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5 ways how to attract (and retain) IT professionals

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

There is a common joke among developers that there is no talent shortage, just a lack of places where they want to work.

It is no secret that developers and other IT specialists are in high demand these days. However, there is also a talent shortage in this field. That brings many HR professionals and company managers to a certain question: how to attract these specialists in this competitive job market? Let’s start with the obvious. Ping-pong tables and kegs of beer will not get you the top talents if you pay a too low salary. On the other hand, once you catch the candidates’ interest, their focus often shifts to offers that are not directly related to money. So in this blog, we would like to share our experience of looking for IT professionals all over Europe and its neighboring countries and talk about 5 things that are highly valued by a lot of them.

Offer a meaningful and interesting career challenge

A lot of IT professionals are driven by exciting and meaningful technical work. That especially holds true regarding mid-level and senior specialists. We understand that not every company sends rockets to Mars, but there are ways to highlight your products in a special way to get developers excited. If there is a technical challenge, even the insurance industry may look interesting in the eyes of developers. Offer responsibility and most important: a challenging and engaging project to work on. Ask your developers for help creating IT job advertisements or even let them shoot an employment ad video.

Provide opportunities for further education

Technology is changing faster than ever. Our experience shows that most IT professionals ask for education opportunities in the company. Junior specialists are usually interested in a quality team mentor. Seniors ask about conferences. Training sessions, interesting work, tickets to conferences or reimbursement for courses may have a great impact, too. If free snacks and “beer & gaming nights” are almost seen as standard nowadays, a generous educational budget or an in-house academy is a different league. This could be not only a way to attract those who are eager to learn more but also a way to show potential employees: we want you to grow and we want you to stay with us! Remember, that can only be a plus for your company, as continued learning enables developers to do their jobs better and faster. As a result, your company will reap all the benefits.

Widen your talent pool

No matter if you live in Germany or Iceland, you are highly limited by your local talent pool. On top of that, it is often simply too small to close all vacancies. Hiring internationally gives you access to a higher number of IT professionals and you are able to hire purely on the basis of talent. One option is to handle remote workers, another is relocation. Relocated employees are less likely to quit unexpected and their intercultural competence and knowledge could even help your business to grow. Recent studies show that if you can afford relocation, hiring internationally is worth it. Some of the benefits are increased team performance by roughly 30% and better opportunities to tap into new markets.

Build your employment brand around developers

We are familiar with the benefits of a strong employer brand that goes a long way to cut hiring costs, reduce turnover and makes the whole process from start to finish two times faster. Where to start when you want to build your brand around developers? A good starting point would be your internal recruiting tools like drafting appealing job descriptions (clear job description is essential) and designing an attractive career page. Most important is to create compelling content that will be shared on social media. If a talent starts following you and familiarizes with your brand, you are on the right track. Did you know that 70 percent of the people who follow a company in LinkedIn would be willing to consider working for that company?

Organizing hackathons is another tool for creating an attractive brand for IT professionals. You will be associated with doing the interesting technical stuff and that is an outstanding feature. If you hire not only locally but internationally, it makes sense to organize an online hackathon. Keep in mind to select an appropriate theme and to target a particular audience. If you are not too much into organizing hackathons, you could consider sponsoring one.

Show that you care and trust your employees

There are different ways to show your employees that you care. We will indicate just a few that are often referred to as important for IT professionals. Developers often ask for a future team lead with technical background, because they prefer to work for and with somebody who is able to understand the technical nuances of their particular work. The size of a team is equally important, as people usually prefer to work in smaller units (not more than 10). Flexible working hours and the opportunity to work sometimes from home are often appreciated as well. This does not only contributes to a better work-life balance but also shows that the company trusts the employees and gives them appropriate space. When it comes to the working environment, developers often prefer bright and comfortable workspaces. Needless to say that ergonomic chairs are important as well, as most office workers spend the largest part of their working time in a sitting position. Free meals and team building exercises as team evenings and company trips are also great selling points. We have heard nothing but positive feedback both from employers and employees about “team workcation”. A team is going together on vacation, spending half of the day, well, working. This may boost the team spirit and can raise the productivity level. It sounds surprising, but some teams seem to manage even more on a joint workcation than during a regular working day at the office!

To sum up, top developers have of course numerous options, but they are likely to consider more than just the salary when thinking about their next career step. Your company needs to be attractive in order to be competitive. So the good news is that you do not necessarily need piles of money as Apple or Facebook to attract highly qualified IT professionals. Let’s get started!


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