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5 Ways to Source, Assess, and Hire Talented Developers

Ashmita Roy
Ashmita Roy  |  October 31, 2019

It’s 2019 and the war for tech talent continues to grow with no signs of slowing down. Hiring managers and recruiters still find it difficult to hire and retain in-demand tech talent.

While some recruiters resort to coding bootcamp graduates to fill open positions, others focus on third-party recruitment firms. If you play by the same rules of hiring developers as everyone else, it's difficult to find the talent you’re looking for. If you're more inventive and are able to flex some ideas, it's not that hard.

How to find the right developer for your company

You’re not the only company looking for top tier talent – you’re also competing with the likes of big tech companies like Google or Facebook. Knowing where to look for developers is just the first step. Once your company can master the workflow of finding, assessing, and hiring new developers you’ll be on your way to building a star-studded team.

Here are five unconventional ways to find developers that your team probably hasn’t tried yet.

1. Use GitHub

GitHub is the world’s largest social coding site, with close to 31 million developers. Simply put, it is a cloud-based platform for open source (OS) developers who use it to host and share code based on frameworks such as Ruby on Rails.

github homepage


A developer’s GitHub profile can provide you with a wealth of information. However, before you start shortlisting profiles and approaching developers on GitHub, make sure that the developer is open to job opportunities.

You can follow these steps to find the best developer talent through GitHub:

First, you must create a profile on GitHub. Set up your account with your company and personal information. After your profile is created, you can run use the search bar for finding developers using 3 parameters, viz., language, location, and followers.

For example, if you wish to find someone who’s skilled in JavaScript, based in London, and with a follower count of greater than 20 people, your search will look like this:

github search


A follower count of 2-10 is considered good and anything between 26-75 is exceptional. Any developer with 75+ followers is considered super amazing. GitHub will will come up with a list of repositories of developers that you can reach out to.

However, you must filter your search accordingly. After your run your search, GitHub will show you the results for repositories by default instead of users first. You need to amend that view by selecting users’ from the left hand side menu.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you connect with developers on GitHub.

1. Good developers are always being reached out to by recruiters. Hence, you must give yourself an edge over your competitors before approaching them. Familiarize yourself with their work by checking their repositories. Also, learn about the projects they tend to be involved in. This would help you filter out developers who you think will be a right fit for the role you’re looking for.

2. Check the profiles of shortlisted developers on LinkedIn or Twitter to be doubly sure if they would be a perfect fit for the job on offer or not.

3. Don’t judge profiles on how active or complete they are. Sometimes developers do not tend to share code publicly for security reasons.

2. Use StackOverflow

StackOverflow is a Q&A site for enthusiast programmers and professionals and is a great platform to hire amazing developers.

stack overflow


The process of shortlisting profiles of developers is similar to GitHub. However, before connecting with developers via StackOverflow, here are a few things to remember:

StackOverflow is a Q&A site where developers post and answer technical questions. You must look out for candidates addressing specific questions to see if they fit your requirements.

Developers are segregated based on their user badges and reputation scores. An ideal candidate ranks high for both. Every question that is posted on StackOverflow has tags associated with it. You can use these tags to find developers who fit the bill.

Tech communities are full of potential hires waiting to be discovered. Some other places to find great developer talent include Reddit, HackerEarth, and Data Quest.

3. Attract developers through Hackathons

A hackathon or a codefest is a competitive event where a team of highly-skilled developers and subject matter experts work together under the same roof. The goal is to create solutions for a specific problem within a tight deadline. Teams usually build a working prototype in the form of an app, a website, etc. to solve a given problem.

Hackathons can be a great platform to hire developers, especially fresh graduates. Some of the best coders and programmers participate in such events. However, recruiters need to understand that both active and passive candidates take part in a hackathon.

In such cases, the best practice to follow is to ask the participants to fill up a feedback form. You can ask them to talk about/rate their experience about the hackathon at the end of the event. You may also want to include a question in the feedback form if participants would be interested to join your organization and exploring job opportunities. This will help you form a candidate pipeline and reach out to interested candidates.

Major tech companies are going gaga over hackathons. These events are expected to become more prevalent and traditional hiring methods obsolete as time goes by and organizations evolve. Research reveals that the recruitment time is cut down by almost 80% in hackathons.

