Tech Recruitment on a Budget: Low-Cost Ways to Hire Developers

According to a study by SHRM, companies spend an average of $4,000 when hiring a new employee. If the recruiting budget isn’t on your side when needing to make your next tech hire, then the whole process can seem financially daunting. 

Sure, limitless funds and endless amounts of time are the dream but, as ever, the reality of recruiting very much follows the “so much to do, so little time” mantra. Throw in a tight budget and the perfect fit candidate can seem light-years away.

Have no fear.

Take a look at our 5 top tips for low-cost tech hiring and see how a small money pot can still equal spot-on hires.

(Oh and, by the way, we’ve put all of our articles and resources on how to find and hire developers here.)

1. Up your efficiency with recruiting technology 

One of the best ways to get more bang for your buck in tech recruiting is to optimize your screening process. 

online coding tests

Today, companies are making technical recruiting tools (such as our platform for technical assessment) part of their hiring process. Programmers are tested on their skills through coding challenges. Hiring managers only take candidates who meet their technical requirements forward to the interview stage. Time spent on candidates who will not ultimately cross the finish line is minimized. Costs are minimized too! 

Plus, candidates get to engage in a targeted, tech-friendly tool rather than a generic and uninspiring hiring process.

2. Engage team leaders and their networks 

Jennifer Rettig, who started her recruiter career at Apple, says that leveraging current company leaders is one of the most often-overlooked actions that helps with recruiting. 

“For any executive search, the hiring manager is likely either a founder or existing member of the leadership team. They need to use their position of influence to engage a circle of people who have the networks and pull to fill the pipeline with excellent candidates — this includes existing leaders on the team, investors, advisers, board members and other stakeholders.”

Referral programs are another way in which to engage an employee’s network. This cost cutting method is more than simply getting employees to quickly pass a friend’s contact details on to HR. As with a lot of tech company initiatives, referral schemes can be a way to indirectly show off your employer brand and company culture to attract new talent.

For example, Salesforce organizes Recruitment Happy Hours; informal gatherings where employees invite the people they want to refer for after-work drinks. 

Happy hour
Why not try “Recruitment Happy Hours” yourself?

3. Promote job roles at tech events

Where is there a high concentration of potential tech candidates? You’ve got it… tech events! These events are a gold mine for businesses looking for their next tech candidates. 

Make sure a good spattering of your executives and employees attend so that they can network and organically meet potential candidates.

HR thought-leader and former CTO of Agilent Technologies Dr. John Sullivan promotes this approach, suggesting companies “encourage […] executives and superstars to speak at these events, because that exposure might result in some immediate candidates, as well as improvement of your overall employer brand.”

Company-organized hackathons are also a popular retention tool in the tech industry and another potential tech recruiting focus. When hiring, open these events up to not only your employees but to their friends and contacts too. Chances are, if they attend your coding event, then they work in tech. You might just find your next developer – with no additional cost on your part.

4. Spread the interview load

An area of the recruiting budget that can be proportioned somewhere more useful, is the interview stage. 

Despite the fact that the vast majority of developers (90.3%) who are included in their company’s tech recruiting are happy to be part of the process, over half of hiring companies (53.1%) try to get by recruiting developers without the help of their tech team.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s really a win-win situation. Employees feel valued being asked to be a part of the recruiting process and the prospective new team member will get a much more authentic feel for their new tech team – something that is very important when securing new talent in the tech industry.

For maximum success, make sure each interviewer knows which part of the exchange they are responsible for.

“It doesn’t matter if the slate of participants includes the CEO, make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to who is covering what. You don’t want candidates hashing out the details of their resume over and over – it’s exhausting for them, and it won’t give you the benefit of seeing them from different angles.” – Kristy Nittskoff, founder of Talent-savvy.

5. Reach out through clubs and organizations

Our final – and nifty – tip for recruiting on a budget is to know what clubs and organizations your target candidates might be a part of.

“Firms are beginning to realize that if you want risk-takers, you recruit at rock-climbing clubs. If you want people with discipline, you recruit former Marines. Several pharma organizations have begun hiring ex-cheerleaders as salespeople because of their discipline and their ability to get people’s attention. Pockets of labor usually share at least one extracurricular interest outside of work.” – Dr. John Sullivan, HR thought-leader and former CTO of Agilent Technologies.

For tech hires, this means doing some research into their hobbies and targeting them that way. 24% of programmers love board games for example, according to Ray Wenderlich’s survey.

Monopoly: programmers love board games
Programmers love board games (and they don’t stop at Monopoly, the board game possibilities are endless!)

Simply sending out a questionnaire to your current tech team asking about what out-of-work organisations they’re a part of could return a lead and cost you nothing (except a little time)!

So that’s it, our 5 top tips for recruiting your next tech hire on a budget. With just a little thinking outside the box, finances don’t have to dictate finding that next perfect hire.


There’s a better way to test coding skills.

Picture of Nathalie Figuière

Nathalie Figuière

Nathalie is Content Manager at CodinGame. When she's not busy creating quality #techrecruitment content, chances are she’s watching Friends or snuggling her little grey cat, Moon.