How to recruit and hire developers for your startup in Germany: A complete guide 

How to recruit and hire developers for your startup in Germany: A complete guide 
August 18, 2019

Almost every industry is becoming dependent on software developers. With the current shortage of talent, recruiting good software developers and maintaining a pipeline of quality talent has become the most challenging task to 86% of employers, according to a recent survey. When the demand exceeds the supply, startup founders and business leaders have no choice but to hire the available talent. Making the wrong hire can be devastating, especially if the startup is running on a tight budget. 

Therefore, in this guide, I’m going to help you outline all the strategies, and walk you through the stages of hiring tech talent. 

Before we dive in, let’s first take a look at the two types of candidates: 

  • The active candidates: Is the one currently looking for a job, regardless of his/her employment status. 
  • The passive candidate: Is the one who is not looking for a job but is open to hearing about new opportunities. 

Looking for candidates in the wrong place is a vain attempt. Different candidates have different interests and hence, as a recruiter, it’s important to understand where your potential candidate is and find creative ways to approach them. 

Best places to recruit active candidates 

  • Outsourcing 
  • Job boards 
  • Freelance platforms 

Best places to recruit passive candidates: 

  • Referral programs 
  • Facebook page 
  • LinkedIn groups 
  • Communities (Stack Overflow, Github)
  • Hackathons

To choose the best place and to understand what kind of talent you’re looking for you need to narrow down your requirements by answering a few questions: 

  1. Are you offering some form of flexible or remote work?

This should be the first question to ask yourself because it determines the next steps of your talent hunting. The best tech talent might not be available in your city or town. Expanding your pool to include talents from all over the world will increase your chances of finding good developers that are also cost-effective. If you’re looking for a specific programming language with a relatively small pool of developers skilled in it, you wouldn’t want to limit your search to one location. 

Also, by hiring remote developers you wouldn’t have to worry about visa or relocation costs. In addition, developers are looking for remote opportunities more than ever before. According to Stack Overflow, 50% of developers consider remote work as one of the most important factors for choosing a job. 

Source: Stack Overflow

  1. What skills you’re looking for?

You can’t expect a software developer to solve all your problems. Therefore, you need to narrow down the skills you’re looking for. Are you looking for a mobile developer? A web developer, or a full-stack? To narrow it down further, determine the main problem that needs to be solved in your project and write your job requirements accordingly. 

  1. What type of commitment are you looking for? 

Are you looking for part-time/full-time candidates or freelancers? Do you need a specialist to work on a certain project only? Or are you looking for a long term member? 

  1. When is your preferred starting date? 

Most developers need an average of 1 month to prepare for a new role and serve notice periods. Job boards with pre-vetted candidates can help you hire faster than traditional recruitment platforms. Take that into consideration if you’re looking for an urgent hire. 

     5. Do you have a recruiter? 

Recruiters play a crucial part of reducing your time to fill and streamlining your recruitment process. If you don’t have one – like most startups – it’s essential to find time to conduct the following: 

    • Posting the job announcement on relevant job boards 
    • Reviewing resumes of qualified/unqualified candidates 
    • Prescreen the coding skills of candidates
    • Conduct a phone interview with promising candidates 
    • Send out coding test to shortlisted candidates
    • Conduct interviews with candidates who pass the test 
    • Prepare job offers 
    • Prepare for on-boarding 

 

  • How to find active candidates:

 

  • Job boards

Indeed 

A seamless job board that provides hundreds of job opportunities to developers. It’s effective and convenient if you are looking to hire full time, part-time, remote or even interns. You can choose either to post a job for free or to sponsor it. They also provide email job alerts where they notify job seekers about available job openings on a weekly basis.

Pros:

  • Free job posting
  • Large scale hiring
  • Free job post cancellation

Cons

  • Can’t repost the same job within a short time.

 

Glassdoor: 

Glassdoor has been a popular job board to many employers and startups. It has opportunities for all levels of employment so it’s the perfect option if you’re looking to make multiple hires. 

Pros:

Glassdoor has a wide pool of candidates, juniors, seniors and mid level. You’re more likely to find candidates faster than other job boards. 

Cons: 

One of the downsides of Glassdoor is the high cost. It costs between  $64.90 and $249.00 per job depending on the package you select. Additionally, due to the fact that Glassdoor has open positions for all types of jobs and industries, it’s easy for your job post to go unnoticed. 

 

Developers’ centered companies 

Remoteplatz 

Remoteplatz provides the modern solution to finding the right talent with a vision to break the boundaries of traditional recruitment and build the largest remote community of developers in the world. 

Remoteplatz is an excellent choice for companies that want to scale their engineering team with zero hassle. We connect companies with pre-vetted developers in Egypt within 2 weeks, this is because all candidates are pre-vetted and tested, we just match you with a specialized talent that fit your culture. Remoteplatz takes over the whole recruitment and on-boarding processes and provides full assistance in conducting interviews, and coding assessments to give you time to focus on growing your business. 

After we match you with our specialized developer, you will need to contact them to get a feel for their personality and culture fit. After which, you can test them for 2 weeks for free before you decide to sign a long-term contract with them. 

How it works: 

Employers can go through candidates profiles and request to hire the top candidates. Or they can fill out a simple form to tell us their requirements. Full time remote developers cost between 1,800 – 4,500 EUR which is 70% less than the average cost of developers that come through traditional recruiting websites.  

Toptal 

Toptal is among the best platforms for hiring developers, designers, and finance experts. They have a large network of quality pre-vetted experts with experience in a wide range of technologies. Toptal offers a free trial where you can test your developer for the first time before you decide to hire them remotely. Toptal guarantees painless communication as all programmers speak, read and write English fluently and clearly. 

