporate mission and culture. If you’re driven by an impactful problem affecting numerous people, you want to appeal to others with an interest in solving that kind of problem. If you’re working on really cool new technology, your messaging should appeal to users who would be seriously excited about that.
And how should you convey this messaging across the various social media channels and niche sites you’ve identified?
A good rule of thumb is to focus as much as possible on your existing team. The biggest hurdle that many job seekers have when they’re considering a position is envisioning their new life at a new company. By putting your employees front and center and letting them communicate your employee value proposition (EVP), you give passive candidates something concrete to latch onto. In this way, they’re more likely to become invested in your employer brand narrative because they’re invested in the culture, aspirations, interests, and triumphs of the folks who already work for your company.
Inbound Recruitment Marketing
By creating a strong employer brand—one that showcases your team and speaks to the sources of value that coders in particular want—you can turbocharge your recruitment marketing efforts and start to position yourself as an employer of choice within your industry.
Of course, an employer brand is only as useful as the content that brings it to life. This means social media posts and ads, yes, but given the high level of competition for tech talent, you might even take things a step further: inbound recruitment marketing. This refers to the idea of creating not just social media content but also informational content like blogs and whitepapers aimed at educating your ideal candidate personas and helping them overcome the hurdles they encounter in their lives as coders.
By taking this approach, you really put your money where your mouth is, demonstrating not just your team’s passion, but also its expertise in the field. Not only that, but it will help you develop employer brand gravity, since your target personas will be more likely to find you through organic web searches in addition to targeted ads.
For candidates who haven’t previously heard of your business, this can be a great way to entice them into the top of your talent pipeline; for those who are already considering your business as a potential employment destination, this might help them to move even deeper into your funnel—bringing them that much closer to a submitted job application.
More than that, it can help you to gather more, better data in order to better understand your candidates. Thus, you can learn what drives their engagement and offer more of it to them in the future. If you're feeling really sophisticated, you can even implement some form of automation to help collect this data!