How to Attract the Right Developers by Acing your Job Description

BY Tunga · 7 MIN READ

Over the years, In our journey towards creating 21st-century job opportunities for African youth, we’ve played a pivotal role in countless matchmaking processes between companies and developers. Yet, one often overlooked fundamental aspect of talent acquisition is the clarity and precision of job and profile descriptions.

We’ve witnessed the remarkable transformation that occurs when businesses embrace the power of well-defined job descriptions.

All parties involved would greatly benefit from creating clear and concise job and profile descriptions—organizations seeking the perfect match and skilled developers eager to contribute their expertise.

In this post, we will cover four essential ingredients that constitute a good job and profile description: technical requirements, cultural and team fit, learning curve, and defining seniority.

When organizations utilize these elements, they not only save time and effort in the hiring process but also ensure that candidates who apply are not only qualified but also seamless cultural fits.

Before delving into the four key ingredients, we would like to address some common pitfalls that we’ve observed over the years regarding job descriptions. By understanding these pitfalls, you can avoid them and better equip yourself to navigate the path toward hiring success.


Common Job Description Mistakes
  • Excessive Length: Job descriptions tend to become overly verbose, which can make them challenging to comprehend and engage with effectively. Avoid the trap of excessive verbosity and opt for succinct, compelling job descriptions that pique the curiosity of top talent.
  • Generic Language and Jargon: Many job descriptions rely on generic wording and industry jargon, which can obscure the actual job responsibilities and requirements, hindering clear communication. To stand out, it’s imperative to avoid the overuse of generic language and jargon and instead craft job descriptions that communicate the distinct appeal of the position in your own words.
  • Prolonged Lists of Technical Requirements: A common issue lies in including exhaustive lists detailing technical prerequisites. This approach can overwhelm potential candidates and obscure the core qualifications necessary for the role. To attract your ideal talent, it is crucial to streamline job descriptions by focusing on the core qualifications that matter.

Now you know these common pitfalls, you are ready to get our tips for creating a great job/profile description:


Technical Requirements

Among the crucial elements of a great job description, technical requirements stand out as the most critical. However, we have come across lists that are either too brief, lacking substance about the developer’s technical environment, or excessively long, making it unclear what skills are essential for a great fit. To address this issue, one should strive to create the following distinctions:

  • Primary Technologies: This list should specify the essential technologies (programming languages, frameworks, libraries, platforms, etc.) with which the developer will directly work. These requirements are non-negotiable, enabling the reader to quickly assess compatibility.
  • Secondary Technologies: Considered as “nice to haves,” these are technologies that, while not mandatory, the developer should have a basic understanding of. Familiarity with these secondary technologies enhances the candidate’s overall suitability.
  • Domain Knowledge Requirements: Certain industries, like banking, telecom, or healthcare, have unique domain-specific demands. In an ideal job description, these domain knowledge requirements should be explicitly highlighted to attract candidates with relevant experience.

In addition, it’s also beneficial to mention whether similar industry experience or familiarity with a similar technology would suffice for a prospective candidate. E.g if you don’t have experience with “Z”, experience with “Y” and a bit of learning/training (on the job) on the job will suffice. Such information assists the reader in better comprehending the job’s prerequisites.


Cultural and Team Fit

As the hiring party, here are some things you should assess during your hiring process to determine a team fit:

  1. Does this person have the right technical skills to succeed
  2. Is it easy and pleasant to communicate with this person
  3. Will this person’s energy and personality fit with the team/organisation and the vacant role *(2)

Let’s zoom in on the latter point. While this can be communicated in written format, a back-and-forth discussion during a meeting yields better results. 

In the job/profile description, the hiring party should explain the work environment the developer will potentially join. This may include team size, scope, and structure. 

During a meeting, the organisation can provide a more elaborate overview of the above, its current team composition, dynamics, energy, and any existing limitations. 

A ‘matcher’ will then have the opportunity to ask relevant questions and apply their in-depth knowledge of the developer pool to filter potential candidates effectively.  Concurrently, a developer can make a better assessment if the company and team align with his/her aspirations and preferences.

Learning Curve 

One critical aspect often overlooked by candidates is understanding the organisation’s learning curve. While not all companies have a steep learning curve, a significant number do. Here are four reasons why mentioning this on the profile/job description is helpful:


  1. Understanding the complexity: It is highly beneficial for the hiring party to map out the different unique technology implementations within their organisation. Often, organisations overlook or lack a good understanding of their own particularities. Often, organisations overlook or lack a good understanding of their own particularities. Inquiring recent hires can be beneficial to understanding these better. Providing insight into the complexity helps candidates grasp the challenges and opportunities they may encounter.
  2. Mapping the onboarding process: analysing and planning (resources) for the onboarding process are critical for a good matching process. You can already express to the applicant what they can expect from the work ahead, which gives them a clearer picture of the responsibilities and requirements, promoting a smoother onboarding and management of expectations.
  3. Understanding the investment: By factoring in the above considerations, both the organization and applicants can calculate the required time and financial investment accurately. This transparency enables candidates to assess the learning curve and align it with their career aspirations.
  4. Highlight growth opportunities: Learning opportunities at a company are a leading factor for developers when considering job opportunities. By explicitly emphasizing these opportunities, you increase the likelihood of attracting motivated candidates eager to expand their skills and advance their careers.

Define Seniority

The quest for senior developers is universal, but what exactly constitutes “seniority” in software development is a subject of debate. It is not uncommon to encounter situations where the evaluation of a developer’s seniority differs between organisations. One such instance we observed involved a customer who did not recognize a particular developer as senior, while another company classified the same developer as senior and subsequently hired that person. 

While the developer as a whole can be junior, mid-level or senior level, a developer is never on the same level with each skill the developer has in their toolbox. Mentioning which seniority level is required for each of the primary technologies is a great addition to managing the expectations correctly. But now, we get to the point, that the organisation needs to express how they define the seniority level that they envision for this role. You can express this in years, but this approach is limited. 

A more comprehensive approach is to combine years of experience with specific expectations related to a developer’s understanding and skills. This can be inspired by the Dreyfus Model or conveyed in other precise terms. For instance, you may indicate that a candidate is expected to be able to carry out a project independently using Technology X, create well-structured code adhering to SOLID principles with Technology Y, or demonstrate a holistic understanding of projects and their goals. This is not an easy task, but perhaps a nice challenge for the job/profile description you write next. Good luck!