How To Attract DevRel Talent: Tips and Insights from a Specialist Recruiter

In this article, our specialist DevRel recruiter Ollie Whelan-Hall discusses how to prepare for a new hire, establish an efficient hiring process, and help DevRels thrive in their new role.

Deciding to take on a DevRel specialist is an important milestone for any company. It’s a sign that you’re ready to take your product to the next level, to start engaging with and gathering feedback from the developer community, and to invest in your company’s future success and growth. In a previous article, I examined what employers are looking for in a DevRel specialist, and delved into some interview tips. In this article, I’ll be taking a look at the other side of the coin: how employers can attract and retain DevRel talent.

Laying the groundwork for your new DevRel hire

Understand what you want to achieve

We discussed in our previous article that Developer Relations professionals often wear many hats. Your new hire could be anything, from an evangelist, to an educator, to a public speaker – but they can’t be everything all at once. The type of DevRel activity you need will depend on where you are in your product journey, and the type of awareness and engagement you’re looking to generate. Are you trying to drive top-of-funnel awareness? To build a community? To deepen relationships with existing users? Having a clearly defined job role also makes it clear you’re not expecting your new hire to do everything all at once, and that you understand the unique strengths and preferences that different professionals will bring.

Establish clear KPIs

In order to do the job well, DevRels need to have a clear understanding of how success is measured in their role – in fact, this is very likely to be one of the questions you as a potential employer will be asked at interview. The KPIs you decide on will depend on the types of activities your DevRel hire will be focusing on, along with your company’s overall objectives. For example, if your aim is to drive product awareness, you might set initial KPIs based on metrics like website traffic, newsletter signups, social media reach or community engagement. Giving consideration to factors like this beforehand instead of leaving the new hire to figure things out on their own helps to show you’ll be a proactive and supportive employer.

Show you already prioritise DevRel  

At any given time, there’s likely more DevRel roles on the market than there are professionals to fill them. This means that most candidates can be pretty picky about the companies they choose to work for. It can therefore be a real plus to be able to demonstrate that DevRel is already a priority for your company, that founders are fully on board, and understand the challenges and nuances associated with the role. If DevRel is a totally new area for your company, one of the best ways to achieve this is undertaking a bit of ‘DIY DevRel’ yourself – engage with the developer community on forums to understand their challenges, and have a go at putting together different content formats like blog posts of product tutorials. That way, when you’re interviewing for your new hire, you’ll be able to speak from a more informed perspective.

Establishing an efficient hiring process

We all know the recruitment process for tech roles can sometimes be a little lengthy and intimidating, so streamlining the hiring process as much as possible will win you some serious points with your candidates when considering how to attract DevRel talent. Some tips to consider:

Establish a transparent timeline: Let candidates know when they can expect to hear back from you at each stage. This transparency helps manage expectations and reduces uncertainty.

Involve key stakeholders early: There’s probably going to be multiple decision-makers involved in the process, so involve them as soon as possible to gather feedback and avoid delays.

Give useful feedback: If a candidate is not a good fit, provide constructive feedback. This not only helps them improve but also leaves a positive impression of your company – after all, the DevRel world is small and word travels fast!

Work with a specialist recruiter: Because Developer Relations is such a highly specialised field, many skilled candidates only work with a select number of trusted recruiters when looking for a new role. These recruiters have a strong network in the developer community, so can help you reach passive candidates who might not be actively looking for jobs but could be interested in the right opportunity. What’s more, a specialist recruiter will be well positioned to explain why your role is a great opportunity and how it aligns with candidates’ career aspirations.

Helping your DevRel hires thrive

Create a positive working environment

The best DevRel candidates will be attracted to positions in which they have all the tools and resources they need, access to training when required, and support from other team members and management. In short, it’s your job to create an environment in which your new hire can get the job done, and get the job done well. If this is your first DevRel hire, you might be tempted to micromanage or ask for frequent check-ins and updates, but be careful to strike a balance. Giving your new team member the trust and autonomy to flourish in their role is essential.

Facilitate cross-functional communication

Remember, DevRel can’t operate in a vacuum – it’s closely connected to different parts of your company. Make it easy for your DevRel team to work with others by setting up ways for them to talk with the product teams, marketing folks, and customer support. This way, everyone can share ideas and help each other out. When your DevRel person knows what’s happening in other parts of the company, they can make sure their work fits with what the whole organization is trying to achieve. It’s like making sure all the pieces of a puzzle fit together smoothly!

Encourage creative thinking

DevRel is all about coming up with new and creative solutions; mixing it up and seeing what works. Let your new team member try out fresh ideas, take on new projects, and think outside the box. Encourage them to find unique ways to connect with developers and build a community around your products. When you create an environment that celebrates creativity, you’re giving DevRels the opportunity to experiment and innovate freely.

Looking for a DevRel join your team, or are you a DevRel looking for a new challenge? At GR4, we work with some of the most exciting and innovative tech companies across Europe and the US, and are always looking to expand our network. For a confidential chat, don’t hesitate to drop us a note via our contact form.

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