This article was published on February 10, 2015

How to find and attract the best developers globally

How to find and attract the best developers globally
Mackensie Graham
Story by

Mackensie Graham

Fingers deep in a keyboard, large headphones on, and a can of energy drink within reach flashes the paradigm of the traditional developer. Perhaps our figment of artificial intelligence is in the middle of a hackathon, maxing out mad coding skills in the programming languages that speak in new volumes to better UX, capabilities and functionality never seen by the likes of everyday Web users before.

Now take this base and layer on multiple collegiate degrees or knowledge of the self-taught autodidactic. Imagine a skyscraper office with rows on rows of computer stations or a small shop with a roll-up garage. Add in the uniform of jeans and hoodie or toss it aside for heels and a designer skirt.

Developers build molds then break them; they arrive at this title through various paths from different backgrounds. But one thing is for certain: You want the top-notch developers for your product.

Having the best stocked in your engineering department is important when the average US software developers earn a median salary of $92,660 according to the US Department of Labor in 2013. The highest 10 percent in the field hold salaries around $143,000.

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 10.16.37 AM
(Hint: Click the photo for more details on these statistics!)

A higher salary employee means a greater investment in the potential progress of that employee; invest in the right ones from the beginning.

Sourcing for these unicorns of employees—the ones that go above and beyond into the “and other duties as assigned”—then expands far beyond the sizeable area of your company, even the booming Bay Area, busting tech towers of India and upstart flats in London.

As global tech sectors grow, so does the big picture of the modern developer.

Laws of attraction

Most likely, your best employee is out there and already gainfully employed. The job is then to explore what would make them leave their current role.

Once a developer is targeted, this can be as simple as a conversation of wants and needs. It could break down to bigger salary, more time off for family, or something less tangible such as a more connected culture.

Whether it is big name software, Web and app agency or an open source project, developers want to work on a project that means something to them. Maybe the company’s mission inspires them, or they are embracing a new challenge; maybe they use the product and want to make it better.

ux unicorn

One thing is for certain, most of all developers like to solve problems. Your goal is position the role in the best light possible illustrating the chance to problem solve.

Yes, salary, benefits, vacation are important but also the soul stuff that hits hard at the core of why we as humans do what we do. Once the bottom of the hierarchy of needs are met, it’s time to tap into that self-actualization and self-fulfillment.

This is different for everyone but lies in the ethos of purpose. Highlight how the role makes an impact on the greater good, shifts technology into the future or will build something. Use marketing to highlight real employees telling real stories that give color to the company.

Find and seek

If you are sourcing for a small company, you likely do not have the advantages of corporate brand awareness and big budgets for role advertising. Not one developer fits all; different skills, experience levels and personalities will lock in with different roles.

To encourage on-target prospects to apply, get in front of the noise. Begin with the basics and post jobs on targeted top spots such as Careers2.0, DICE, and RubyNow.

However, do not think that throwing a fishing line out into the pond of talent will always attract the best catch. Consider establishing your business’ presence in meetups or developer communities like HackerRank. This opens the opportunity to meet hundreds of thousands of developers who come together for a mutual interest and can test their skills on a common platform

HackerRank’s Enterprise platform has quickly become a popular way for companies to assess the technical abilities of potential employees by making them solve general or custom code challenges.


You can pair this with a physical presence representing your company at industry-related conferences, university job fairs and trade shows depending on your target demographic.

Ensure this display is enticing and representative of the company. Utilize the basics of simple customer service when speaking to visitors to your area on the floor. Be focused, present, positive, helpful and if you do not know a question, speak with someone on your team who does and then relay it to the prospective employee.

When engaging with prospective employees (and all people for that matter), give memorable takeaways and clear information on how people may apply for jobs. Take contact information whenever it is offered and follow-up after the conference for a continued conversation with those who spark the employee radar.

Go beyond the basics of the traditional trade show booth and make the most of sponsoring an event. Work to brand the event with your company as much as possible. Whether it be a party, hackathon or networking hour this is your chance to show those future employees that your company cares. Send invitations out about this event to specific prospects and collect lead generation lists of whom attended the event through badge scans.

When targeting developers in a specific country, avoid appearing ignorant or unaccepting. Double check that any language translations are correct and clear. Brief all persons of contact with the respective employee on cultural etiquette and norms for interaction such as eye contact, accepting offers, body language and salutations.

Incentivize to stay


Now that you have hired top talent, you want to keep them. After the up-front investment and searching, the business will profit the most by maximizing and encouraging the wonderful skills of the new developer. Consider intrinsic and extrinsic gratification.

Ensure your developers are being consistently presented with challenges. Offer opportunities for continuous education and skill growth through attendance to industry-related conferences.

Establish and maintain a positive work environment through an aesthetic that cultivates productivity. Stock the office with ergonomic furniture, flexible desk set-ups and privacy rooms if absolute quiet is needed. Chat with your teams often to get a sense of their needs to stay happy.

Ultimately, it will take a bit of finesse to find methods that work best for your company culture. Experiment with various social aspects of the developer industry and you’ll quickly find the best way to communicate with your current and future teammates.

Read next: Culture is everything: How I reclaimed an employee back from Apple

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