In a previous post I talked about How To Interview Developers but how do you find great developers to interview in the first place?

In order of effectiveness the main ways in which to find great developers are;

Referral, Search and Selection.


Referral by existing employees has been shown time and time again to be the most effective way of recruiting. If you don’t already have a employee referral incentive scheme in place you should set one up.The scheme will pay for itself many times over.


By search I mean proactively searching for great developers. Effective ways of doing this include;

If you are looking for deep expertise in a particular technology GitHub is a fantastic place to find it. Create a free account, type the skill you need in the search box (e.g. “PHP”), pick a repository with a lot of commits, click on the number of contributors link in the top right, and if you click on the name of developer who has done a lot of commits you will see his profile information including his email address. In my experience most developers don’t mind occasionally being contacted by companies about jobs very relevant to their skill set and interests. I think it’s also true that developers who are active in open source projects are much more likely to be passionate about technology, good communicators, and great team players.


If you search for your desired skill in the search box at it will show you all the relevant groups meeting in your area (which can be changed). Clicking on the group will show how many members there are in the group and a contact box for the organiser. Most organisers are happy to give you an opportunity to interact with the group in return for some beers and pizza at the meetup or whatever.


By selection I mean shifting through candidates that have approached you based on something you did.

The main ways of attracting a CV (resume) is to

1) Post a vacancy on your web site.

2) Post a vacancy on a public job board.

3) Work with a recruitment agency.

Your Web Site

I’m sure it can work but I’ve never had much luck advertising vacancies on company web sites. You tend to attract a lot of CVs that don’t really match the vacancy advertised, or people who aren’t legally qualified to work in the place of work. I still think advertising your roles on your web site is worth doing though – you never know and there are all sorts of brand and reputation benefits for doing so.

Job boards

Posting on job boards such as will generate a lot of CVs. If you have the time to do it the numbers game can work for you and you can get lucky. Don’t underestimate the overhead in managing the process end-to-end though.

Recruitment Agencies

If you’re in a hurry working with a good recruitment consultant is arguably the quickest way of filling your developer vacancies. They will charge you 15-25% of the first year salary for the privilege, but they generally will fill your vacancies. Bad recruitment consultants have given the industry a bit of a bad name but the good ones will do a great job for you by;

1) Taking the time to really understand what you’re looking for.

2) Filtering the CVs carefully.

3) Talking to any candidate before putting them forward (with added insight).

Archie managed to achieve a better than 50% interview/CV rate with me recently when hiring some contract developers in London.

Hopefully one of these approaches will work for you and you’ll find the great developers you’re looking for.

OK so now you have found your potential developer you need to interview them…How do you interview developers? is a network of hand picked interims who help CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs deliver their change agendas and be successful… are currently engaged in the UK, Ireland, Spain and Sweden so if you need someone to come in and take accountability for something new, difficult or time critical get in touch! 

More “How To’s” and Case Studies at