How to attract senior developers | Mike Veerman

There is a shortage of experienced developers and when it comes to job offers, most of us get our fair share on a weekly basis.

Most job posts, however, are just terrible. They give us no information and will make sure we select ourselves out of jobs that might actually be a good match.

In a standard market, job ads and résumés are tools to filter out unwanted candidates and only interview the select few. In a market where the demand outweighs the supply, you don’t have that luxury. The senior engineer sitting across the table from you has a steady job and three other potential employers on his phone. You’ll have to convince her and give her good reasons why she should work for you. Not the other way around.

We tend to complain a lot about pushy recruiters and clueless customers, but we never seem to give any useful feedback. Here is an attempt to explain what makes a great job post for senior developers. Feel free to disagree.

Tell us who you are

“Java developer in the London area” doesn’t tell us anything about the job. What is the product? Are you a bank? A start-up? Are you looking for someone to maintain old junk or is it a brand new project? What challenges do you have at the moment? Where can you use our help? Tell us about the team.

Keep the tech talk real

Listing every buzzword you can think of makes you sound incompetent.

Good: Javascript front-end developer.
Bad: Javascript, HTML5, CSS4, AngularJS, Redux, VueJS, Ember, JQuery, AS400.

It seems whoever posts these requirements believes more is better. It’s not. It’s confusing and scares away potential matches. If you need a specialist in a certain technology, state it. Otherwise, leave it out. Only list hard criteria, because we will assume every one of them is a must-have.

Understand that we can learn

Technology moves so fast, developers can hardly keep up. Don’t require all expertise from day one. Again if you need a specialist in a certain technology, make that clear. In all other cases, clarify what you expect us to know from day 1 and what you expect us to learn. The promise of learning something new is often a great incentive to take the job!

Good: Tensorflow specialist
Good: .NET developer with an interest in Machine Learning.
Bad: .NET, Machine learning, Tensorflow, Perl, Python

Years of experience are meaningless

It’s a running gag among developers: 5 years experience in something that just got launched. It’s also a sad reality for most job posts. 1 year hands-on experience makes you a specialist. 4 years is just a ridiculous demand.

Offer flexible work

Make sure developers can manage their own time. Yes, that means remote work is the norm. Yes, that means coming in at 11 should be acceptable. Show us you offer an environment where we can get stuff done. Most senior developers have a family and a busy professional life. If you don’t facilitate that, they’ll go to the competitor that does.

Attracting in-demand talent means you are constantly competing with other companies. You’ll have to seduce them if you want to stand out. This is not about prima donna employees. This is about attracting experienced people with high market value who have plenty of options.

Most companies have a horrible meeting culture and a 9-5 mentality. Use that to your advantage. Attract the right people by showing them they can learn and grow at your company. Show them that you support their time management.

On the one hand, there is a place that’s happy to have you and will meet you half way in growth and flexibility. On the other hand, there is an organisation that tells you what tools you should use and only cares about the amount of hours you spend on-site. One is a partner in your career, the other one is a bossy manager.

Senior developers have the options to pick. And they always pick option 1.

Originally published on above link and republished with permission of Mike Veerman
6prog is a facilitator of freelance contracts and commentator on recruitment in general. For more information reach out

Making it cheaper to recruit permanent staff

How can I de-risk my hiring?

Having worked in the ‘people’ sector for many years I have seen multiple models for companies to recruit staff.

These include: day rate contractors, fixed price consultancies, apprenticeship programmes and in house recruitment and external permanent hires.

I have not seen anyone making a play that makes this cheaper so I have done it myself. I will explain further down in the article.

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash
First here is a table of each of the above styles of staffing:
Day rate
Fee plus agency margin (approx 15%)Focused on one deliverableKnowledge handover
[fixed price
Total fee
[capped and on delivered work]
What you pay
for you will get, or at least it
won’t cost more
Work must be
well defined in
The people you hire may have a sales target to
Consultants will have days off for training.
may be swapped
during project.
ApprenticeLow costsKeen to learn,
no baggage,
open to trying
new ideas
May make
mistakes, will
need training by the experienced members of the team
[in house]
Salary plus cost of internal
Your in house
recruiter knows your culture
Possible they
have a limited
May also use
agency which increases costs
Salary plus
agency fee
(approx 25%)
Agency will help you screen.
Usually a fee
refund available if it goes wrong
Quite a high fee to pay and
agencies do not really understand your business so you still do
the screening.
Potential to
miss out on
good people

There are compromises to be made

Really? Must we?

