Don’t settle for subpar talent and poor project outcomes. As the demand for skilled developers continues to rise, many organizations struggle to attract and retain experienced developers. Here’s what to do when trying to hire the best developers for your business.

Pay peanuts, get monkeys

"If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" is a common saying that highlights the importance of investing in quality resources to achieve the desired results. This phrase is especially true in the tech industry where the quality of the workforce directly impacts the success of a project.

However, a limited budget doesn’t mean you can’t hire a good developer. You may still be able to find someone who can solve your problem, but perhaps not as a full-time employee.

If you have, let’s say, €4000/month to spend in total, you might want to consider bringing in a freelancer for €500/day twice a week instead of hiring a junior full-time for €3000/month gross salary.

Experienced developers are often freelancers

Some companies still believe that full-time, permanent employment is the only way to go. If you do, you may miss out on some great talent.

Many experienced developers choose to work as freelancers or contractors instead of being tied down to a single company. Freelancing provides them with the flexibility to work on multiple projects, choose their work hours, and negotiate their rates.

This freedom also allows them to maintain a healthy work-life balance while still earning a handsome income. Therefore, freelancers are often easier to find than employees.

During a current headhunting campaign, I received 4 times more freelancers applications than potential full-time employees.

Good luck with finding onsite talent!

Another way to increase the challenge of finding suitable talent is to require your team to work onsite. This will automatically restrict your search (and talent pool) to the local area.

One reason why remote work is on the rise is simple math. By increasing the search radius, companies can significantly expand the pool of potential candidates.

For example, if a company only searches for talent within a 10 km radius (for example, by requiring a presence in the office each day), they are limiting their search to a circle with a surface area of 314.16 km².

By increasing the search radius to 50 km (for example by requiring only 1 day in the office per week), the surface area of the circle already increases to 7,853.98 km², about 25 times the size of the initial search area.

Now imagine stretching it to all time zones within the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa)!

5-legged sheep don’t exist

The list of requirements in some job descriptions reads like a wishlist sent to Santa Claus. But just like Santa Claus or a 5-legged sheep, candidates who tick 15 boxes on the list do not exist.

Many skills can be easily learned based on existing knowledge (a Symfony developer will easily learn Laravel). However, some requirements simply don’t transfer!

Finding a system architect who can also handle people management may prove very difficult. System architects are responsible for designing and implementing complex software systems and their expertise is critical to the success of a project. However, not all system architects are cut out for people management, which requires a very different set of skills.

In such a case, it can make sense to review the roles and responsibilities of the new hire. Perhaps there are people on your existing team who can perform part of the job?

Have it all

Before compromising on quality, you should explore other possibilities, such as remote, freelance, and part-time agreements. Acknowledge that not all skill sets are compatible and a perfect candidate might not exist.

Finally, focusing on the core requirements is essential to find the right person for the right job. And if you have trouble, we’re always here to help.

Also listen to our podcast with Simone talking about hiring