The 18 Best Web Design Courses in 2021 (Free and Paid)


Want to learn web design? Good decision! There’s only one problem – where do you start?

With so many resources available online, it can be confusing to find the right web design class for you. There are thousands of different tutorials, courses, books, videos, and other types of content. How can you tell what’s worth your time, effort and perhaps your money?

Not to worry! We’ve created a thorough guide to selecting the best web design class. If you want to become a web designer, you definitely need to read this!

In this post, we’ll first cover the things you’ll need to learn as a web designer.

Then, we’ll talk about the factors you should consider when selecting a web design class.

Finally, we’ll look at the 18 best online web design courses available.

Let’s get designing!

Table Of Contents

What Do You Need to Learn?

Now that we know what web design is, we have to answer the next question – what do you need to learn to become a web designer?

Web design classes will cover most popular subjects , but some will focus on one area more than another.

Frontend vs. Backend

Before anything else, these two terms are important to understand:

  • Frontend (sometimes written Front End) means the user-facing part of a software application. When it comes to websites, this means what the web browser shows. Web design can be considered a part of frontend development, as you are designing the actual pages seen by users. To learn frontend development, you’ll need to know things like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Backend (sometimes written Back End) is everything that goes on behind the scenes, on the web server and database. We won’t cover backend development in this article.

Image Editing

While not strictly falling under “web design”, the ability to edit images is a crucial skill to have for any web designer.

There are two types of programs you’ll want to learn:

Raster Graphics Editing Software (Photoshop, GIMP)

photoshop logo

Raster graphics are made up of tiny pieces, called pixels. The most common example of a raster image is a photograph, but many other types of images are rasters too. In fact, most images are pixel-based, so you’ll definitely want to learn how to edit them.

Larger raster graphics have more pixels, and smaller ones have less pixels. Thus, smaller images (usually) have a smaller file size.

Photoshop is the best known raster graphics editing software package. However, it requires a monthly subscription, so you may want to use a free alternative.

Some of the best alternatives are GIMP and Paint.NET.

Vector Graphics Editing Software (Illustrator, InkScape)

The other well-known type of editing software you should learn is for vector graphics. Unlike raster graphics, vectors are not made up of pixels.

Instead, vector graphics are made from mathematical formulas and shapes, like lines, circles, and squares. When you make a vector graphic larger or smaller, the file size is not noticeably larger.

The most widely-used vector graphics editing program is Adobe Illustrator. Other alternatives include InkScape and Affinity Designer.

Web Design Languages

To be a web designer, you’ll need to learn a few different languages. Some of these are “markup” languages, while others are “programming” languages. This might sound like a complex concept, but it’s rather simple:

  • Markup languages format a document’s text and other elements. HTML is an example of a markup language. It organizes the content but doesn’t perform any computing actions itself.
  • Programming languages perform actions based on logical rules. JavaScript and PHP are commonly-used languages with WordPress. With them, you can create processes based on logic and other rules.


HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, is the basic language of web pages. It’s what makes up the structure of a webpage like the headings, paragraphs, and other elements.

HTML is very easy to learn and requires little-to-no technical knowledge. Virtually every web design class starts with a section on HTML, as it is the starting point for anything to do with websites.

HTML looks like this:

<p>This is a paragraph.</p>

Learn more about HTML.


Cascading Style Sheets, (CSS), is the language used to customize the fonts, colors, and other design elements of HTML items. CSS is very important to understand, as you cannot make any design changes without using it.

Normally, you put CSS code into .css files, but you can also add it directly to HTML files.

CSS looks like this:

body { color: blue; }

Thankfully, the basics of CSS are very simple to understand and virtually anyone can learn them in a few hours.

Learn more about CSS.

JavaScript (JS)

JavaScript is one of the most widely used programming languages on the web. It is used to add dynamic elements to your website. This means anything that is animated, moves, or is interactive will use JavaScript.

JavaScript code looks like this:

// Create and display a JavaScript variable:
var website = “Astra”;
document.getElementById(“demo”).innerHTML = website;

With technologies like node.js, JavaScript is increasingly used as a backend language, too. While you probably don’t need to worry about backend design as a web designer, it’s still nice that learning JavaScript is useful for these scenarios too.

Most web design courses will include sections on JavaScript.

Learn more about JavaScript.


PHP is another widely used programming language. While it isn’t normally used directly for designing things, it’s still very important to know.

