Remote Hiring: How to Source Developers Remotely

Almost 99% of software developers switched to full-time remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, developers adapted to this new way of working relatively smoothly.

Can the same be said for human resources professionals and tech recruiters?

Scouting out high-quality tech talent is difficult enough. Sourcing tech talent exclusively online, whilst working from home, is a challenge in and of itself.

Now that the world is working remotely, software engineers are in high demand – even more so than before! PageGroup, one of the UK’s largest companies, found that software engineers now have the most in-demand profession in the world, topping even doctors and nurses.

Software companies, like Zoom, have seen usage surge in the past few months. These companies are snapping up as many developers as they can get their hands on to help them continue providing their vital home-working support services.

As a remote sourcing specialist, it’s your job to continue the strategic sourcing of qualified software engineers, despite the fact that developer unemployment may well be lower than before the pandemic.

Read our tips on how to find high-quality tech talent while working from home.

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1. Host virtual recruitment events

Traditional recruitment events, like in-person hackathons or career fairs, aren’t possible when sourcing remotely. No office-invites, university campus events, fun décor, face-to-face networking, snazzy hardware, finger food, or prize presentations (it’s kinda sad, we know 🙁).

However, all is not lost! You can, instead, host virtual recruitment events.

In some respects, virtual recruitment events are even better than physical events. They have a much broader reach and, generally, cost less to orchestrate. Some prospective candidates, who wouldn’t have been able to travel to a physical event, might partake from afar. 

Online coding competitions

An online coding competition is a great (and kind of sneaky) way to source developers. With one event, you engage developers, promote your employer brand and check out potential candidates’ coding skills. 

Here at CodinGame, we regularly coordinate online coding competitions for organizations looking to hire programmers. We handle all of the technical setup and support. Hiring companies can choose between a pre-made Clash of Code tournament or a custom-made coding game (specific design assets, unique game environment, etc.).

Virtual career fairs

A virtual career fair brings a group of prospective candidates together to learn more about a company, ask questions, and even partake in coding competitions. You can interview attendees during the event if they seem like a good fit.

Ask candidates to send over their resumes before your event so that you can smoothly hop into an interview.

Give attendees lots of opportunities to video chat with you one-on-one. They might have questions that they feel uncomfortable asking in a group setting.

Brazen and vFairs are two of the best-reputed platforms for hosting virtual career fairs. They have plenty of relevant features: recruiting chatbots, video interviewing, and live video broadcasts.

Rather than hosting the event yourself, why not reach out to other organizations, like universities, to participate in their virtual career fairs. You may well gain access to a larger pool of tech talent this way.

Virtual information sessions

If you’re not ready to start accepting resumes yet, you could host a virtual information session.

In a group video call, using a service like Zoom or GoToMeeting, you can provide information about your company to potential candidates with a more personal touch.

You could pre-film an office tour, or a day-in-the-life of working at your company, to playback during a video call. Attendees can ask you questions live: on internal communication processes, project management methodologies, company culture, technical stack, future development projects, etc.

It’s also a smart idea to ask current employees to join the information session for a live Q&A. Why? Because developers pay close attention to the people they work with.

In our 2020 Developer Survey, 72% of coders told us that “Friendly colleagues” was one of the top two things they needed to feel comfortable and efficient within a tech team (along with “Efficient and well-respected team processes”). 

Webinars

A webinar is similar to a virtual information session, but it’s less interactive. There is chat functionality, but the video is one-way. Webinars are the virtual equivalent of a seminar or a lecture, where question answering isn’t the focus.

A significant benefit of hosting a webinar is that, if you record the session, you get a valuable, reusable resource that you can promote online or send to potential candidates (#employerbranding 😉). 

WebinarJam is widely accepted as the best webinar tool available today and allows you to record webinar sessions. Looking to benchmark a couple of tools? This video below presents 8 top webinar platforms. 

Promote your virtual event

Like physical events, you need to promote your virtual events to potential candidates across your networks.

Invite potential candidates via social media posts and direct messages on LinkedIn.

Try reaching out to university career centres, asking them to advertise your virtual event in their newsletter or on their student job platform. You can also partner with student organizations to have them pass out your event details to their members.

Directly email past prospective candidates who opted into receiving recruitment-related emails. They represent your talent pool and they’re valuable, keep in touch! 

Finally, put your event registration links on your company’s website, emails, and social media accounts to get more eyes on them.

2. Target tech talent with employer branding

Your employer branding efforts are probably mainly online already, so remote sourcing shouldn’t change much about where you post. But it will change what you post.

Your company’s employer brand influences how current and future recruits feel about working for your company.

