No longer hiring developers? How to stay top of mind for candidates
Sometimes you stop hiring because you’ve just finished filling out your team.
Other times it’s because the C-suite has made tough decisions to cut the hiring budget, which means you can’t hire the people you want (or need).
Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean that you should stop promoting your company as an attractive place to work.
Budgets won’t be cut forever, and teams aren’t immune to turnover. Eventually, you’ll either need to grow your team or replace members who have left.
But unless you’re taking steps to nurture relationships with prospective candidates even while you’re not hiring, you may miss out on picking up some highly qualified hires when you find openings on your team in the future.
Fortunately, you can do a few things to stay at the top of candidates’ minds, even if they’ve found employment elsewhere.
Be helpful on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is where you can be a resource for developers who need help getting hired – even if they won’t end up working with your company.
It may be counterintuitive, but posting open job positions for other companies you appreciate goes a long way to establishing trust with potential candidates – especially when they’re out of work and your company isn’t hiring.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re regularly posting helpful content. To establish rapport with potential candidates, you first have to get them to follow you, and one way to do that is to help them further their careers in some way.
That could be the aforementioned job posting, or it could be a helpful engineering tip or some advice on how to be successful in an interview. And don’t forget to respond to the comments! Developers who see you take the time to respond to their questions will remember you the next time you post about a job on your team.
Another way to attract future candidate attention is by offering informal or mock interviews. An informal interview is more of a “networking” discussion where you help candidates understand what it’s like to work in a particular company, industry, or role. Mock interviews are more like simulated interviews, where candidates showcase their interviewing skills and get your feedback.
Both are ways you can make a name for yourself among potential dev hires and establish your own list of people you may want to reach out to when you get some openings on your team.
Speak at conferences
Just like posting on LinkedIn, participating in conferences is another way to establish relationships with developers that could turn them into your future team members.
The topics you could speak on are limited only by your imagination – you can talk about a tech topic you’re particularly good at or passionate about, you can offer “hacks” on how to get hired in specific industries or for certain roles, or you can talk about why you think ChatGPT should be allowed in an interview.
Being visible at conferences is a great way to get positive press for your company when they’re not hiring because you’re still showcasing it as relevant. You’ll increase your brand awareness, which will help potential candidates remember your company when you finally get around to posting open engineering roles.
And don’t forget to network! While this can be a struggle for many who lean towards introversion, it’s a worthwhile skill to develop. Networking allows you to establish rapport with potential candidates directly, and you may find yourself talking with people who can supply you with qualified candidates when you’re ready for them.
Publish thought pieces on popular websites
Don’t fancy yourself a public speaker? Writing thought pieces could be just as effective as speaking at a conference, given the right audience.
Just like with speaking at a conference, the topic is limited to your imagination. You have a bit more leeway because a time limit does not confine you, and you can more smoothly toss in other forms of media like videos, audio files, gifs, images, and links to other websites.
But before you start blasting your rant on why Node.js is superior to Java in every way to publishers, it helps to keep a few tips in mind:
1. Do your research
Know what people are looking up these days. While you may feel like writing about the 10 reasons COBOL will be making a comeback, if it’s not a trendy topic, then people won’t read it and you might as well be shouting in the dark.
You can use Google Trends to see what topics would get a lot of eyeballs right now. Or ask your coworkers what topics they’d like to see. Or keep an eye out on LinkedIn to see what topics in your feed are getting likes.
2. Find a good place to publish
Pretty much every website that publishes content regularly will have a contact where you can pitch ideas or submit drafts. Pick one that you read regularly or with an audience you want to connect with. For example, we’re big fans of Dev.to, which allows readers to filter content based on tags.
Alternatively, you can start your own personal blog and just link to that on social media.
And if your thoughts are under 140 characters, you can publish straight to Twitter/Mastodon/ the social media platform du jour.
3. Engage with comments
Writing on a relevant and meaningful topic will garner more substantial attention. Interaction with your readers will convert them from followers to potential new hires.
It’s the online version of networking, showing the readers that you’d be a great person to work with should you reach out to them in the future. The ones that ask thoughtful questions are the ones you’ll want to stay connected with – either on LinkedIn or through good old-fashioned calendar reminders.
So – what next?
As hiring budgets are slashed across the tech industry, more and more team managers will look for ways to stay connected with potential recruits to give them a hiring edge when business picks back up again.
While the tips we listed above will go a long way to helping you stay relevant to potential new hires in the tech world, they will help your own employability by showing off your management skills and ability to bring value to a company’s hiring process.
The underlying lesson in all this – it helps massively to stay connected to the tech community, no matter what your hiring needs are.
If you need some inspiration for topics to write or speak on, feel free to check out some of these blog posts: