How to Drive Away Top Developers: A Guide to Terrible Hiring Practices

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Written By Scott @ PythonDevs

Software Engineer and sustainability enthusiast, building and growing useful products. Born at 353 ppm CO₂

Are you tired of attracting top-notch developers to your company? Tired of having a team of talented individuals who drive innovation and growth? Well, have no fear, because, with these simple steps, you can be sure to miss out on the best developers in the market.

That’s right, you too can have a mediocre team that just gets by, just like the rest of the world. So sit back, relax, and follow these guidelines to ensure that you never have to deal with the headaches of having a successful engineering team again.

In no particular order, here are our top tips to ensure you only ever hire average and below-average developers.

1. Don’t include a salary range in your job posting

Why would you want to attract the best developers by enticing them with a fair or above-market rate salary? Instead, leave it up to the candidates to guess and let them assume you’re a cheap employer!

They can just ask in the interview anyway, right? Why on earth would they need to know upfront? It’s not like they’re going to be comparing you against other companies, because let’s face it – they’re probably desperate for a job, so you have the upper hand here! More importantly, you don’t want to hire someone who’s only “in it for the money”.

2. Don’t provide details on your interview process

Firstly, developers love long interview processes – especially ones with multiple technical stages! Keeping candidates in the dark about the interview process is a great way to weed out the ones who just aren’t “all in” in this process. Why should you tell them upfront about what they’re getting into? It shouldn’t matter to them if they’re passionate enough about your company. You want individuals who are dedicated.

3. Do include details of your seven-stage interview process

The more stages, the merrier! It’s not like top developers have busy schedules or anything. Let them know they’ll be jumping through hoops just to work for you! Again, like with the previous tip – this weeds out the candidates you really don’t want. Anyone who still applies to your ridiculously long interview process will likely do whatever it takes to get the job done. These types of developers just thrive on “crunch time” and tight deadlines.

4. Hide random instructions in your job description to catch applicants out

To add an extra layer of challenge, why not hide some random instructions in your job description, like asking candidates to include a certain word in the subject line of their application? This will surely weed out the developers who lack attention to detail. Besides, that’s exactly what you want to be testing them on – not nonsense like problem-solving ability.

You want to make sure your future employees can follow instructions and are willing to go the extra mile to prove their worth. Make sure the instructions are not in any way related to the job requirements or the application process – the purpose here is to catch them out and show that you have the upper hand in this process.

If candidates are short on time, either because they’re currently unemployed and busy with multiple applications and interviews, or currently employed, that’s not your problem. They should be organized enough to be able to give your application the attention it needs.

5. Mention job requirements and omit job benefits

Who needs to lure top developers with benefits and perks when you have a killer job description? Mentioning the salary and benefits would just be a waste of time and again, it’ll just attract the wrong type of candidates. You hold the cards here – not them. Give them as little info as possible initially, and then if they ask for more details in the interview, be vague. This is another step to separate the wheat from the chaff.

6. Mention “free snacks” and a bare minimum holiday/PTO allowance as your benefits

Developers don’t need fancy benefits like health insurance or a 401k, just give them a bag of chips and maybe some cheap coffee/beer if they’re lucky. The best developers just want to get work done whilst being adequately fuelled for free – and that’s what you’re providing.

As for PTO, keep this as low as possible. More days off mean less work done. If you pay attention to the previous points, you’ll hopefully attract talent who will always be available to you anyway – even when on PTO.

7. Don’t mention anything about your development process

Top developers don’t care about processes, they want to work in chaos and be challenged. Who needs good processes when you can just wing it and figure things out on the fly? The top startups are always fast-paced anyway.

It’s a huge mistake to reveal too much information about the development process in your company. Things like how you use Jira/Trello, how code is reviewed/deployed/tested, and how many meetings your company has on an average day will reveal a fair amount about how well-run your company is. It’s probably best not to mention any of these at the interview stage if your workflow is chaotic and things are often “on fire”. This information is frankly irrelevant, anyway. A great candidate should thrive in even the most inhospitable development environments.

If you follow all the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to building an amazingly mediocre engineering team, and will absolutely help with the success of your new AI/ML/NFT/Blockchain startup.

Note: Hopefully you enjoyed this obviously satirical article. If you’re serious about attracting top developers, make sure your hiring practices don’t resemble the ones described in this article!

P.S. If you’re looking for Python Developers specifically, or looking for work as a Python dev, start by creating a profile on PythonDevs today!

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