Hiring Developers Is Hard

My company is currently trying to hire a senior JavaScript developer. It’s been two months and so far we haven’t even interviewed a single candidate. We posted the job all over the internets but have only received a few responses, and none from qualified candidates. We have an internal recruiter spamming everyone he can find on LinkedIn, but haven’t gotten any bites (which is not at all shocking). Most of the developers on our team (myself included) have gone to local meetups and talked to other devs about this role, but they all loved their jobs and didn’t want to switch.

The job is (presumably) paying market rate. The office is in a great location in The Flatiron District. The team is super friendly. The tech stack is modern. The hours are reasonable. The snacks are incredible. There is even a financial incentive for employees to refer their friends. Yet not a single qualified candidate wants to talk to us. There has to be some JavaScript dev out there in a suboptimal job (bad pay, hours, management, etc) who can do the work, get along with the team, and would be better off taking this position than staying at their current one. But my company can’t even talk to these devs and make the case to them.

There are so many things wrong with hiring in general, and lots of people and startups are out there trying to fix things. However, fundamentally the reason hiring is hard is that demand for engineering talent far outstrips supply. Companies trying to hire are just on the wrong end of this market and may be for the foreseeable future. Even if all the actors were completely rational, and everyone had perfect information there would still be engineering positions that went unfilled due to the supply constraint. What’s frustrating is not being able to hire despite knowing that in such a perfect labor marketplace this position would probably win out against enough other opportunities to be filled.

While the market for labor may always be somewhat sticky, I think there are really huge opportunities for whoever can improve the hiring process in a cost effective way. Companies could be less frustrated, developers could be happier, and more cool stuff could get created.

To riff on Peter Thiel, we wanted perfect allocation of human capital, and all we got was LinkedIn. Let’s hope this changes, and soon.