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How to Write a Great Developer Job Listing

Unfortunately, most developer job ads are written in a way that makes the best candidates fairly unlikely to respond to them, even if they are a good match for the job. The goal of your job ad isn't just to attract applicants, it's to attract the right applicants and it turns out that there are certain things you can do to attract the right applicants (and other things that will drive them away).

Leave the laundry list at home

If a job ad includes a seemingly impossible list of skills as "must haves", you're going to turn away many qualified candidates - very few will actually have that precise combination of skills, so they simply will not apply.
Unfortunately, there's no such thing as the perfect candidate pre-packaged with all the necessary skills - you should just be prepared to slide some more of those "must have" items into your "nice-to-have" list!
Rather than searching for a developer who has an exhaustive list of skills, it's much better to find someone with the intelligence and versatility to learn any tech that comes along - even if it's moving faster than the babysitter’s boyfriend when the car pulls up.

Money, money, money

Salary may not be the be-all, end-all for developers, but it's still pretty important. 75% of programmers say salary is the first thing they look for in a job description and 60% say a higher salary is the main reason they’d change jobs.
So, why don't all job adverts include salary information?
Let's face it, the real reason job adverts exclude salary information is because companies know once developers see the number, they'll be like "nah, I don't think so!" and move on to the next advert. That or they don't want their existing developers to know what they're offering their new hires. Neither are good.
Sure, start-ups and smaller companies may not be able to dish out tech salaries as big as the larger companies, but there are plenty of other perks and benefits that don't involve pound signs like flexible work hours, better work-life balance, more responsibility, more input in the company's direction.....
Just be upfront about the salary.
Providing an approximate salary range in the job ad ensures that no one’s time will be wasted and encourages candidates to apply.

Offer Developers What They Want

When it comes to choosing between one job and another with similar salaries, it's all about the quality of life: work-life balance, flexibility, being productive, and growth opportunities.
It turns out developers aren't that different from the rest of us after all! They want the same things - to feel respected and appreciated, to have interesting projects to work on and learn from and to be able to work flexible hours. If you can offer these things make sure your ad says so.
If you offer a job that doesn't feel like a ticket to soul-sucking corporate doom; if you can show that you offer a developer-first culture - you'll definitely draw in some of the most passionate candidates.

Avoid the disingenuous descriptors

Don't waste your time and the time of potential hires by using buzzwords and jargon in your job ad. "Dynamic/fast-paced environment" is just a nice way of saying "stressful," and being a "team-player" and "detail-orientated" is expected for almost every job. Don't even get me started on the nonsense terms such as "ninja," "rockstar," and "guru" - these don't show that you're fun and cool!
Skip the fluff and bullshit descriptors and get straight to the point.  Nobody's got time to read a War and Peace-length job posting. TL;DR. Studies show that people can only handle 45 seconds of reading the description, so keep it short and sweet!.
Clear, to the point descriptions of your company and the work the candidate will be doing are good, copying your entire company policy documents, not so much.

Be Real

Don't try to pull the wool over developers' eyes - they can smell BS from miles away and they hate it if the job description isn't accurate. So don't give them a load of hogwash about your fabulous learning programme when all you offer is a measly book budget, or claim you're a chilled-out work place when the manager is known for their micro-managing and controlling tendencies, who expects regular after-hours working. Trust us, you'll be re-advertising for replacements faster than you can say "whoops"! That or they'll become a quiet quitter. You don't want either.
If you have a great culture, list it. If you don’t, create one, then list it.
Annie Garland

Written by

Annie Garland

Co-Founder & Finance Director here at Lunem