4. Use developer assessment tools

If you want to assess and hire quality developers, then developer assessment tools are your go-to. These tools allow recruiters and hiring managers to effectively screen a high number of candidates in a short time. Also, it eliminates bias from the entire recruitment process. Here’s how you can use these tools to assess and hire developers:

These tools let you know if resumes are misleading

Resumes can sometimes be deceptive as candidates tend to over exaggerate their skills. According to studies, up to 78% of resumes are misleading and up to 46% contain actual lies.

In 2012, Scott Thompson, the then CEO of Yahoo, was removed from his position after it was found that he his resume was padded with an embellished college degree. Skill-based assessment tests help recruiters check the truthfulness of candidates’ resumes. By applying skill-based assessments tests, employers can verify if their candidates actually possess the skills they claim to have.

These tools provide a seamless candidate experience

Bad or negative candidate experience can lead to organizations losing out on good developers and even result in significant monetary loss. According to Software Advice, 63% of candidates will likely reject a job offer because of a bad candidate experience.

This is where developer assessment tools come to the rescue. Major organizations consider skill-based assessments as an integral part of the developer interview process.

Developer assessment tools let candidates code in an environment of their choice. With such tools, candidates do not need to travel long distances for interviews, get rejected based on a phone conversation, code on whiteboards, and so on.

These tools can help structure the interview process. A structured interview means that all the candidates are asked the same set of questions. Also, recruiters and hiring managers do not know the specifics of each candidate, such as age, gender, ethnicity, race – you get the picture.

This ultimately leads to an unbiased hiring decision and candidates are benchmarked the right way. Candidates receive real-time feedback after completing the assessment, which makes candidates feel that they have had a fair shot at the interview by showcasing their skills (irrespective of what the hiring decision is) through an engaging process of developer assessments without any human bias.

These tools help you determine a job fit

Using a skill-based assessment tool is an ideal way to assess the technical competencies of a candidate and to determine whether or not he/she is a good match for a job position.

Developer assessment tools offer coding assessments in several programming languages and help hiring managers measure code correctness, the time taken by a candidate to complete the test, space complexity, and much more.

These tests can provide relevant information about a candidate's ability to perform well in the job. Employers that use skill assessment tests are less likely to make a bad hire.

These tools help you determine a cultural fit

According to Robert Walters, 73% of professionals have left a job because of poor cultural fit. There are a myriad pre-assessment tools that test for cultural fit such as personality traits, cognitive ability, etc. As a result, recruiters can determine a candidate’s cultural fit more effectively by using these tools.

A candidate may have the best technical skills. However, if they don’t have the necessary skills to fit in your existing team, they are sure to fail and probably even leave your company.

5. Focus on tried and true recruiting tactics

The reason why it is difficult to find tech talent is because it is a competitive job market. There are more job openings than the number of qualified developers. You must ensure that you stand apart in a pool of similar businesses for developers to choose you over other competitors.

One great way is to build an excellent developer brand that attracts top talent. Show them what it is like working for your brand and why they will love it. To build a strong developer brand, you should follow practices such as using your network to build a talent pipeline, setting up live sessions on ‘Why we are the #1 brand for developer talent?’ (an example), understanding brand perception, etc.

Employee referrals

Build your network and ask for referrals from friends, colleagues, business partners, associates, or anybody who you think could do the job for you. The most significant advantage referrals provide is that you can contact the developer directly. Additionally, it is highly probable that the person who referred the developer to you may have worked with him/her or may have hired the developer before. Hence, they can vouch for him/her. Also, the prospective developer may trust you more and is more likely to work with you even if the developer has other offers.

Ask your colleagues or friends in the field for advice

If you’re looking for local talent, you can’t go wrong with IT recruitment consultants. However, this approach is one of the more expensive strategies out there. If you have the budget, this can be a good investment. By bringing in outside help, your time-to-hire ratio can reduce significantly, especially when your HR department is loaded with work.

You can’t hack your way to a developing dream team

But you can use these tips to stack the deck in your favor! Recruiters and hiring managers can use these ideas to rope in the best developers looking for a challenging and rewarding opportunity.

No matter which strategy you turn to, always look for a developers who fit into your work culture, your vision, and your commitment. Take your time. There’s more to a developer than just knowing how to code. 

Don't forget to invest in the right software for your recruiting efforts! Browse the best recruiting tools on the market.

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Ashmita Roy
Author

Ashmita Roy

Ashmita is a Content Editor at HackerEarth. With a knack for writing, she hopes to write something, someday, worth plagiarizing. When she’s not working, you can find her strumming her guitar or binging on Netflix.