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Improve Your Hiring Approach

Toby Nieboer
Oct 23
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Hiring is hard, and it takes time. If you’re trying to hire a team of people that are just like you, it will take even longer. Here are a few tips that we’ve found will help you hire a more diverse range of people, and as a result, hire faster.

Cultural contribution, not cultural fit

Humans tend to gravitate towards people like themselves - if you see something of yourself in the other person, you’re automatically predisposed to like them. This is great for making friends, but a bad strategy if your intent is to cultivate a diverse, inclusive workplace. Think instead about what a candidate could bring to your team that you don’t already have. Different backgrounds, interests and abilities bring a diversity of viewpoints and experiences that may well result in approaches to your day-to-day work (and your product) that you hadn’t considered (or avoid ill-considered moves like Google’s recent change to Maps). An inclusive workplace is also likely to be more attractive to the kind of talent you need to build a strong, high-performing team.


You may have ideas about the kind of developer you want - someone who contributes to open-source software, or someone who has a side project, for example. By screening for these things, you’re excluding those who aren’t in the privileged position of having time available to do them - people who do work in the community, those who have family commitments, or those who need maximum downtime in ordr to perform their best work. Some of the best people in our industry put in a full week’s work and then spend their personal time doing something completely different, and you could be missing out on those people because of your ideas about what “real devs” do.

Creating a good environment

This is a tricky one because if your environment is unappealing it takes a fair amount of self-awareness and insight to realise it, and it comes in many forms. Maybe you’ve hired a team of programmers or brilliant jerks, maybe your office is inconveniently located or has accessibility issues, or maybe your product isn’t very appealing… these are among many reasons why your workplace might not be attractive to the kinds of candidates you’re after. Ultimately you may need to make some hard decisions about the kind of environment you want to provide.

Where to look

If you’re relying on your existing network (or those of your team), or just advertising on your own site, you may not be reaching the candidates you’re after. Try going to meetups - you’ll get your name out there as a potential employer, and you’ll meet developers from all backgrounds, from recent grads to seniors. Even if they’re not looking right now, you’ll be on their radar next time they’re thinking about a move.

Reaching the right people

Your job description might need revision to ensure you’re catching the right eyeballs - you should be sure it accurately reflects the day-to-day responsibilities and the technologies in use right now, as well as where you see things going in the near future. Give potential candidates a little insight into where you’re headed, and you can get them excited to be a part of that.

Your hiring processes

If you’re having trouble hiring anyone, take a look at your hiring process. If you have five rounds of interviews and three coding challenges, you might be losing out to companies with shorter processes, and/or losing developers who might be intimidated by the perceived toughness of a long process. With the right people involved, you can gain just as much insight about a candidate from a much more condensed process. We've talked about technical interviews or technical tests a few times before.

The good news is that most of these are easy to implement - a couple of small adjustments could make a massive difference to your ability to attract amazing developers. Get in touch if you’d like some advice - we’re always happy to have a chat.

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