Like most small companies we have trouble @MyDrive in attracting the best engineering staff when we’re recruiting. We’re not Google or Apple, with a huge global presence, most developers have probably never heard of us. The current job market for developers is really competitive, there aren’t that many great developers out there, most of them are already in work and everyone is competing for them.

We’ve recently been recruiting for an iOS developer role, to lead the development of our telematics apps. I think it’s actually a really interesting, fun role, which will involve lots of really quite difficult tasks, really stretching the technology.

Our challenge is to make sure that we can get that across in our job adverts.

Our process includes a couple of coding tests. One of which candidates can do on their own at home, and a much smaller one which we do in house, just to verify what we’ve seen on the external test.

A few candidates have responded and taken the test and it gives a good view of where someone is in their development. It also gives you a real example to discuss with a candidate about why they made certain decisions, what their thought processes were, and what they’d do differently next time. We haven’t found the right person yet, but it’s been really worthwhile.

Some recruiters have told us that people are put off from applying because there is a more challenging process including a test, and hopefully that’s just filtering out people who aren’t suitable for the role, but we could be putting off some candidates who really would be great because we’ve increased the barrier to apply.

All of this caused us to review our job descriptions. We quickly realised that just tweaking wording maybe wasn’t radical enough. There was also a feeling that one of the best things about working at @MyDrive is the working culture which wasn’t well reflected in the job descriptions.

We have a lot of good developers, what would we want to see in a job advert? How do we get across what a good place it is to work?

We had a small brainstorming session, splitting things into two sections:

  1. What we will do for the candidate?
  2. What they will do for us?

Categories

We got two great lists, and decided to vote on which of the things we’d got on our list were the most important, so we could focus on those in our adverts.

Results

The biggest winner was about the Remote Working policy, which is really interesting. I think this reflects the way people want to work these days. Remote working is subject to management approval, but generally it’s an extremely accommodating culture there is understanding at MyDrive that some remote working is beneficial, both to individuals and to the company, and the tools are in place to make remote working easy.

Three of the next most popular with 4/5 votes each were related to learning and personal development, which I think again is a reflection on the kind of developers we want to attract. We want passionate enthusiasts with opinions about what we should be doing now, and in a few years.

If you are an iOS developer and this sounds good, please get in touch. The test is on our github if you fancy having a go. It’s an interesting problem which you can actually tackle in any language.

We’re also constantly on the look out for good developers, in production we primarily have Ruby but we definitely believe that Software Engineering is a skill, great developers know and learn other languages quickly. So please get in touch.

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Mike – @mheffera on Twitter