WordPress is written in PHP, as are WordPress plugins. In fact, it’s common to add PHP code directly to your theme.

PHP looks like this:

echo “Hello World!”;

Learn more about PHP.


Bootstrap homapage

In addition to the languages listed above, you’ll probably also want to learn Bootstrap. Bootstrap is a free library that lets you quickly create attractive, responsive websites.

It is widely used by designers and developers to save themselves time when creating a new project or side project. Many web design courses include a section on Bootstrap.

Learn more about Bootstrap.

User Experience / User Interface (UX/UI)


While not strictly falling under the category of web design, UX/UI is still a useful topic to learn.

In essence, this is how interfaces and websites are designed. the best way to present a button, how certain actions appear on a two-dimensional screen, and so on.

The basics of UX/UI are very helpful for understanding the best way to create a website that is easy and enjoyable to use.

Learn more about UX/UI.

How to Evaluate Web Design Courses

Now that we know what we want to learn, let’s talk about evaluating courses. What should you look for? What factors should you take into consideration?


How large is your learning budget? How much are you willing to spend? It probably depends on the situation.

If you’re just creating a website for a personal project, you may not want to spend much, if any, money on a web design course.

But if you’re planning a career change and want to get the best education possible, you might not mind spending $50 or $100 on a course.

Pricing example

Experience Level of Teacher

How knowledgeable is the teacher (or teachers?) Are they well-known in the community? Are they qualified enough to teach you about web design?

Google the program and the teacher, if possible. Look for reviews and customer feedback, but also look for any information about the creator of the course.

What are their credentials and do they have a portfolio or examples of work they’ve done themselves?

Medium (Video, Text, Etc.)

How do you prefer to learn? By reading? By watching a video? Maybe a live course? Before choosing a course, try to experiment with different mediums to see which one works best for you.

Many courses offer a combination of reading and watching, while others only have videos or books.

Does It Lead to Employment?

If you are learning web design to get a better job, it is important to investigate the results that typical students get after going through the course.

Are they employed? At good jobs? How satisfied are they with the course?

employment example

Most free courses will not have any data on their job placements or customer satisfaction. However, many courses on paid platforms like Skillcrush have career counselors, statistics about their students, and other information.

Length and Depth of Material

If you are paying for the course, it pays to check out how much material you’re actually paying for. Is it a significant amount and worth the price of admission?

While this isn’t very important for free courses, it definitely is for paid courses! Especially if you are on a budget.

Builds a Portfolio of Real-World Projects

A very important (but often forgotten) aspect of web design is that you need to build projects, not simply read about them. Most courses will include some sections where you build projects in step-by-step fashion.

However, not all do this. Some only explain technologies, show a few examples, and assume that you’ll figure out the rest yourself.

Web Design Certificate or Qualification

udemy cert

Finally, you should decide if a web design certificate of completion or a credential is important to you. If you’re looking for a job at an older, more established corporation, it will probably be useful.

If you’re looking for work for a startup, however, it’s more likely that your portfolio of work projects will be more important.

In either case, if a credential is available, it’s probably a good idea to take it!

The 18 Best Online Web Design Courses for 2021

Now let’s delve into the web design courses themselves. They are categorized into three areas:

  • Completely free: These items are free and have no paywalls or other restrictions.
  • Freemium: These courses have both free and paid sections. Typically, the main part of the course is free while any extras or personalized support costs money.
  • Paid only: These are only accessible if you pay a fee. Usually the fees are fairly reasonable, or at least less than most universities! Some are monthly, while others are a one-time flat fee.

Completely Free Web Design Courses

These resources are completely free to use. There are no catches or gotchas — just free learning materials!

1. W3Schools

W3Schools Online Web Tutorials

Named after the World Wide Web, W3Schools is one of the oldest web design educational sites in the world. Originally started in 1998, the website has tons of free tutorials that cover every aspect of web design and development.

They also have a Try-It-Yourself section for nearly every guide, which is a big help for seeing how code actually works.

2. Free Code Camp

freeCodeCamp homepage is a totally free site with over 7,000 tutorials. As a nonprofit organization, it is dedicated to teaching people how to code.

One strong point of is that it offers completely free certificates in a number of useful web technologies. These include:

  • Responsive web design
  • JavaScript algorithms and data structures
  • Front end development libraries

…plus tons of other skills that are useful for any web designer.