“Speaking from personal experience, tech workers do a lot of homework on a company before deciding to join it. I tend to avoid the big job websites which provide little information about what it’s really like to work for a company. Instead, I turn to social media.” – Jon H., full-stack engineer and entrepreneur

Tech job seekers don’t scroll through job websites as much as you might think. However, they do scroll through social media content pumped out by tech companies. LinkedIn especially, attracts a good chunk of potential tech hires. We found that 74% of developers turn to LinkedIn to look for job opportunities. Will they notice you?

Increase your social media engagement

Social media gives potential candidates a way to learn about your company while consuming useful, high-quality content.

Rather than posting job descriptions, start posting more engaging content like:

  • Your colleagues’ cool workspace setups (at home or in the office!)
  • Videos of colleagues being interviewed
  • An invitation to an upcoming live Q&A

When your social media followings grow large enough, people will start to react to what you have to say. They’ll even start conversations about your company. 

Unfortunately, some will be negative. Take the opportunity to address people’s comments, improving your company’s image. Potential candidates hovering around or taking part in the exchange will appreciate a genuine, thoughtful reply.

3. Cultivate employee referrals

Your company’s existing employees will likely have other developers in their networks. Although you can’t influence these programmers directly, you can ask your employees to do so for you. 

Create a referral culture

Referrals can be free if you embed the concept into your company’s culture. Everyone should view hiring new talent as a top priority and shared responsibility.

Encourage your company’s employees to post their work experiences on LinkedIn, and on other social media platforms. Your company’s brand will reach and influence a wider audience.

You could also encourage tech teams to discuss their referral progress during monthly meetings. You could even set up a leaderboard to track each developer’s referrals, gamifying the process and introducing some friendly competition.

Finally, have company executives lead by example.

Introduce a referral rewards program

To motivate employees to put extra effort into getting referrals, you can introduce a rewards program and reward employees when they refer someone suitable to the company (generally, if the person is successfully hired and then stays with the company for a set amount of time).

Potential rewards include cash, gift cards, vouchers, subscriptions, special company privileges, event tickets, weekend getaways… 

Thank you card
Reward employees who refer suitable tech candidates

Some companies imagine their referral rewards program as part of a high-level strategy. Seattle-based technology company Glowforge, for example, is willing to pay $5,000 for introductions that result in hiring someone who identifies as a member of an underrepresented minority. 

Also, why not add a pinch of automation to your referral program? You could free up more of your precious recruitment time by making use of technology. 

EmployeeReferrals, for example, is a useful referral automation tool. You can, automatically, send messages, remind employees to keep on track with their referral duties, distribute rewards, etc. You just set it and forget it!

4. Turn to tech

Sourcing tech talent remotely shouldn’t require different software to what you already use. Simply make sure that you can access any tools that reside on company servers from home. Ideally, use cloud-based tools that you can use from anywhere.

Searching for tech talent manually online, reading individual profiles and sending individual messages, can eat up a lot of your time. You could spend this time organizing virtual events, or interacting with candidates who you know fit your criteria.

Here at CodinGame, we’ve created an online Sourcing tool to help companies source developers remotely. The workflow can be summed up in four simple steps:

  1. Developers enter their job criteria. They describe their ideal job (technologies, frameworks, location, etc.)
  2. Companies enter their criteria. They describe their ideal candidate (years of experience, technical skills, etc.)  
  3. CodinGame lets recruiters know, by email, when there’s been a match
  4. Recruiters can choose whether to contact the “matched” developer

We make sure that companies don’t bug developers with irrelevant offers or default messages: better opportunities for developers, more efficient sourcing for recruiters!

You need to get creative to source software developers remotely. Your focus must shift to online sourcing methods like filtering resume databases, hosting or participating in virtual recruitment events, and creating engaging social media campaigns.

Transitioning to online sourcing methods will serve you well in the long-term. You’ll start grabbing the attention of developers from a wider, global, tech talent pool.

Wondering what other changes you need to make to your tech hiring process in order to “go remote”? We’ve got your back! Read about how to switch to remote tech hiring here

STRUGGLING TO HIRE SKILLED DEVELOPERS?

There’s a better way to test coding skills.

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Jon Holstead

Jon Holstead

Jon Holstead is a writer at CodinGame. Jon has previously worked as a software developer and CTO for both SaaS startups and larger tech organizations. He started his career in technology by earning a computer science Bachelor of Science degree from Durham University, UK. Jon has since built a multitude of ventures, including a property investment company and a business blog. Outside of work, Jon enjoys eating "pain au chocolat" and is a sucker for golden retrievers.