The Great Resignation is terrifying for employers, but it provides an opportunity as well. By making a few key changes to your recruiting process and employee amenities, you can capitalize on top tier talent who are in the job market. With people having so many employment options available, it's surprising that recruiters are using the same old tricks. In these unprecedented times, here are some helpful hints to secure technical talent.

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Not including salary range risks wasting everyone's time and potentially stops candidates from applying altogether. While recruiters and job posters may want to hold this salary information back as a negotiation technique, a lot of engineers won't even apply for a role if it doesn't have a salary range. Why is that? Software Engineering interview cycles are long and arduous. Can you imagine applying for a single role where you complete 5 or more interviews, only to be offered a salary that's 30k below your target compensation? Some states, like Colorado, have even put legislature in place that requires the inclusion of salary in job postings. Per the Labor and Employment Law Blog:

Requiring employers to disclose hourly or salary compensation and benefits for each posting or job opening; and Requiring employers to keep records of job descriptions and wage rate history for its employees.
money money money money
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

I am often contacted by recruiters because I've worked in niche software stacks. They all tend to have the same generic job postings and ask if I'm interested. When I was younger and much more naรฏve, I would have multiple calls with the recruiter and their "account executive," all to find out the highest rate they could offer was half my going rate. Nowadays, the first thing I tell recruiters is my rate and I ask if they can meet it. If they can't, we part ways without putting a lot of time into the process.

Make it easy for your applicants to apply

If you've ever applied to a job online, this next issue may resonate with you. Job sites often make you upload your resume and then ask you to enter in your job history, which is both redundant and time-consuming. There may be other cumbersome components to the application process that you aren't aware of. An easy way to fix this is to have people in your company test out the application process and then survey them to ask about ease of use.

Even LeBron know this is nonsense

Let your candidates know the interview process up front

This one is very straightforward. Talk candidates through the steps of the interview process as early in the relationship as possible. Share who they can expect to talk to โ€“ e.g., titles and/or names โ€“ and the expected timeline for the decision to be made. If your process is 10 video calls with 3 being coding tests, let them know this. If there's a required on-site (and I really hope there isn't), let them know that. Be upfront, honest, and earnest, and your organization will be rewarded.

two people interviewing at a table
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Work with your team to find out what amenities are meaningful

This is especially applicable during COVID-19, but is also relevant to any virtual-first working environment or role. Gone are the days when having beer on tap and a ping pong table were enough to grab the hottest talent. You have to give people things they actually want, and support your workforce in the way they're working now. Here are some ideas of things new employees love seeing.

WFH stipend

When you have a remote workforce, not everyone will start off with a perfect work environment and be ready to take on the world. A work from home stipend is important to ensure new employees are able to get their workspace in tip top shape, as well as giving them the warm and fuzzies. Nothing says "we appreciate and want you to be here" more than your new job giving you cash to set your workspace up.

Woman working from home
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Mental and physical health stipends

One result of the pandemic is everyone has a renewed sense of the importance of mental and physical well-being. It's very hard to get a new therapist or psychologist now due to high demand, so one way companies are helping is by giving their employees subscriptions to apps like Talkspace or BetterHelp. It really puts your offer letter above the rest when you offer meaningful perks like this along with another classic โ€“ gym reimbursements โ€“ and lets your candidates know you see them as people and want to support them through their lives.

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Actually useful education stipends

A lot of "old guard" companies will offer tuition reimbursements from accredited institutions โ€“ and those are great โ€“ but for developers, they may not see that as being of value. Some popular things people could use alternative education credits for are technical conferences, Pluralsight access, or the ability to pay for online technical classes. Expanding the use cases for education stipends offers engineers and other technical professionals more targeted information to help them gain greater understanding in their craft.

Unlimited vacation, defined

The hot thing in startups and other hip companies is to offer unlimited vacation. They do this for two reasons: First, they KNOW you'll take less time off with an unlimited vacation policy versus a limited time off policy. According to Fast Company:

Employees often take fewer vacation days if their company has an unlimited policy, since thereโ€™s no framework for how many days they canโ€”or shouldโ€”take off.

Second, when a company has an unlimited vacation policy, it means they don't have to pay you on any accrued vacation time. This is money the would otherwise have to be kept on hand to pay out when that employee departs. Kenney & Sams, P.C. says:

Employers are relieved from the administrative burden of tracking accrued vacation days and time away from the office, which in turn reduces administrative costs. An unlimited vacation policy also prevents the accrual of vacation time that is payable upon termination of employment, a significant cost-saving strategy.

Instead of strictly advertising an unlimited vacation policy, also advertise the minimum time you want your employees to take for vacation. Buffer clearly and publicly posts their vacation policy and it says they expect their candidates to take a minimum amount of vacation. This is very powerful! It gives the candidate a chance to plan the rest of their life without having to beg for the scraps of their time back.

While these are all ideas to get you started, you need to speak with your teams to find out why they stick around and what would make them recommend your organization. Every team has custom perks, and it's important to know what yours are.

Bonus tip!

If you have a job posting and it says the word "opportunity" over and over, applicants will roll their eyes. Don't try so hard to sell the job or fall prey to startup-y lingo targeting "ninjas" and "gurus." For developers, especially, not all of them are looking for buzzwords or the coolest new technologies. Just say what the role is, indicate the range of how much you can actually pay, and share high-value benefits.

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