4 Tips for Building Out Your Developer Team

As more companies compete for IT professionals, searching for the right software development talent can become a discouraging pursuit. As in other high-demand industries, the number of jobs often exceeds the number of qualified candidates. Conventional recruiting strategies, such as posting open positions on job boards, aren’t enough.

Hiring managers and recruiters are forced to get a little more creative to bring talented developers on board. While some standard techniques like referrals are still effective, there are plenty of stealth-like tactics to add to the mix. Below are four of the top recruiting tips you can use to build your developer team.

1. Go Remote

Companies that are open to hiring remote employees or outsourcing IT projects can fill internal staffing gaps quicker. Many software developers freelance through online platforms and are available for side work. Advertising your company’s excess workload and positions is one way to find freelancers on these platforms. Another is to search for candidates that meet your desired skill level and then invite them to “interview.”

Targeted candidates can then check out a brief description of the work, indicate their interest, and proceed with test assignments. Some of these online platforms have built-in contract and project management tools. Milestones or hours spent on the work are tracked through the platform, in addition to invoicing and payments.

Your company can also expand its recruiting reach through outsourcing and considering global candidates or independent contractors. You can use online platforms to hire remote workers in India or seek out coding talent in the U.K. Larger organizations often use tech agencies and business process outsourcing companies. However, small businesses can be just as effective with hiring platforms that connect you with contractors and remote job seekers.

2. Rely on Your Referral Network

Networking and candidate referrals are recruiting strategies that work in both the employer’s and job seeker’s favor. According to 2020 hiring stats, 82% of employers rated employee referrals above other sources for generating ROI. Candidates sourced from referrals are also four times more likely to get a job offer. Plus they tend to hang around longer, as 45% of referred candidates remain with a company for four years.

Referrals can come from your current team, but they can also come from business partners, vendors, friends, neighbors, and family. Put the word out that you’re looking for software developers or mention it casually during everyday conversations. Consider starting an internal employee referral program if your company doesn’t already have one. Providing monetary incentives or non-monetary rewards can help you build a candidate pipeline without advertising.

By using your professional and personal network for referrals, you’ll wade into the pool of passive job seekers. These candidates may not be applying for advertised positions, but that doesn’t mean they’re not looking at the job market. They may be willing to talk, try working with you as a freelancer, and consider future full-time roles.

3. Join Online Software Developer Communities

Online communities and forums for software developers are additional ways to network and check out potential candidates’ work. Some of these communities serve as digital networking platforms for developers. They exchange ideas, talk about projects they’re working on, and seek input or assistance when they encounter roadblocks. Other forums are places for professionals to share snippets of their coding work and projects.

Within online communities, you can look at different participants’ profiles to get a sense of who they are. Depending on how robust the profiles are, you might see the individuals’ work experience and whether they’re open to new opportunities. However, each forum will have separate rules and guidelines for communicating.

Some may require you to contribute to topics and discussions before trying to recruit developers for your team. Others might provide opportunities for you to collaborate on open-source projects. This gives your existing employees a chance to virtually work with potential candidates. Your current team will see how those candidates might fit in and evaluate their professionalism. Some communities might be more restrictive, but you can still network online and get referrals.

4. Scout Social Media Platforms and Online Content

Professional social media platforms and blogs written by software developers can help you find talent before your competitors do. Browsing social platforms is a useful supplement to other recruiting strategies, whether you’re looking for full-time hires or independent contractors. Blogs and other online content provide insight into what topics and specializations developers are skilled in. Most of this content also gives you a way to reach out to the content creator.

You can sometimes follow up via email or through a professional social media platform (e.g., LinkedIn). By looking at developers’ profiles, you might gain more information on whether they’re currently freelancing or open to work. Even if a profile doesn’t list these details, you can send a brief message and possibly schedule a video call. During the call, introduce and describe your opportunity, allowing time for the developer to talk about their background and interests.

A way to find content and conversations on social media platforms is by searching for relevant hashtags. You may find developers who are engaged in learning about specific technologies and coding practices.

Some of them might not be open to new work, but you’ll discover who’s participating in conversations with thought leaders. This can help you focus on potential candidates interested in professional development and acquire contacts with others in your industry. These contacts could eventually lead to future recruits.


Sourcing qualified IT professionals, including software developers, is a challenge in many global economies. In the U.S., the number of QA analyst, developer, and tester roles is expected to grow by 22% through 2030. Securing skilled candidates will not only require competitive compensation, but also creative recruiting strategies. Hiring remote workers, leveraging referrals, and using behind-the-scenes digital tactics can help you come out on top.

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