As Toptal is doing the hiring, this means, you’re going to save all of the time and hassle that comes with finding and hiring developers.

How it works: 

Request a specialized developer by filling out a form with your requirements. Toptal will connect you with the perfect fit. 

CodeControl 

CodeControl is a network of freelancers with +500 top freelancers in demand. All freelancers and pre-vetted, tested and ready to join your team upon request. Their vetting process -according to what they published on their site- is very tight. Every developer undergoes rigorous testing before joining the community – including a 120-minute coding challenge and a personal interview. Although there’s no trial period, CodeControl offers to find you a replacement if you’re not satisfied with the developer’s performance. 

How it works: 

Drop them a message with your requirements, then schedule a call with one of the team to clarify your request. Within 2 days, you will receive the profile of the most relevant candidate. You can interview the candidate and start working with them immediately if you’re happy. 

Honeypot

Honeypot is a German platform that connects companies with qualified software developers and engineering leaders from all over the world. The hiring ramp up time is 4 weeks after which you can start working with your talent. 

The platform doesn’t offer remote positions at the moment so it you will have to hire a candidate who resides nearby or if you want to hire from abroad, then you must sponsor a relocation visa.

How it works: 

Start by creating a company profile. Once it’s approved, you can start searching for talent using specific keywords. To connect with a talent, send them an interview invite, which they can accept or reject. You can move forward with the recruitment process as per your company’s internal procedure with little to no-assistance from the platform. 

 

Freelancing platforms 

Upwork 

The biggest online platform for freelance jobs. Through Upwork, you can hire freelance developers to work on your projects and pay them per hour or per project (up to you to decide). All you need to do is to create an account then post your job to start receiving proposals. You will receive little to no assistance with regard to the recruitment process. So, you will need to go through all proposals one by one to schedule interviews for shortlisted candidates. If you want Upwork advisors to connect you pre-vetted talent, then you need to upgrade to Upwork Business

How it works: 

Sign up to create an account. Post a job with a description of the job and the role you’re hiring for. Then you’ll start receiving proposals from candidates. Interview the most relevant proposals then get started. 

 

How to reach passive candidates? 

According to Stack Overflow survey in 2017, Only 13.1% of developers are actively looking for a job, while 75.2% of them are interested in hearing about new job opportunities. Meaning that the vast majority of developers can’t be found on job boards. To reach those passive candidates, you need to look beyond the traditional recruitment methods.  

  • Referral program

Most organizations are leveraging their current employees potential to refer candidates from their professional network. The employee referral program is a reliable solution to reach passive candidates in a shorter time. Also getting your employees to assist in the process is a smart way to offer incentives and rewards based on the number of successful referral hires. 

  • Social media 

Don’t underestimate the power of social media when it comes to reaching passive candidates. At least 84% of organizations have used social media for recruitment, one survey found. Facebook for example has helped us at Remoteplatz reach a large pool of passive tech talent faster than any other social network. There are multiple ways to use Facebook for sourcing candidates: 

  • Create a job post and share it on your Facebook page.
  • Share your job post with relevant groups and communities. 
  • Turn your job post into an ad to reach a wider pool of talent. 

How to reach candidates on LinkedIn 

  • Highlight the opportunity, not the job 

Simply putting a job offer in front of candidates isn’t enough to attract them. Instead, talk about the benefits and the opportunities you offer along with this job. These benefits could be professional development opportunities, recognition, competitive salary or networking events. 

  • Build relationships 

A better way to attract passive candidates with your job openings is to build relationships with them. Participate in LinkedIn groups where your potential candidates hang out and start sharing industry news, company achievements, as well as job openings. Doing so will present your company in a compelling way and will attract potential candidates to become part of your team. 

  • Communities (Stack Overflow & GitHub)

Although communities such as Stack Overflow and GitHub are not designed to connect employers with candidates, they could give you access to a huge pool of passive talent. Employers also use these communities to get an overview of candidates’ skill sets and experience. 

Here are a few tips to get started with your headhunting: 

  • Top Tags/Badges (Stack Overflow): Look for top badges/tags in the candidate’s profile, If these tags match your tech stack, this is a good indication that this person could be a good fit for your company. 
  • Forks and Pull Requests (GitHub): Rich Moy, developer hiring expert at Stack Overflow says “This indicates a developer’s passion for contributing to the developer community – and if your team is collaborative, this is good to know right off the bat. Still, take this with a grain of salt and compare the number of forks and pull requests to that developer’s overall activity on the site,” Moy says. “Occasionally, you’ll find that a programmer has forked – or copied – a lot of other repositories to inflate their profile. This makes it important for recruiters to look at activity, and not just the total number of repositories on a developer’s profile.”
  • Hackathons 

Once you identify which development technology you’re hunting for, you can go ahead and search for events or hackathon relevant to you. Use meetup.com to find nearby hackathons or technology events. Remember that one of the objectives of hackathons is to network and meet people. Capitalize on that by building a rapport with programmers and connecting with them on personal and professional levels. This will help you understand their interests, and job preferences so you can incorporate that in your future job descriptions. 

Testing developers’ competency 

Now that you have finally found the perfect candidate, it’s time to test their competency and culture fit. What we suggest is: 

  • Coding test 

This includes a coding challenge that can be done either during the interview or before. 

  • Soft skills assessment 

Examining the candidates’ communication, time management, and problem solving skills is a must. You can check our previous post on how to assess candidates’ soft skills during an interview. 

Hiring a developer can be tedious if you don’t know what you’re looking for. By answering the questions and following the tips above you’ll be able to hire the right talent faster and with zero hassle. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions

 

By: Menna Shalaby

Online Marketing Manager at Remoteplatz

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