How to recruit programmers during a crisis?

Michał Kardasz
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8 lutego 2021

The beginning of 2021 is the moment for many of us to think about planning New Year's resolutions. At the top of the list of plans we generally make at the beginning of the year is the desire for professional development, which in practice often means changing jobs. But in the face of an unpredictable 2020, is this currently a good idea? Especially if we value stability and a sense of comfort? What are the elements that candidates uniquely pay attention to during the pandemic at the moment?

I will try to answer these questions from the perspective of an IT recruiter who conducts recruitment processes for programming positions in various locations in Poland on a daily basis.

Are programmers really feeling the crisis?

Well, that's right - can we talk about any collapse of the programmer job market in 2020? Let's go back in time for a moment and go back to the first months of this year, when the news of the spreading virus collided with Polish reality. How did the IT industry react in March?

Based on data compiled by Element, a company that monitors recruitment announcements, it appears that in the third month of 2020 the number of announcements in the IT industry increased compared to January and February.


And then it only got better. Although the first reports and studies summarizing the entire year 2020 from the perspective of IT in Poland are just beginning to appear, we can already conclude that the industry has coped well with the coronavirus. An analysis of the recruitment platform shows that the number of published IT job openings increased by 24% in Q3 2020 compared to Q2 this year.

What has changed?

Now that we've established that programmers and the IT industry in general have come through the coronavirus crisis mostly unscathed, has anything changed in the recruiter-candidate relationship? From my own perspective, I notice a couple of trends:

  • During the pandemic, candidates often cited a reluctance to change careers these days and uncertainty about the near future as reasons for declining an invitation to participate in the recruitment process. These issues in particular came up in conversations with candidates during the first months of the pandemic, when no one yet knew how serious the situation was.

  • In addition, candidates began to pay attention to the proposed form of employment by employers during the crisis - it turned out that an indefinite contract became one of the most desirable elements of employment. I also happened to talk to a couple of candidates who preferred to move away from B2B employment to a contract of employment precisely because of the pandemic.

  • Most of the IT industry has dealt with the shift to a full remote work model very smoothly. Of course, this is also due to previous experience and the fact that home office among programmers was nothing new. However, I'm also referring here to the shift to full remote working for recruitment, HR and onboarding teams, which means that many companies have moved on and stayed with the remote recruitment model. IT job portals have also been quick to introduce information on recruitment opportunities as well as remote work. Nowadays, questions that often arise during recruitment processes from candidates concern the employer's work model, the plan to return to the office (in the case of temporary 100% remote work), the work tools that the company provides, and potential compensation for electricity consumption, the use of private equipment or funding an office chair in the case of home office.

  • Many companies have also remodeled the range of benefits offered to proposed candidates. Sports classes or a gym, for well-known reasons, are now not widely available, nor is the organization of major company events or team-building events. Instead, employers are increasingly betting on subscription fees for streaming services (music and movie services) as well as psychological/wellbeing support by organizing individual sessions with a psychologist to help cope with pandemonium or workshops on, for example, healthy breathing training or stress management.

It will be good!

To answer the title question - the recruitment of programmers is still going well and nothing promises that this development trend will stop. The IT industry in Poland, after temporary uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic, has developed immunity to the coronavirus exceptionally quickly. Even so, candidates more than before want to be sure whether a potential job offer offered by a recruiter carries job stability and how a given company organizes the environment in the current reality.

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