Why we turned down the opportunity to fill 200 jobs

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In December 2021, we got an incredible early Christmas present from one of the biggest tech companies in Berlin: an exclusive agreement with them to fill 150 software engineering vacancies over the next six months. 

Now, before you think this is a 600-word humble-brag about how well the business is doing (best year ever, thanks for asking!), let us tell you that the company had 350 tech jobs to fill – so we secured less than half of what was on the table. 

In actual fact, we only tendered for the 150 software engineering roles – despite being in conversation with the client regarding all 350 – because we only fill software engineering roles. We’re software engineering specialists, and that’s it. And we truly live by those words; we’re not experts who also dabble in this and that on the side. 

Inch-wide, mile-deep

We might only do one thing, but we do that one thing really, really well. There are lots of recruitment agencies out there who ‘specialise in tech’ but that’s not niche enough for us. In the UK alone, the tech industry employs almost three million people – 9 percent of the total economy. Tech roles make up 13 percent of all UK job vacancies. 

To be a specialist in such a wide area seems like an oxymoron. So, we keep it simple. As a business, we focus purely on software engineering, and our consultants build even deeper specialisms by focusing on one development language. They even learn to code in their chosen vertical, because the more we know, the better we can service our clients and candidates. 

Under-promise, over-deliver

Recruitment consultants often talk a big game – they are typically salespeople, after all – which can leave clients disappointed if they don’t follow through with great service. This isn’t true at develop. We have honest conversations with our prospective clients because it doesn’t serve anyone to take on work we can’t do well. 

In fact, we may even undersell our solutions, because we want our clients’ expectations to be met and exceeded. We’ll always look for ways we can add value for our clients; it means better service for both clients and candidates and a better experience for all involved. 

Building long-term partnerships

Our relationship with this company will see us acting as a true extension of their business, with several of our consultants solely working on filling the 150 roles. Those consultants are representing the client’s brand as well as our own, so the client has to put a lot of trust in us as a business. 

Trust is key to the success and longevity of all our partnerships. This applies not only to this client, but all clients we work with – we’re looking to form long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. We can’t do that if our clients don’t trust us. 

To promise something we may be unable to deliver would immediately destroy that trust, so we wouldn’t want to do something for a short-term financial gain. Gaining the contract to fill all 350 job vacancies would have been life-changing for our business, but it would have been a short-lived victory.

Honesty over everything

There are agencies out there who would snap your hand off for 350 roles – no matter what they are. They operate on a ‘figure it out later’ system, which can sometimes pay off, but also puts their business, and yours, at risk. 

What might work for them, doesn’t work for us. We are honest with you, and ourselves, about what we can achieve and we don’t need to oversell it. And in keeping with that honesty, let’s be clear that filling 150 software engineering roles in six months will be quite the achievement. 

develop is the go-to specialist recruitment agency for Software Engineers. For more information, or to discuss your hiring needs, please get in touch. 

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