I agree wholeheartedly that each of the above had specific reasons for choosing and businesses should hire accordingly. However, let’s look at combining two of these strategies…

Hire a day rate contractor for three months, and then go perm.

Why would I  do that?

Combining the benefits of these two methods also removes the disadvantages.

Once you have worked with someone for three months you (and they) know if you are a fit. You can plan training and long term progression to keep work interesting. You know you can rely upon them and what their quality of work is like.

Can I do that?

No. Consultancies, Contract agencies and Apprenticeship scheme contracts are usually designed to effect a ‘buy out clause’ when you convert to perm. This is justifiable based on the effort those businesses have made upfront to recruit and train that individual.

So what was the point of this article?

When we developed 6prog we realised that with platform recruitment there would be no benefit in us ‘protecting’ the freelancer population who wish to work with us. Indeed we actively hope that companies will use our services to hire permanent staff because, guess what, when those managers progress they need help to come in and our flexible model is there to help.

I’ll break down the costs:

 Day ratecontractorConsultancy
prive deliverable]
[in house]
Day Unit Cost
(annual 220
500/day 950/day 250/day7500075000500 for 3 months then 75,000 salary (9 months)
Additional Costsplus 15%N/aTraining from
Estimate in
costs 5000 allocated 
(assume 10 hires/yr) Use of external agency [rare]
18750Plus 3% (for first 3 months)
(year 1
126,500209,00075,000£100,00093,75028,325 + 56,250 = 84,575

Note that through the article I have not included any currency or made allowances for tax. Clearly these vary country to country. However, I hope I’ve shown that through combining hires initially as contract and then converting to perm you could be realising benefits previously confined to one or other strategy AND it might save you a few pounds, euros, dollars etc in the process!


6prog was started by friends from Brighton, UK and Los Angeles, USA. We had all experienced recruiting, being recruited and working as a recruitment partner and felt that these tasks would benefit from a single solution. We discussed various propositions with a large number of people in our own networks and summarised the following characteristics with this multi billion dollar industry.

• Recruiters spend too much time doing paperwork when they should be networking.
• Freelancers spend time chasing updates which can just be messaged directly.
• Clients want multiple levels of recruitment expertise but would rather not have multiple suppliers.
• Project Managers don’t have the time to read through multiple online profiles (the reverse job board service? “no thanks”).
• Everyone wants clearer communication.
• Everyone wants fair payment and fair charges.

So we designed a workflow that allows members to deliver their function most effectively. Recruiters can be anyone with a book of contacts (it’s more valuable to a PM if you can recruit from people via experience or word of mouth). Project Managers and Freelancers can talk to one another. It’s fine – it really is! Recruiters are paid a fixed fee agreed per opportunity. Also margins should not exist (too many reasons to list!) and therefore the software is funded by the low transaction fee. 

Importantly, our ethos is membership driven. All members are charged in the same way at the same fee. Finally we decided to get a team together in order to build a modern solution for project managers, freelancers and recruiters. We launched in April 2017. 6prog is pushing it’s platform to do even more than it already does today. Become a member and help us on our shared journey to revolutionise how projects, recruiting and on boarding get better.

How can 6prog help what you need to do?
make your valuable network valuable

Actually, are you a contract recruiter?

When developing our plan for 6prog, foremost in our mind was one question.

How can we make working easier?

One way to start answering this, was to evaluate what the service actually is that a contract agency offers, and we saw that the main substance of their work was administrative. Really? How is that useful to their clients?

Surely the focus of a recruiter would be meeting people and matching them to clients and vice versa, to ensure managers were getting strong candidates from their recruiters – not being encumbered by administration.

The 6prog platform is engineered to remove any need for duplication. It is a golden source of data because it is shared, securely, between those parties where access is given.

The platform makes it possible for recruiters to leave their desks behind and spend time talking to people; after all, people are what makes businesses, not admin.

This has generated an additional area of interest for us. If being a recruiter no longer entails chasing paperwork and tracking candidates, perhaps ‘anyone’ can do it?

It has been suggested to me that the key attribute of a good contract recruiter is their contact book; that being the case then I shall be going ‘to industry’ when I need to hire. I will be asking the people doing the work who they know that will be good.

Indeed I can use as my operations and back office while I get on with the interesting and exciting bit of business; meeting people.