Figuring Out Job Candidates’ Career Goals is Vital

Every recruiter knows the importance of discussing career goals with job candidates. With that information, the recruiter can tailor the pitch to the candidate’s longer-term plans—boosting the chances of acceptance.

But what do candidates actually want? It often varies on a case-by-case basis, but a new Stack Overflow Developers Survey gives some broad-based insight into the career goals of developers, who constitute a pretty significant portion of the overall tech community. Put simply, a majority of developers want to either found their own company, or else work in a more specialized technical role than their current one.

Specifically, some 33.9 percent say that, within the next five years, they hope to be “working in a different or more specialized technical role than the one I’m in now.” Another 25.7 percent aspire to found or co-found their own company during that period.

Nearly a fifth of those surveyed (19.4 percent) want to just do the same work over the next half-decade, which could be a reflection of their job satisfaction: some 36.5 percent of respondents reported being “moderately satisfied” with their careers and jobs, while 18 percent were “extremely satisfied “ and 17 percent were “slightly satisfied.”

Only 6.6 percent of developers aspire to become a product or project manager, and 9.9 percent want to be an engineering or functional manager; managing other people is clearly not in the imagined career pathway of these particular tech pros. (Only 2.8 percent plan on switching to a career in a totally different industry within five years, and 1.7 percent have their eye on retirement.)

“Overall, career satisfaction does not vary significantly by industry,” Stack Overflow added in the report accompanying the survey data. “However, current job satisfaction is significantly lower for developers working in financial services and IT. Career satisfaction is highest for older developers, with ages of 50 or higher, and those with 20, 30, or more years of professional experience. Job satisfaction, by contrast, is highest for developers between 35 and 44 years old.”

Of course, not every tech pro is a developer; but that entrepreneurial streak does extend through the tech industry at large, as evidenced by the incredible number of startups that sprout up every year. Recruiters can appeal to that impulse by highlighting how a particular role gives tech pros the chance to apply their creativity, ingenuity, and growth-hacking skills to an interesting set of problems.

A job that offers the chance to work with new technology is also something that will appeal to tech pros, especially if the technology in question is particularly cutting-edge (i.e., machine learning or artificial intelligence (A.I.)). Everybody wants something that not only boosts future marketability, but actually moves the industry forward in some way.

In other words, you can appeal to a tech pro’s entrepreneurial streak, even if the role in question is embedded within an established company, and probably land some good results. No matter what their current role or career position, many tech pros want a challenge—and to grow.

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