The demand for cloud developers and engineers continues to skyrocket as more organizations move their infrastructure and applications to the cloud. According to LinkedIn’s Jobs on the Rise in 2021 report, cloud engineers and other specialized software engineering roles are some of the most in-demand jobs in the US.

Technical recruiting is no cakewalk. To attract top tech talent in an increasingly competitive market, companies need to implement strategic recruiting techniques. Here are a few recommendations for improving your organization’s recruitment strategy.

Use a solid applicant tracking system

First things first: your company should be using a high quality applicant tracking system (ATS). A good ATS will help streamline the recruitment process, allowing recruiters to quickly search for qualified candidates and filter out those who don’t meet the criteria. Using an ATS, recruiters can save time by quickly narrowing down a large pool of applicants to focus on the best candidates.

A screenshot showing a dashboard view in Greenhouse, an ATS.
Greenhouse is a popular ATS tool that many organizations use to manage job candidates.

Besides screening, an ATS also helps during the interview process. Most systems will have note-taking features built in, and some even offer a library of interview questions tailored to specific roles. You can usually create custom interview questions to save for future reference as well. These are helpful features for standardizing your interview process—an important recruitment strategy, especially when it comes to hiring more diverse candidates.

A good ATS also makes for a better candidate experience. People remember a bad application process, and it gives them a poor perception of your organization before they even have a chance to interview. When applying for the job is as easy as uploading a resume and providing contact information, candidates will have a much more favorable opinion of your organization.

For help shopping for a good ATS, check out software review sites like G2 and Capterra.

Highlight cutting-edge cloud technologies

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Mention the specific cloud platforms you use, like AWS, Azure, and GCP, and emphasize interesting projects, tools, and technologies. Cloud developers want to work with the latest innovations, so highlighting your use of containers, serverless computing, AI, and other emerging cloud services can be appealing.

> How to Hire an AWS Developer: Everything You Need to Know

You will need to mention these tech tools in the job description, of course, so make sure to emphasize the way your company uses them. What unique applications do you use? How are you using these tools to push innovation? For any technical questions that arise during the interview process, make sure to have a senior developer/engineer or your CTO on standby to provide thorough answers.

Focus on learning and growth opportunities

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Tech professionals value continuous learning and skills development. Highlight any training programs, certifications, conferences, and other resources you offer to help team members strengthen their cloud skills. Mention how developers can grow their careers at your company.

According to LinkedIn, having the opportunity to learn new skills is one of the top five factors people look for in a new job. By the same token, offering opportunities for career development is one of best ways companies can improve employee retention. This will be especially important as recent advances in AI demand new skills of all employees and automate more processes historically left to development and engineering teams.

If you don’t already have such a program in place, consider working with HR stakeholders to develop career development plans for employees. Knowing upfront that they will have a structured, intentional way of learning new skills and reaching their career goals is a big selling point to job seekers.

Highlight company culture

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A positive company culture where developers can do impactful work, collaborate with talented colleagues, and maintain a healthy work-life balance is important for recruiting and retention. Emphasize your supportive culture, team-building activities, and other benefits that appeal to tech workers.

This does not mean highlighting in-office snacks and ping pong tables. Tech workers are already more likely to prefer remote work than colleagues from other departments, and perks like these are not exciting like they were in 2015.

Instead, consider taking a page from HubSpot’s book and highlight the different ways you foster company culture for different working arrangements. For those who prefer an in-office experience, highlight the in-person events you host. For those who prefer to work remotely, talk about programs like virtual coffee chats that help employees who are physically distant meet coworkers and form connections.

Start an employee referral program

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Employee referral programs are an effective way for companies to get quality tech candidates. Referred applicants often have a greater chance of being hired and staying with the company longer than those who apply through other means, as they usually come more highly recommended by their peers. Plus, referrals tend to be more cost-effective since you don’t need to pay external recruiting fees or advertising costs.

An employee referral program can also help build trust between a job seeker and your organization while expanding your reach beyond traditional job board sites. By asking current employees to refer people they know and trust in their network, you can tap into hidden talent pools that may not otherwise be available to you.

However, this strategy does have its drawbacks—namely that referred candidates tend to only be as diverse as your existing team. Since many people self-segregate unconsciously, you might run the risk of mostly getting candidates who look like current employees. For the tech industry, that probably means a disproportionate number of white male referrals.

The best way around this is to use a good mix of recruiting strategies. An employee referral program can be a great resource, but don’t rely on it alone.