3. Dash by General Assembly

Dash homepage

General Assembly is a coding bootcamp that offers numerous intensive courses. They also have a free course that teaches HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with small browser-based projects.

These cover new technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and the latest versions of JavaScript. You don’t need to sign up for a bootcamp to do the course, although you may want to after completing it.

4. Free Web Design Course by Flux

Free web design course by flux

This web design video course is one of the most popular on YouTube. With over 20 videos, you’ll learn everything you need to know.

The topics covered include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, wireframes, content structure, and more. It also covers useful background information, like the history of web design, typography, choosing images for your websites, layouts, colors and psychology, design hierarchy, UX/UI and home page design.

5. Programming with Mosh

Programming with Mosh

Programming with Mosh is another excellent YouTube channel that has a ton of free information about web design. Mosh is a good teacher and makes everything easy to understand, especially for those people that are completely new to computers and web design.

Mosh’s videos cover virtually every topic you’ll need to learn, including HTML, design, PHP, JavaScript, and other tips and tricks for being a great web designer and developer.

6. Khan Academy

Khan Academy courses

Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching just about everything, including science, mathematics, history, and art. One of these courses covers computer programming.

This computer programming course is an excellent introduction to basic concepts in web design, including the intricacies of HTML and CSS. There are also community forums in which you can get help from other users.

7. Mozilla

Learn web development ate mozilla

Mozilla is the organization that runs the Firefox web browser. They also have some helpful guides to creating websites.

Their online web design course is aimed at complete beginners, which makes it a great place to learn about web sites and web browsers.

Freemium Web Design Courses (Free with Paid Upgrades or Certifications)

These web courses are “freemium”, meaning that they have free content with paid upgrades or other benefits.

8. Codecademy

Codecademy homepage

Codecademy is an excellent website that has a ton of courses on different aspects of web design and development. Most of their courses are free to use, but you’ll need to sign up for a pro plan to gain access to extra features and content.

These start at $19 a month if billed yearly. Codecademy also has a large number of certifications available, which are definitely useful for career building.

9. Skillcrush

Skillcrush homepage

Skillcrush is a website aimed at those who want to change careers into web development. They have a number of different courses, most of which are paid.

However, they also have a free coding camp, which teaches you the basics of HTML, CSS, WordPress, and web design.

10. Future Learn

FutureLearn UX design and research

Future Learn partners with institutions like universities to teach different subjects. In partnership with the University of Michigan, they offer a course in UX Design and Research.

You can take the course for free, but if you want to receive the accreditation, you’ll need to pay $395.

11. Open Classrooms

Openclassrooms courses

OpenClassrooms has a large number of free courses on HTML, JavaScript, and other web design technologies. They also offer diplomas and certificates, which can help you find a job with your new skills.

Perhaps best of all, OpenClassrooms has career assistance and guarantees that you’ll find a job within 6 months of completing their program. If you don’t find a job, you’ll get your money back.

12. Coursera: Web Design for Everybody

Coursera Web design courses

This Coursera class is offered in partnership with the University of Michigan. In it, you’ll learn the basics of web design and development, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

You can view all of the class materials for free, but if you want to get the credit, you’ll need to pay extra.

Paid Web Design Courses

These courses are paid only. There is no free version available. However, they tend to be significantly more thorough and often provide services like career assistance and placement.

13. TreeHouse

Teamtreehouse Web Design Track

Treehouse has a huge library of classes on web design and development. Everything is based on “tracks”, which guide you through the different things you’ll need to learn for different job roles.

To take these courses, you’ll need to sign up for Treehouse’s monthly plan at $25/month.

Treehouse also offers “Techdegree”, a bootcamp program that helps you go through the entire library of their courses. This starts at $199 per month per course.

14. Udemy: Web Design for Beginners

Web Designing for Beginners course at udemy

This Udemy course is one of the more popular web design classes available. If you get it at a discount, it’s also quite affordable.

In the class, you’ll learn HTML, CSS, responsive design, and virtually everything else you’ll need to know to learn web design.

15. W3Cx’s Front-End Web Development Course

w3c web developer course

This course on edX will teach you HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other skills necessary to create interactive websites. It’s designed primarily to be done part-time, which makes it ideal for those with full-time jobs.

16. Frontend Masters

CSS Grids and Flexbox for Responsive Web Design frontendmasters

Frontend Masters is a site dedicated to frontend web development. This is a strength in comparison to many other options, which tend to cover “everything” related to web design.

