Your job description should have iOS developers swarming for your opening. Instead, you hear crickets. At best you get a few nibbles, but none of the candidates match your needs. Why?
The truth is,
Your job description probably looks just like all the other iOS developer job descriptions. You followed the industry standard, so developers find it tedious. Bland. A cliche. Developers have higher aspirations.
Fact: your Job description is a marketing tool. You must write them to entice qualified developers to apply. Your job post should pull in skilled developers as a black hole pulls in stars.
Consider how marketing works in other fields. Can you visualize the breakfast cereal aisle at the supermarket? Imagine those shelves of brightly colored boxes.
I wager you don't visualize any ingredients lists. Cereals are made mainly from the same stuff, and they're hidden on the side, so you're not bored. An occasional box front mentions oddities like fish oil, or flax, or quinoa. Perhaps extra raisins. These few ingredients appear because they differentiate the product. In the world of cereal, fish is a surprising ingredient. Surprise draws attention and differentiates a product.
The fronts of cereal boxes are devoted to explaining how they differ from their neighbors on the shelf. Have you imagined photos of free toys? Colorful cartoon creatures? Weird ingredients?
So why do your job descriptions look like ingredients lists instead of box fronts?
The tricky thing is,
You can't copy your competition when you write your job description. The same forces that work on cereal work on your attempts to recruit an iOS developer. Most iOS developer jobs look like commodities. Unless you can differentiate yourself through sales and marketing efforts, you might as well be a purple box of Acme Raisin Bran.
You can hide your job among the other purple boxes, and maybe someone will apply to your position by accident. Or you can emphasize how your role is different.
Here's the thing:
You're the commodity, not the iOS developer you're trying to recruit. Talented iOS developers are valuable assets; employers compete for them. Good developers are scarce.
If you want attention from the best developers, you can't look like a box of raisin bran hiding timidly among the other boxes of cereal. You need a vivid box advertising an exciting free toy inside. Even better, shun the raisin bran and become a different breakfast food.
Even if you have the perks,
Perks add raisins to your cereal, not chocolate or charismatic sea captains. Perks like free soda, espresso machines, and protein bars won't make you stand out. Once those perks were rarely offered. Now they're common -- table stakes for a tech employer.
Even pricey offices have lost their gleam; Facebook has a nature reserve on their roof. Apple's campus looks so striking they sell T-shirts with its silhouette. Google's office park has a corporate bike infestation. You'll have trouble standing out with a fancy work environment.
The fact is,
To attract the attention of a good mobile developer, you need to set yourself apart materially. Your job description should reflect a different way of thinking, not just adding superlatives.
Having 32 different kinds of free soda isn't different than having free drinks. Offering free lunch and dinner rather than just lunch is nice, but will someone apply to your job for that detail? Probably not. Neither communicates much about your culture -- except perhaps that you expect employees won't eat dinner with their loved ones.
To attract more developers and higher quality ones, you need differences that tell a story. Requiring that all employees take off at least five days a quarter, or not allowing your employees to work more than 8 hours a day tells a story. Blocking off meeting-free time for employees tells a story, and so does requiring employees to pursue continuing education through classes, books, or conferences.
Disclosing a significantly above-average salary or sign-on bonus in your job description also says something about how you treat people.
You already know what people want from their jobs. They want you to show them respect, give them autonomy, and for you to value their contributions. The average job treats people like commodities, and you can see it in their job postings.
Consider what the generic raisin bran job post looks like to the candidate:
Your regular job posting communicates lots of arbitrary constraints. It looks like every other job post to a job-seeking iOS developer. Why not break a few so that your job posting stands out?
Do these ideas make you feel uncomfortable? They shouldn't, because they aren't that creative. They're not in every job post -- and that's the point -- but you will find companies that offer those benefits.
Hiring managers, I'm sure, cringe at the idea of remote work. Facilities managers cringe at the thought of offices with closing doors. HR professionals cringe at the idea of disclosing compensation in a job posting.
