Hiring IT professionals is a lifeblood of every software house. Here's how we used employer branding for recruiting the best developers. Running a software development company, we needed to learn how to attract the most skilled developers.The problem was:Recruiting programmers is tough, as the demand for them is growing. 8 of the top 25 job openings last year were tech positions, according to Glassdoor. On top of that, it takes 52 days on average to fill in an open position.

candidate driven market

Source: Glassdoor

Considering the shortage of developers and the cost of acquiring them, we had to do our best to put ourselves in front of them.Our solution:Become a company that people are willing to apply to, like to work at, and recommend to their peers.Read on to find out how we made it happen.

Hiring IT Professionals: Incorporate employer branding into your company’s culture

To really succeed at it, a company needs to incorporate employer branding into their culture, not just use it as a recruitment strategy.Here’s why:

People can always tell if we fake something.

Using it only as a strategy could help us to find software developers and make our company interesting enough for them to apply to the position.But if we wouldn’t be true about it in everyday-work-life, they would feel that we’re not serious about it.The majority of today's programmers are Millennials, who truly believe in finding a workplace that shares their values.We also wanted our employer branding strategy to fit our core values, which are:

  • teamwork
  • dedication to innovation
  • customer understanding
  • constant improvement
  • knowledge sharing

That’s why when we were developing employer branding strategies we might use at our company, we wanted them to fit our culture and the way we work.

Be Unique At What Everybody Does

The problem with employer branding in IT is that everybody makes every effort to attract the best employees.If you are a job-seeking IT professional, you have probably seen lots of job offers listing sports cards, healthcare insurance options, free parking lots, snacks, game rooms, and – yeah, that’s a real-life example: delicious coffee.There’s just one catch with these perks: they are so common that they became an industry standard.These days even if a company is not really into things like that, it has to have these perks. And, you might have guessed it, we have them too.But to really – we mean REALLY – stand out from the crowd among other software development companies, we had to think about something unique.Here’s what we’ve incorporated:

1. Internal crowdfunding platform

To support our employees’ ideas, we’ve created an internal crowdfunding platform, which we call a Wishlist.This idea got us an EB Kreator award for the best internal employer branding campaign in 2016.

employer branding award
The EB Kreator statue for the best internal employer branding campaign in 2016.

We have set the wishlist on Confluence, where every employee can access it, submit their idea and vote for the other ones. Every month everyone has the exact, renewable budget they can dedicate to chosen project. If it was accepted and receives the amount of votes needed to purchase it, then we fund it.Does it work? Absolutely!70% of Apptension employees take part in it every month. So far we have sponsored 42 out of 54 ideas, including buying a 3D printer, a PlayStation, and some board games. We’ve also visited an escape room and had a few great parties.The wishlist gives our employees a chance to express what they want, and then to actually get it (if this idea is good enough to convince others to support it). Thanks to the wisthlist the team feels that they have an impact on the company’s life, and are actually more engaged at work.For us, as the company, whislist builds our brand and gives us recognition amongst the IT professionals, making it easier for us to reach out to them.

2. Mentoring program

Every month our developers dedicate some time to learn from each other. We’ve divided our team into different mentoring groups based on their expertise. Within each group, every person becomes a mentor once in a while, and share what they have learned.It might be a presentation or a workshop. The point is to introduce other co-workers to new tools and technologies.Additionally, we run a series of mentoring workshops called DevTalks lead by our frontend developers. These are the presentation-based meetings, where they learn from one another about the latest libraries, frameworks, or architectures.

3. Co-financing trainings and conferences

We believe that constant learning gives us the best chance to stay on the bleeding edge of technology.That’s why we offer our employees annual budgets they can spend on trainings or conferences.Last year our developers took part in PyConPl’16 conference, a meeting for Python programmers , backed by the Polish Group of Linux Users.The conference was an opportunity for them to meet other developers with alike mindset, listen to the professionals, exchange ideas and share their experiences.

apptension developers
Apptension developers at PyConPl’16 conference.

4. Straightforward career page

On our company’s career page we’ve cut the fluff out, leaving only the information necessary for the potential employees.We described our core values, implemented a feed of our Instagram pics, and provided a full overview of our hiring process.As a bonus, we created “A Guide to Apptension” ebook, in which we described the company’s history, core values, culture, and goals.

apptension welcome ebook

Feel free to read our ebook, no email required.

We believe that having read the page, a candidate knows better who we are, what we do, and what to expect from us after sending their CV.

5.  Unique job offer

When it comes to creating compelling job offers, we really needed to do our best.You have probably seen lots of companies looking for a “Frontend Hero” or a “Development Rockstar”.We did exactly the opposite, we’ve clearly stated that we don’t want to hire ninjas, superheroes or astronauts, but skilled programmers.So we made it clear in the animation accompanying our job offer:

apptension job offer

We’ve been honest with our target audience, and it worked.

It is simple, with a clear message, yet funny and engaging.We’ve got a lot of likes, shares, and positive comments on that offer, which helped us getting better organic exposure on  social media.

Join Apptension

As you can see, at Apptension we want our employees to really feel like they are a part of the company.Our mentoring programme, co-financing of trainings and conferences, internal crowdfunding platform for sponsoring employees’ ideas – these are our ideas to make our workplace happier and stimulating constant growth.We believe in our core values, and so do software developers, QA specialists, project managers, and creatives that we hire - because they see that it is not just an internal strategy.
It’s what we do.
Do you want to be a part of it? Check our open positions and feel free to send us your CV!