They have over 100 different courses, which you can access by signing up for a monthly or yearly plan. These start at $39 per month.

Web design classes include website accessibility, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and more. Best of all, they are always adding new content to keep you continually up to date on the latest trends and developments.

Overall, Frontend Masters is an excellent choice for more intermediate or advanced users trying to take their skills to the next level.

17. Udacity Nanodegree: Front End Web Developer

Udacity front end web developer course

This “nanodegree” is a course in becoming a front end developer. In it, you’ll learn the skills needed to create a variety of different websites and online applications. It covers CSS, Flexbox, CSS Grid, UX/UI, JavaScript, and more.

It comes with a ton of content and usually takes students about 4 months to complete. As such, it is rather expensive, at a total price of $1,356.

18. Udemy: The Web Developer Bootcamp 2021

The Web Developer Bootcamp udemy course

With over 200,000 ratings, this course is one of the most popular web development classes on Udemy. You’ll learn everything you need to know to build modern websites, such as HTML, CSS, JS, node.js, and tons of other technologies.

In total, there are over 60 hours of lectures, which is a lot of content. Although it may seem expensive at $169.99, Udemy often runs discounts and deals, so be on the lookout for any sales or special offers.

Even if you don’t manage to find a discount, it’s still worthwhile and cheaper than many other alternatives.

Web Design Classes

Excited to begin your web design journey? You should now know exactly what you need to learn and where you can learn it. While there are a ton of resources available (too many, perhaps!) we hope this guide has helped you narrow down your choices.

In this post, we covered everything you need to know about becoming a web designer. Then we considered the different elements of web design classes and how to pick one that matches your goals.

Finally, we went through the absolute best web design courses online today.

How did you become a web designer? Did you use one of the resources above? Or a different one that we didn’t include? Let us know below!

This article was originally published here.


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Hiring During A Recession: ✋ 5 Things You Need To Do Differently

2022 is a tough year for the job market.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread economic disruption, with millions of Americans losing their jobs. And even now, as we’re clawing our way out of a pandemic economy, a period of major economic downturn looks inevitable. 
We learned a lot from the Great Recession of 2008, and while the situation is different this time around, the main lesson is still the same. 
During tough economic times, your hiring process needs to change.
But… are we actually in a recession?
Economists are divided on whether we’re currently experiencing a recession or not. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the body that usually declares it, is yet to give the official word.
It’s true that back-to-back negative GDP quarters and rising interest rates usually indicate a recession, but the story is more complicated than that.
Recessions in the U.S usually sees:

A sharp decrease in GDP (which we are seeing)
A sharp increase in unemployment (which we’re not)

These two factors usually feed into each other. A decrease in economic output means companies have to cut costs, resulting in layoffs and hiring freezes. People stop spending as much, leading to a decrease in business profit. And on it goes.

But in 2022, the unemployment rate has actually dropped. To 3.5% in July 2022, in fact – the lowest since February 2020.
This is consistent with what we’re hearing on the ground. Everyone we know seems to be hiring and struggling to fill positions. Yet, data shows that there are currently over 11 million unfilled jobs in the U.S.
The economic downturn may be caused by a lack of confidence in spending due to high inflation. This puts a strain on businesses, yes. But in a post-pandemic economy where workers are hard to come by, many business owners may be reluctant to cut costs by laying off workers.
That’s why economists speculate that if we do go into a recession in 2022, it won’t be like any recession that they’ve seen before.
What does this mean for those who are hiring?
This is a unique time for hirers.
We’ve seen the trend of the Great Resignation movement and very high job openings over the past two years.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Companies are still desperate to make hires, even as the economy is contracting. But this state is unsustainable.
Best case scenario: the economy improves, and output increases. But at some point, the economy may also contract to a point where businesses can no longer afford to make new hires. So they will either put hiring on hold or begin making cuts.
This is why it’s so important for hirers to focus on preparing and making the right hires now.
The market is candidate-driven right now, but that may change very quickly. As a result, recruiters and hiring managers must rethink their strategies and prioritize data-driven hires to help their businesses weather any economic storm.
5 Things You Need to Do Differently
Every recession comes with different challenges. But when hiring during a recession, there are key changes you can make to your hiring practices to ensure that the wheels keep moving, no matter what the world throws at you.
Tip 1: Streamline the Screening Process
The screening process is a lot. 
And this is especially relevant for those hiring in the tech industry.

