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A Negative Hiring Experience Costs You Coding Developers: Here’s What They Want

A young female sitting at her laptop she is developing code.

The majority of coding developers have discontinued the hiring process after a negative experience. Essentially, if you don’t want to lose top candidates to your hiring process, you need to level up your candidate experience. We’ve asked coding developers what they appreciate in a hiring process, so you know what to look for.

Your candidate experience can make or break a successful hire

The tech hiring market has cooled down from its record highs in late 2021 and early 2022, but demand for software developers still vastly outstrips supply.

In this competitive environment, coding developers have their pick of global roles and matching market-related salaries is no longer enough to win at hiring developers.

30% of software developers in South Africa and the Netherlands are looking to change roles in 2022. To attract the best of this tech talent, you have to stand out through a great overall package of great benefitsleadership and company culture.

45% of developers use your hiring process to assess your company culture – and they will drop out if their interviewing experience is negative.

A poor candidate experience could cost you the best people in your pipeline:

The majority of software developers in both South Africa and the Netherlands have discontinued with a hiring process after a negative experience.

The data also shows that developers’ experiences have gotten worse since 2021. In this hiring environment that can mean losing the best people in your pipeline to something that is entirely within your control, and this makes your candidate experience more important than ever.

A poor candidate experience can also cost you great developers in future:

It’s hard enough losing candidates to your hiring process, but giving developers a negative experience also makes it harder to attract new candidates in future.

Word of mouth is an important way developers decide if you’re the type of company they want to work for. That’s why you need to ensure that every candidate has the best possible experience with your process even if they’re not successful.

We asked developers what they dislike and appreciate about a hiring process so that you know what to look out for.

Developers want process transparency

One of the most impactful ways to level up your candidate process is also one of the simplest: Take the time to tell candidates what they can expect from your whole hiring process.

In fact, process transparency is developers’ most appreciated part of a hiring process in both South Africa and the Netherlands.

Be upfront about what your hiring process involves and how long each stage should take. This gives them an indication of what they’ll need to invest in your process and how much time they should set aside for technical assignments and interview rounds.

This is especially important for more experienced candidates who are more likely to have children or other commitments to plan around.

If someone chooses to discontinue your process after hearing about the steps involved, it helps you filter out developers who might be less than fully committed to your process and company.

A good place to lay out your process is in your first interaction with a candidate. At OfferZen, this is our screening interview, where we explain our process to the candidates.

Be upfront about the salary and set clear expectations to save time

Conversations around salary are not always easy, but they’re an unavoidable part of a hiring process. Developers rate salary transparency as their second-most appreciated factor in a hiring process.

In many cases, conversations around salary usually take place towards the end of a hiring process when you’ve found the candidate you want for a role. However, if your salary offer is too low or the candidate’s expectation is too high and there’s no room for negotiation, this can lead to a negative hiring experience. This is especially true if a candidate has already invested time and effort to get this far.

Being upfront early in your process minimises the risks of a negative experience later on. A candidate can decide if they’re happy with the salary range before they’ve become invested in your process. If not, they’re able to pursue other opportunities elsewhere.

That means that the people who remain in your pipeline know what you’re able to pay and don’t feel like they’re being lowballed later on, another hiring process red flag. You also benefit from knowing that the candidates who remain in your pipeline are within your role budget.

Candidates expect solid feedback loops after a technical assignment

Lastly, winning at hiring developers requires a process where all candidates receive feedback after a technical assignment. Not providing it is sure to cost you candidates:

Not receiving feedback after a technical assessment is a major hiring process red flag for developers in South Africa and the Netherlands.

Developers use this feedback to understand how they might improve their coding skills.

On the other hand, providing useful feedback to everyone in your pipeline is a massive boost for your process and candidate experience. That’s because it demonstrates that your company values the time and energy they have committed to the process of potentially joining your team.

This is especially important if they were unsuccessful, as this ensures that you’re not losing future candidates to poor reviews from word of mouth.

In summary

Investing in your candidate experience not only sets you up to win at hiring now, it also sets you up to attract top talent in future. A great candidate experience starts with you being upfront about what your process involves and what salary you’re offering. On top of that, providing candidates with useful feedback after a technical assessment is a crucial part of providing a developer-centred process.

Keep in mind

Data used in this article is taken from OfferZen’s 2022 State of the Software Developer Nation Report2022 Netherlands report: State of the Software Developer Nation2022 Data Report: Software Engineering Hiring Trends in South Africa and 2022 Netherlands Software Engineering Hiring Report unless referenced otherwise.


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