Those are all commodity reactions. A free toy? In Raisin Bran? We're a professional cereal!
These attitudes make you look weak,
Only commodities can't afford creativity.
Take the compensation question. Why don't you share a compensation range? Do you expect to hire a talented iOS developer at a huge discount? Is the potential for negotiating ten thousand dollars a year worth missing out on applications?
Perhaps you're afraid that you won't get any applicants with your desired compensation. Why not take a risk. Better to learn that your salary is too low before you've wasted time interviewing candidates.
Think too of all the people who aren't a good fit for a regular job. Many talented iOS developers would rather not spend their life in a conventional desk farm. Some of them for a good reason can't take those standard jobs. You can serve these people and add valuable team members by differentiating your job offering.
Lastly, not all of these ideas require a sacrifice. Your hiring manager might feel reluctant asking for a testimonial to put in the job listing, but it costs nothing. Showing photos of the team and workspace is also cheap. If those ideas worry you, perhaps you should contemplate the implications.
Here is a simple outline for making a job description that stands out.
I picked this order of items for a specific reason: they go from the most considerable developer interest to least developer interest. Compensation is of high importance. Your agile philosophy and corporate mission are usually least informative to developers when trying to pick a job to apply to.
One exception to this rule: if your corporate mission fulfills a universal human need, it might belong closer to the top of your job description. For instance, if your company wants to make clean water available to a higher percentage of earthlings, many developers may feel inspired. If your mission has phrases like "industry-leading," or "best-in-class," you can safely leave it at the bottom of your job posting.
Job requirements are an area where you might accidentally reject talented developers for your pool of applicants. A larger number of job requirements don't necessarily make your job description better than if it contained just two or three items.
Is not better than:
In fact, the shorter list of requirements is better because it doesn't repel folks who don't have Android experience. You shouldn't add any job requirements to your job description that aren't required. If a developer does not have Android experience, the "nice to have" may discourage them from applying. Why, they might figure, waste their time when surely some candidate will have Android experience?
Your audience doesn't want to waste their time,
The developer reading your job requirements either does or does not meet them. Few will rank your job higher because you include a "nice to have" need. Some will even list your job lower because your broad requirements foreshadow a lack of appreciation for expertise.
As you write your job requirements, imagine that a genius who worked on a top-ranked app at a famous company applied to your job. Would you still interview them if they didn't have a specific skill? If you would talk to a genius without particular skills, delete the skills from your requirements.
Along the same lines, remove any job requirements that you're not going to screen for. If you require Android experience, you had better ask related interview questions. If not, you'll look disorganized at best, and incompetent at the worst. Top talent will judge you on the quality of your interviews.
Finally, resist adding "nice to have" skills to your job requirements. Either you need some ability, credential, or experience level, or you don't. Allow a larger candidate pool by keeping your requirements to the minimum you need. If you honestly have too many applicants who match the job, then narrow your post by adding a necessity, not a nebulous "nice to have."
You should take inclusion and diversity seriously. "Anti-discrimination boilerplate" lands last on the list of items not for lack of importance, but because a boilerplate commitment is weak. Weak commitments specify what you will not do. They're passive and add no effort.
Firm commitments focus on action. If you promise to interview at least one black woman (or other tech minority) for this position, you should write that at the top of your job description. If you commit to blind interviews and resume screens, write it in bold. That will stand out!
If you have a one-sentence commitment not to discriminate based on X, Y, and Z, you signed up for the very minimum passive D&I. You get a C- grade. Every employer should be held to that standard whether they write it in their job description or not. There is no reason to include it higher because it tells developers nothing about your company that the average company doesn't have.
Once you have the job description, take the time to post in on job boards that cater to iOS developers. Post it on social media. Add a note to your tech blog. Ask your developers if they would be willing to spread the word.
Posting a job to LinkedIn or Indeed is fine too. Just keep in mind that the generic job boards aren't part of the iOS developer community. If you want to find the best iOS developers, your best bet is to post your job where iOS developers already visit.