The key is to make it easy for yourself.
If you can do it in one step, why take two?
Zone in on the key skills that you’re looking for in a candidate and choose the most efficient way to test them. That might mean adding a screening question to the application or one technical test instead of two.
The reality is that most applicants won’t make it to the interview stage, and you need to get to the most suitable candidates as quickly as possible.
The key is ensuring that each stage of the process is designed to assess a specific skill set or quality. This will help you weed out candidates who are not a good fit early on, saving you time and effort in the long run.
We go into a lot more details here on how you can speed up that screening process.
Tip 2: Move Quickly
Time is of the essence, and even more so when you’re hiring during a recession.
Hiring is a costly process, so make sure that you’re not burning money trying to get the perfect candidate. By the time you finish prospecting, they might already be snapped up by another company. Fast and attentive responses also tend to make a better impression on quality candidates.
If you’re scouting for some talent, you can reduce your time-to-hire and increase the chances of getting a response by using tools like Contact Out to get contacts on LinkedIn in seconds.
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It’s also not just about the efficiency of the tool but the accuracy. You can read some of our case studies to see how recruiters like yourself have streamlined their contact hunting process.

(Our email search database is pretty good too, just saying. Give it a shot.)
Tip 3: Focus on Fit
Talent acquisition during a recession is all about strategy.
Make sure you’re making decisions on your hiring plan and candidate selection that is based on the latest recruitment data. Predicting a realistic time-to-hire and anticipating likely issues will allow you to work more efficiently and save your company more money.
(This State of Tech Recruitment industry report is a good place to start if you’re in the tech industry.)
Make sure you’re clear about the role and level of expertise needed in the job descriptions, and focus on the most qualified candidates. It’s important at this time that you make decisions informed by the workplace atmosphere, the team, and the likelihood that the candidate will integrate well into the workplace.
Be aware also that a recession usually sees the older people in the workforce retire, which means that you need to fill spaces in those roles. Try to build succession lines early for a smoother transition and match the qualifications of the candidates to the holes the older employees will leave behind.
Tip 4: Build Your Network
It’s especially important to cultivate your circle of contacts before and during recession years.
Building personal relationships with top talent will make them more likely to hear you out when you’re headhunting. Knowing a candidate more personally will also speed up the screening process.
You can also cast your net wider to reach candidates beyond your immediate area and offer remote work as an option if the role you’re trying to fill allows that. Non-traditional talents and candidates on different continents may be the perfect fit for your business, and you won’t know until you send out feelers in their direction.
Having a wide network also lets you fish for candidates in the talent pool more effectively, and you’ll likely be able to find a guy who “knows a guy” that can get you in direct contact with them. This will help cut down that exhausting process of chasing down emails and phone numbers.
Tip 5: Listen
It’s a difficult time for everyone. Employers want to make sure they and the people that rely on them survive through the lean years. Unsurprisingly, this takes a mental toll on business owners and hiring managers.
Job seekers may also be desperate to land a job – any job, and headhunting candidates may be scared to leave secure positions in their current jobs for a new position.
You hold a lot of power in your role, and the most important thing to do in this situation is to listen.
What do employers need? What do candidates prioritize?
In a long period of insecurity, you might see people with talent turn down dream jobs for one that offers better wages and benefits. But the story is different for every field, and some candidates will turn down better pay and benefits for more job security.
On the flip side – our studies reveal that if you’re a recruiter in the tech industry, you’re more likely to get candidate rejections.

So make sure you respond with empathy during each step of the process, and take it easy on yourself if you’re having a hard time filling roles (especially for the tech recruiters reading this!) 
A recession is a hard time to get through for everyone, but we won’t get through it by being callous about people’s needs.
A little kindness is free and goes a long way in tough times 💖
Recruiting is hard enough…
And recessions make everything harder. But as with everything, being prepared and bracing for the worst will help you weather the storm.
But remember! In times of crisis, put on your own oxygen mask before helping other passengers with theirs.
Your role takes a mental toll, and being in the trenches recruiting during a recession means that you see the front lines of it more than other people. Take care to plan with your mental health in mind. Any strategy that compromises your mental state is unsustainable.
Lean on the resources available to you, and let’s get through this together!

Ready to speed up your recruiting process? Get started with Contact Out for free today.

