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Hiring Tips & Insights: How Brsk Makes their Fully Remote Job Offers to Developers Stand Out
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How Brsk Makes their Fully Remote Job Offers to Developers Stand Out

22 September 2023, by Marcelle van Niekerk

With so many competitors offering remote work, it can be hard to make your offer stand out. We spoke to Michael Holmes, Head of Software Development at Brsk, about the most important things to highlight about a remote job offer to boost your chances of successfully hiring your preferred developer candidates.

How to make a fully remote job offer to developers stand out

Brsk is a fibre-to-the-premises business based in the United Kingdom, that provides full-fibre broadband to underserved towns in Britain. However, their developer team is based outside of the UK: Over the past few years, Brsk has hired a fully remote South African developer team.

The benefits of hiring across borders

Despite a slowdown in the tech hiring market since its record highs in 2021, hiring top developers remains challenging. The rise of remote work following the Covid-19 pandemic means that the competition for great developers has gone global. Every company is now competing with Big Tech and competitors worldwide.

“There’s quite a small pool of talent for the amount of roles and positions there are,” says Michael. “Definitely, the biggest challenge we see is just how fast the really quality guys get taken off the market.”

That’s why their team started exploring global opportunities to find great developers.

Why Brsk is hiring from South Africa

Brsk already had South Africans as part of the wider team and had experience with the quality of talent in the country: “We find South Africans to be really hard workers, they take ownership of what they do and take pride in the work they do.”

The overlap in timezones between the UK, Europe and South Africa made working together seamless because there were no time delays. Lastly, the exchange rate makes it more affordable to hire South African developers than UK developers.

Why Brsk chose a remote-first policy

Remote work is the norm among developers: 9 out of 10 developers now have the option to work from home according to OfferZen’s latest developer reports in South Africa and the Netherlands.

Michael confirms that their remote-first policy helps them attract more developers to the team:

“We have the benefit of being a fully remote company,” he says. “Companies that are kind of pushing that office or hybrid work scheme are fighting an uphill battle, I think. Everyone’s experienced remote working now in our line of work, a lot of people have seen the light. We don’t want to go back to the office.”

Additionally, being fully remote saves the company on costs such as rent and electricity for office space, which they instead invest in meaningful team-building events.

To date, Brsk has successfully hired 13 fully remote developers in South Africa. As appealing as remote work is, the prospect of being fully remote might still be daunting to the team or come with extra questions you should be able to answer.

Here are Brsk’s top ways to position a remote offering when communicating with candidates:

How Brsk makes their remote job package stand out

1. Highlight how you’ll connect with the team

It’s important to be more deliberate when connecting with a team when you’re fully remote since there are fewer natural opportunities to catch up with the team:

“A lot of people want to know, do we get together? Do we have meetups and how often does that happen? Does the team ever do anything fun? A lot of people are used to working remotely now after COVID, so people are more interested in the team structure,” says Michael.

At Brsk, this looks like:

Holding regular virtual meetups every last Friday of the month. Here, they’ll set a theme to catch up on a personal level: for example, playing an online game together or asking people to come with a specific story or anecdote to share (eg. how they’ve brought down production at some point in their career).

Have quarterly real-life meetups they arrange separate meetups for the teams based in different countries (eg. a UK and South African event), and add live-streaming for all the teams to tune in at important moments. In the past, they’ve hosted awards ceremonies at these events to give people recognition for their work:

“It’s trying to foster an environment that is rewarding. It helps the team know that they are valued, and just provides a good environment to do fun things with the team as well,” says Michael.

2. Show how you respect work-life balance

It can be easy to blur the lines between your work and personal life when working fully remotely. Since work-life balance is the top most important factor why developers stay in their current roles (in both South Africa and the Netherlands), it’s crucial to prevent poor work-life balance to retain the developers in your team.

At Brsk, they keep work hours based on each team’s time zone:

“The one question about working between the UK and SA, is what happens with the hours? But everything is South African-based, including your work hours,” says Michael. “It’s fortunately a very similar time zone, so we are able to work normal office hours where we don’t infringe on each other’s personal time.”

Additionally, they encourage muting communication on Slack after the work day, and stagger any after-hours support work so that the whole team isn’t responsible for checking alerts outside of work hours.

3. Planning for extra costs

Working full-time from home comes with recurring costs you need to account for as an employer. In fact, receiving a budget for a remote set-up is among the top 8 most common benefits for developers in South Africa and the Netherlands.

At Brsk, this looks like:

Providing an extra monthly work-from-home allowance that team members can spend on internet costs and equipment.

Accounting for loadshedding in South Africa, such as providing an inverter or UPS.

4. Give developers the tools they need

Lastly, connecting with your team in a remote set-up largely depends on the tools you provide to enable your team, says Michael:

“I think it’s really important to have those tools in place to facilitate communication. It can be quite lonely just sitting in front of your computer all day.”

In their team, they’ve found Slack, Google Meets, and Confluence particularly useful for collaboration and connecting with each other.

In addition, they’ve found it’s a perk to give developers the freedom to choose the tech they work with:

“We don’t have a particular sort of operating system or computer that you need to work on,” he says. “ We have team members working on Windows, on Macs, and on Linux. It’s really up to you what you feel like bringing to us. If anyone is having trouble with their set-up, there is always someone willing to jump in and assist them.”

By giving people a good remote offering, Brsk has found it easier to build the type of environment that not only attracts developers to the team but also retains them:

“It’s a lot harder to find new people than it is to hold onto good people,” says Michael. “Investing in a good environment and making it a nice place to work is critical to keeping your good people.”

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