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How to Recruit on StackOverflow

Looking for a Hadoop specialist or Java developer with a particular problem in mind? Then the halls of StackOverflow are your goldmine.

It’s a community for developers and programmers that fall somewhere between a blog, an encyclopedia, and a forum, and is likely the best place to mine those hard to find specialists.

It is not however LinkedIn. Stack is first and foremost a community FOR solutions to problems and not for recruiters to spray out vague two-line job specs.

How to hook a developer

Developers are almost always passive candidates, which simply means they’re in such high demand that they’re rarely without a secure pipeline of work. With this in mind, they’re a little less likely to appreciate being hounded by recruiters with indirect messaging or jobs that aren’t going to be of specific interest to them.

There’s a dedicated careers page for recruiters to advertise and attract from the pot of almost 200,000 developers, but the communities of StackOverflow travel a lot deeper.

Be active in the Stack community and you’ll quickly see the candidates that know what they’re talking about and are worth poaching. Throw a particular scenario that’s particularly interesting and may feature in the role to the boards and see the most useful contributions.

Personalise your message so that you’re engaging with them in a one-to-one conversation and not reeling off a template for the role. Avoid tired recruitment messages about other roles you might have if this one doesn’t interest them.

Sell the work itself as this is likely to be what really captures their interest. Developers often cite the work itself as the biggest draw to a role. If you’re selling a position as flexible, exciting, or a once in a lifetime opportunity, then make sure you can substantiate that claim so that you don’t just sound like an empty sell. While developers are often at the higher end of the salary scale, passion can be a weighty incentive to developers.

Be transparent in what the culture of the company is, what the salary expectations are, and why you think they’d be interested in the role.

Make sure you toe the line when recruiting a developer as they’re far less accommodating to recruiters coming into their house and littering their walls or inbox with roles that aren’t relevant

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