Why can't I find a developer? Is there something wrong with my ad?

I’m not on here to advertise a vacancy, but to get advice as to why I’m not getting much response. I hope that’s allowed.

I’ve placed pretty much the same ad in a number of places and am getting very little response. I’m looking at placing it in other places but thought I’d address the ad itself first. Any suggestions?

Web developer required for established and growing internet shopping company. Required to maintain and develop front and back end systems. Required skills: PHP, MySql, CSS, Javascript Desired skills: design skills, knowledge/experience of internet marketing SEO, PPC etc. Salary 16,000-18,000 dependant on experience.

The salary listed is GBP. Actually I’ve only recently added the salary - before it just said ‘dependant on experience’.

Am I not selling it? Would I have been putting people off by not listing a salary? Would I be putting people off by listing a fairly junior salary?

Where do you recommend listing ads? I’ve been using the job centre online and local (as in county wide) press. Recently been posting on phpjobs.co.uk and gumtree. Thinking about forking out for monster.co.uk next.

I presume the advert actually names the company looking to hire?

established and growing internet shopping company
is not very informative; I’d want to know which company. Having said that, it’s been an awfully long time since I responded to a job ad, so I may just be out of date. :slight_smile:

No, the ad doesn’t state the company - we’re not very big so I didn’t see the benefit in shouting about it. That said, the contact details do include contact details, so the company identity can be inferred from the email address.

But being more explicit about the company identity - I’ll have a think about that.

How about the salary? Is that a going rate where you live for the kind of expertise you’re asking?
What kind of contract? For how long?

And it might also depend on the places you’ve put the add, although I’m sure you’ll have chosen places where webdev’s go to look for jobs.

It’s a completely generic, lifeless advertisement that doesn’t really offer much that is interesting. In a different marketplace, you could get away with that. However, right now there are loads of jobs for developers and the good ones have to be attracted with a description of a great job where they will enjoy themselves, learn a lot, make good money, and have a nice time.

So, unless you are paying tons of money I wouldn’t expect good developers to respond to that kind of ad. Look at your competition, then try to compete if you want to get good resources.

You are asking asking for a front and back end devoloper, but only say you need design skills… for what? Graphics? UI? Databases?

You are requesting a lot of disparate skills in the required/ desired lists. You need:

  • a developer
  • a designer
  • a SEO person

These three skill-sets generally tend to be very difficult find in one person, even though there is a bit of overlap.

The salary seems a little low for someone who possesses all the above skills (although I don’t really know what the salary level is where you live).

The salary isn’t worth anyone’s time – 24K US yearly isn’t much more than working in the food industry. Especially true considering all the requirements. The best your going to get is some Indian working for pennies or kid working out of their parents garage – to be frank. If the salary is that low I would recommend the former than the later off shoring the work.

I notice you don’t say anything about the location. This is a vital factor. Assuming you are advertising nationally, there’s no incentive for people to reply if the job might be at the other end of the country. This isn’t the kind of job that most people would be prepared to move home for.


In terms of salary, £16k a year is around £8/hr, that’s not much more than UK minimum wage, yet from your description you are looking for a php/mysql developer with broad range front end coding skills, design skills, and also to perform most if not all aspects of internet marketing. So basically you want someone to pretty much completely run, develop and market your web site, all for the same salary as a burger-flipper :slight_smile:

It’s common for people to want this type of all-singing, all dancing employee who can just ‘deal with the internet stuff’, but I seriously doubt anyone with those broad range skills is going to want to work for peanuts when they could either be earning £30k+ with another company or as a freelancer, or setting up their own business or ecommerce site and running it themselves. I also feel that there’s simply far too much work involved for one person, it’s simply too much to lay on a single member of staff, regardless of salary offered.

I think I would go for building a team, with a php/mysql guy, a more traditional web designer for the front end stuff, an internet marketing guy and someone in charge to bring them all together and get the juices flowing. Also consider getting in contractors for some tasks.

As shadowbox (and others) have already mentioned, you are expecting “everything” and offering very little compensation for it. Not to mention your position ad text does not look too good.

Experience has taught me to stay away from people that claim they can do “everything”, and instead hire people/consultants that focus on one field/area as their end product will be several times better. Though be aware that the higher skill level you require/want the more money you will need to part with according to what is the norm in the area your trying to hire from.

You can take a look on the position ad in my signature, we run that locally from time to time with a good response each time considering applicants. The problem is locating an applicant that has the skill your looking for, as well as a good fit for the team.

In addition to my point about stating the location of the job, you really should also put the name of your company in the ad, for two reasons.

First, many applicants might be put off responding if they don’t know who you are. They might be worried that they will be applying to a firm they already know, or even to their existing employer.

Second, recruitment aside, it’s good publicity for your firm. It helps keep your name in front of prospective customers, and it sends the message that you are expanding and taking on new staff.

You wouldn’t expect people who apply for this job not to tell your their names. You should extend the same courtesy to them.


Thanks for the comments, everyone. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

Certainly I agree that the ad could be more exciting and enticing, I should be giving the applicant the impression that this is a job that will turn them on and and take them places, rather than just having a matching skillset.