Optimize your job descriptions for SEO

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SEO stands for search engine optimization, which essentially means using words in your job post that will help people find it on the internet. For example, tech recruiters at a healthcare organization might prominently feature keywords like “devops” and “healthcare” and “jenkins” in the job description so it will show up when someone searches for those terms. This is a great way to get applications from candidates actively searching for new opportunities related to your open positions.

The best way to optimize job descriptions for SEO is to use natural language and avoid keyword stuffing (the bad practice of using target keywords as many times in a job description as possible). Job descriptions should be written intentionally but without coming across as written for search engines like Google and Bing. In fact, search engines will purposefully display your job descriptions further down in search results or not display them at all if they suspect you are keyword stuffing.

Again, a good ATS will come in handy here, as most modern systems come pre-built with SEO tools to help your job posts stand out in search engine results. Syndicating your job postings across job board sites is another good tactic for SEO supported by many ATS solutions.

Hire freelance AWS developers

Use multiple recruiting channels

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Don’t rely only on job boards or your company’s careers site. Take a multi-channel approach to reach candidates, including employee referrals, networking at tech events, sponsoring hackathons or meetups, and recruiting at top universities. A strong social media presence and company branding can also increase your visibility to tech talent.

Slack groups are an underrated recruiting channel that can be very effective. Especially for those who work remotely, many tech workers join various Slack communities targeted to their specific areas of expertise to network with like minded developers and share ideas.

Many of these Slack communities have channels dedicated to posting jobs and freelance opportunities. This is a great way to get directly in front of the kind of candidates you want to attract and easily answer any questions they may have in a comfortable and informal setting.

Offer remote work opportunities

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According to a Dice survey, 8 in 10 tech workers are satisfied with working remotely and consider hybrid working arrangements to be a top influencing factor in where they decide to work. Many company leaders are pushing for a return to office, but this is a turn off for most tech workers.

An infographic showing statistics that 8 in 10 tech workers are satisfied with working remotely and 70% of tech workers say the ability to work remotely at least three days a week is extremely important.

If your company offers remote work opportunities for tech positions, make sure this is prominently featured in the job description. This is a huge selling point for cloud developers and engineers, so you don’t want there to be any risk of potential applicants missing that detail.

Better yet, highlight flexible working arrangements when possible. Most tech workers prefer to work remotely, but not all of them. For those who still prefer to work onsite, be sure to communicate that as an option, too.

Engage passive candidates

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Trying to recruit passive candidates is a tough and time-consuming practice, but it can pay off for hard-to-fill positions. Passive candidates are people who aren’t actively searching for a new job but who might be open to considering new opportunities if approached correctly. In order to successfully engage passive candidates, recruiters must understand their motivations and interests to craft effective targeted messages.

One of the best ways to engage passive technical candidates is by using social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter. These channels provide an opportunity for recruiters to reach out directly and start conversations with potential applicants without having to wait for them to apply through more traditional methods like job boards or career sites. LinkedIn even offers a recruiting tool that will show recruiters candidates who are open to work but not actively seeking out a new job.

Tip: Before reaching out, recruiters should make sure they have a comprehensive understanding of a candidate’s background so they can tailor their message accordingly. Connecting on social media also gives you access to additional information about each applicant that can prove useful during the recruitment process.

Consider partnering with a tech recruitment agency

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If you’re still having a hard time filling technical roles, partnering with a tech recruitment agency can help you find the right talent in a short amount of time. A good tech recruitment agency will have highly trained (and sometimes certified) technical recruiters who know where to find qualified candidates and how to have technical conversations.

> 6 Best Tech Recruitment Agencies

Ideally, working with a recruitment agency should be treated as a partnership. A good agency will know when to offer advice and guidance during the hiring process, sharing tips on how to make your organization more attractive to potential candidates. They can also advise on which positions to hire for when you’re scaling up your team or building a specialized team like a cloud center of excellence (CCoE).

Rates vary depending on which agency you choose, but in general, agencies price their services by charging a percentage fee of a new hire’s first year base salary. Be sure to have your procurement team read through the terms and conditions before signing anything.

Your turn

Recruiting cloud developers is a competitive and demanding job. But with the right strategies, you can hire top-notch talent who will bring invaluable skills to your organization.

This article was written in collaboration with generative AI

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Hourly, contract, contract-to-hire, full-time—we've got you covered. Explore our cloud talent solutions today to get the help you need.

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About Forrest Brown
Forrest Brown is the Content Manager at NerdRabbit. An AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, he lives in Atlanta with his wife and two cats.

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