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Published On: Wed, Nov 29th, 2017

Ask a Developer: Which Employer Branding Mistakes Do You See Most Often?

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Your employer branding strategy can be the difference between hiring the developers you need and losing them to your competition. But acknowledging the importance of your employer brand isn’t enough to land on the positive side of that equation.

Even though developers have been outspoken about what gets their attention, there are a few common mistakes in employer branding content that they still see far too often. We reached out to a few technology professionals to find out which errors they’re tired of seeing. Read on to discover what they had to say.

Companies Put Too Much Emphasis on a “Fun” Work Culture

You’d think that most developers are looking for a fun place to work, and that’s true to some extent. But Ben Thompson, co-founder of GitPrime, tells us that companies often tie their brand too closely to the amount of fun that candidates should expect to have.

“Focusing your employer brand around the time they’ll spend playing foosball or at happy hours is a recipe for disaster,” Thompson adds. “When you do that, you’ve set distorted expectations and increased the disconnect between why candidates apply and what you’re ultimately looking for.”

Thompson suggests that your employer brand should highlight the positive things about working for your company, even if that means missing out on some talented programmers. If you’re consistent about what you do and don’t do well, you’ll attract the types of candidates that you want.

Employers Under-Emphasize All of The Other Things That Matter to Developers

The point of employer branding is to show off what makes your company a great place for developers to work, right? The short answer is yes. But Michael Shao, a software developer with 5 years of experience, says that companies tend to underemphasize some of the most meaningful traits of a potential job opportunity.

“Most employers struggle with talking about the things that matter the most for a prospective candidate,” he continues. “To me, the most important things are a good work-life balance, career growth and progression, as well as interesting problems to solve.”

Sound familiar? Even though developers have been a broken record about what they look for in new jobs, it’s clear that you can still set yourself apart from the competition by highlighting these things in your employer branding content.

Companies Don’t Know How Their Current Developers Feel About Their Employer Brand

Your employer brand is a key piece of your entire tech recruitment strategy. It’s just as important when it comes to retaining your current developers. But all too often, companies try a little too hard to appeal to every developer on the planet. As a result, they end up turning off developers.

Aurelien Gasser, a developer here at Stack Overflow, says that there are two things you need to do to create a compelling employer brand. First, you need to understand what makes other companies attractive to developers. Once you’ve done your research, you need to find an authentic way to make your job opportunities look “cooler” than the rest.

The easiest way to find out if your messaging will resonate with developers? Gasser says, “Ask your current developers to review your messaging, and encourage them to be honest about whether or not it might turn another developer off.”

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