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📨 Reaching out to software developers

How you first reach out and capture a developer’s interest matters. Remember, they’re often inundated with messages from recruiters.

It’s ideal if the person closest to the role in question conducts the initial outreach. If you’re hiring developers, the tech manager or head of product should be reaching out, since they’ll have the most experience in that space.

Depending on how strong your brand is, the initial message could potentially be the first time the person you’re reaching out to has heard of your company. This means that it’s super important for you to be able to convey your employee value proposition concisely and convincingly.

More resources

Read more detail on preparing to reach out to a candidate here.

What is an employee value proposition?

An employee value proposition (EVP) defines all the reasons why somebody should choose to work for your company, rather than your competitors.

It is explicitly different to your actual product. You can have an awesome product but a terrible employee value proposition, if you don’t make an effort to provide people with a great place to work. Components of your employee value proposition include:

  • Financial benefits, such as stock options or bonuses.
  • Perks, such as flexible hours or number of leave days.
  • Your tech stack.
  • What type of career development opportunities you offer.
  • Work content — is it meaningful and aligned with a developer’s goals/interests? Keep in mind that developers often care deeply about how widely used and impactful your product is.
What does the data show?

What factors can you highlight in your EVP to make a strong impression on developers? The latest insights from our 2023 State of the Developer Nation reports for South Africa and the Netherlands can help inform what you should highlight in your offering:

  • Some of the most desired monetary benefits include bonuses, retirement contributions and equity. See how these factors and others rank in South Africa and the Netherlands respectively.
  • Other top factors for assessing opportunities include growth opportunities, remote work options, the tech stack, company culture and flexible office times.
  • When it comes to career development opportunities, developers' top factors for career growth are earning potential, plenty of challenging projects, mentorship opportunities and well-defined career paths.
  • What are the most desired tech stacks? Python, TypeScript, JavaScript, Go and C# are among the most popular skill sets for developers in South Africa and the Netherlands.
  • Lastly, why do developers turn down a job? Besides remuneration, these are the top reasons: A lack of flexibility, lack of growth opportunities, poor cultural fit and poor employee reviews.

Sending the first outreach message

We have seen companies on OfferZen reach out in a couple of different ways, ranging from short standardised templates, to much longer and personalised messages. Here are a few things to consider when deciding on what kind of initial outreach strategy to adopt:

  • Address them as an individual: Nothing gives somebody the warm fuzzies like seeing a message from an interesting company that is more personalised to them as an individual. Making specific references to parts of a person’s profile that you found particularly interesting is a great way to prove to somebody that you’re serious about engaging with them.
  • Personalising every message can take time: Be mindful not to let that affect the number of people that you reach out to. Your goal should be to strike a balance between thoughtful, personalised outreach and building a healthy candidate pipeline.
  • Give more sources of information: When reaching out to somebody that you’re interested in interviewing, ensure that you provide other ways for candidates to find out more about you and your company. This information should be easily accessible and give the person a high level overview of what you’re all about.
  • Brief other hiring stakeholders: If it isn’t practical for the hiring manager to reach out directly themselves, it can be useful to have somebody on your team take on a dedicated hiring support role. This person can own the outreach and interview process, however they will need to be extremely well briefed on all of the requirements for the roles in question.

For inspiration, here is an example message that pulls together all the factors we mentioned above. The underlined text demonstrates items that could be linked:

Example message

Hi [name],

I’m the lead of the product team at OfferZen and I’m currently looking for a full-stack developer to join our team. You really stood out as someone with a diverse mix of coding experience since you’ve worked with Ruby on Rails and RedShift. I love that you created your own mobile app!

Our mission at OfferZen is to connect every developer with opportunities to build an awesome future. We’ve grown to 100+ team members over the last seven years. I see that you’re excited about machine learning, so I think you’d love working here!

Our product team consists of developers and data scientists who work in small, autonomous squads. We use Rails for our back-end services and host them on Heroku, while the front-end is mostly React, served via AWS CloudFront. You can check out our full tech stack on our public company profile.

Do you think this sounds like something you’d be interested in? If you’d like a bit more info, you can find out more about the role here or read about working at OfferZen here.

If you’re interested, you can reply to this message and we can set up a time to chat. Otherwise, feel free to reach out to me over email at XXXX@offerzen.com.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cheers

[Name]

More resources

Read more detail about composing your first message to a candidate here.