Sure, the salary being offered isn’t loads but there’s plenty of scope for progression in the company, and this needs to be stated. The salary amount wasn’t stated except in the most recent ad, so that’s probably not the main reason for lack of response.

Might I get more of a response by being more exact about their experience eg would suit a developer with at least 1 year development experience? Would this be considered a junior role? I’d rather someone with at least a little experience.

I get the point about the broad skillset. It’s not that we’re necessarily looking for an all in one, but is someone has at least some knowledge or aptitude in at least one of the desired skills that would be…desirable. And I want that applicant to know that they stand a better chance of getting the job than someone without. Would potential applicants be put off by not having the skills listed under ‘desired’ skills? Perhaps I should be saying ‘skills desired but not required’? But yes, when it comes to design skills I should be more clear about what I want them to design (‘graphic design skills’).

The location is normally included elsewhere, dependant on where the ad is being placed ie the job centre site lists it in the heading, separate to the text.

Looking at your reply it’s time take a step back and look at this from the other side.

Can you find a strong developer who has some design skill? Perhaps, they certainly exist although more as a function that a talent. Are there people who do marketing on top of that? Maybe a few but your pool is narrowing and narrowing and you’re losing specificity with each layer too… a jack of all trades, a master of none as they say. You’ve put together 3 very different types of skills because that’s what you’d like but have you thought about what that actually means?

Your description is all of 3 lines of text, that’s not worth a resume no matter what it says. Then you throw that salary in and frankly I wouldn’t be surprised to see another thread start about this poking fun at how someone is asking for the world and compensating as much as a fast-food employee makes.

What you need to be doing is painting a picture of what you need and what you offer…

Who is the company… are there 4 people or 40. What’s the details in what’s required… I don’t read this as 1 year experience, I read it as 5 given how much is asked for. What will the duties be… is this a bold new build an ecommerce site role or a support another developer? And if you’re going to offer near minimum wadge you better find a way to really sell into the value… is there equity in a bold new startup? Is there something that makes this appealing to anyone other than an off-shore developer?

Look around at similar job descriptions and you’ll see the standard fields, the 2/3rd page format, use that, copy it and then improve on it.

Can I just reiterate that the design & seo elements are listed under desirable skills. I’m not for a minute saying that a candidate has to have any of these skills, and I’m definitely saying they have to have all of them. My understanding of convention is that that was what desirable skills meant. But as that’s been widely misunderstood here then I can see it being misunderstood by the applicants themselves.

What I’m looking for is a php/mysql developer, probably fairly junior with maybe a year’s experience. And if they’ve come across an adwords account, or if they fancy themselves a bit arty, then that’s a bonus.

So yes, the ad text does need re-wording before I advertise again.

From my hiring, you get two types of people that you could hire – those who have never done it and just apply everywhere and those who are cautious and shy away from things they don’t match. Thus while you can certainly add things you don’t require, it’s ideal to really separate them out and there’s conventions for this that you’ll find in most standard job descriptions.

What I’m looking for is a php/mysql developer, probably fairly junior with maybe a year’s experience. And if they’ve come across an adwords account, or if they fancy themselves a bit arty, then that’s a bonus.

Perfect – that’s what your description should scream out – and that will help lower the bar to getting people to apply in.

I still think your salary range is soft but if you extend things out and sell into your vision, you may find someone aligned with it willing to hop on board.

Take a look at the language used on some of these: http://www.simplyhired.com/a/jobs/list/q-front+end+web+developer

What I’m looking for is a php/mysql developer, probably fairly junior with maybe a year’s experience. And if they’ve come across an adwords account, or if they fancy themselves a bit arty, then that’s a bonus.

what you said here is WAYYYYY better than that ad you posted up top. You’ll get more responses from posting that. it’s honest. But, you’ll also get less talented people. But, you’ll get people in the pay range that you listed.

You get what you pay for.

I don’t consider myself the worlds best developer, but I wouldn’t take a job at that pay scale. I could make that a year hustling jobs off the internet. w/o a boss over my shoulder. If it’s a work at home job, that should be said too. I just finished up two jobs I got off the internet one was $4000 and the other was $3,000. I made $7,000 in 8 weeks sitting at home smoking blunts while I work. :slight_smile:

Sounds pretty sweet. I might need to rethink my own career direction!

It’s not always like that. But, you know what I mean…

OK, is this a bit more appealing?

[company name] require a PHP/MySql developer to join their expanding development team, developing and maintaining the existing website and bespoke administrative systems. The successful applicant will have knowledge of PHP, MySql, CSS and Javascript. Previous experience is preferred but not essential. Knowledge of internet marketing, and an aptitude for graphic design is desirable but not essential.

Starting salary 16,000-19,000 dependent on experience, with significant scope for advancement.

[company name] are a successful and continually expanding shopping site based in [town], West Yorkshire with a dynamic and vibrant web development team. A desire to learn and bring your own ideas to the table would ensure a successful future with appropriate financial rewards.