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How to nail candidate fit for every tech role 🎯

Achieving candidate fit in tech roles is harder than ever – which is the main reason tech role hire time has increased from 29 to 43 days.
Tech recruiters now spend 20 hours per hire on candidate screening calls alone.
(That’s 50% longer than their counterparts from other industries!)
Recruiters from some companies (Canva, Microsoft, Netflix, and Shopify) now spend more than 10 hours of their week just screening candidates on the phone.
That’s a lot of calls — and a lot of time — spent talking to candidates. Most who won’t meet the hiring manager’s criteria (or who won’t find the job offer appealing.)
But why — and what to do about it?
In this article, we’ll answer both of these questions.
Why finding a fitting candidate is hard from the tech recruiter side
Getting the right candidate fit is the most important thing to get right in any company.
Hiring the right person means lower worker turnover, higher engagement, increased productivity, and greater consistency for operations. 
A hiring manager can have the wrong vision, the wrong skills, and be poor operationally but still succeed if they have great people reporting to them.
In tech, “good on paper” does not mean candidate fit
When searching for the perfect candidate, tech recruiters receive a set of criteria from the hiring manager that are based on what they consider to be quality.
Hiring managers might overemphasize candidate filters that worked in the past (or filters that find them candidates like themselves.) 
They may ask for only candidates who graduated from a top 20 university, who have certain certifications, have specific degrees, or self-proclaimed skills.
Tech recruiters will then diligently run through a process of candidate list building, outreach, and screening, to send hiring managers the candidates they will like.

The reality is, skills and backgrounds — the very thing tech recruiters are filtering for during this process — are poor indicators of tech team success.
Harvard business scholar Frans Johansson talks about this in his groundbreaking study The Medici Effect. High-performing teams (like all teams) thrive when they contain all kinds of geographic, academic, ethnic, and experiential backgrounds.
And tech is no exception. 
Top teams of engineers and developers include everything from PhDs, to dropouts, to candidates who learned their skills mid-career.
Instead of just filtering for the “good on paper” attributes a hiring manager asks for, tech recruiters should identify candidates who:

Have the competency to perform the tasks the company needs
Have the intrinsic motivation to do the work

Measuring competency with take home challenges
Regardless of the candidate’s background, the only way to assess their competency is with a take home challenge.
Live brain teasers (Google famously asking candidates how many golf balls would fit in a Boeing 747) and live coding challenges do assess how tech workers work under pressure. 
But these are neither the work the candidate will do, nor the way they’ll do it.
No engineer works with their manager standing over them watching their performance. And they won’t be working out the relative volume of sports equipment and jet airplanes.
They will, however, be working on the company’s codebase — and on company projects. 
A take home challenge can assess this.
For example, ask the candidate how they would design software architecture for a project similar to one that has recently been completed.

It’s much easier for a head of engineering to assess a candidate’s competency if the problem relates to something that head has recently solved.
A challenge (typically taking 30 minutes to 4 hours to complete) will also help gauge the motivation of the candidate.
Typically, about 70% of candidates will complete a challenge when offered one.
If your rates are lower, either the challenge is too hard (or too confusing), or the candidate loses interest in the role before they will themselves through the task.
Lack of interest usually means the tech recruiter isn’t tapping into the candidate’s intrinsic motivation enough.
Measuring tech candidate intrinsic motivation
No matter a tech worker’s competency, they will only be productive if they have the intrinsic motivation to keep working — despite the inevitable frustration that comes with challenging work.
As world-renowned productivity expert Charles Duhigg writes in his book Smarter, Better, Faster, extrinsic motivation (primarily compensation, status, and fringe benefits like remote work and flex time) are short-term and don’t last. 
Our own recent study confirms Duhigg’s assessment, as tech recruiters reported that candidates care even less about extrinsic motivators than workers from other industries.
The factor tech workers care most about — impact — means “the opportunity to grow the company and make their mark.” 
This is at the top of the list for intrinsic motivators, a list which also includes:

Challenge (goals just daunting enough to deliver a sense of accomplishment)
Personal growth (not professional, job title-related)
Team (and the energy they can provide the candidate)

Tech recruiters deliver candidates with higher productivity, longevity, and quality when they spend their screening call time assessing these four intrinsic motivators for a candidate.
Some good questions to ask to assess these motivators include:

How much do you know about what our company does and why we’re doing it?
How would two years at this job get you two years closer to your personal and professional goals?
What challenges in your professional history have kept you most engaged and why?
Talk about the types of team collaboration you have thrived with in the past.

Level up your tech recruitment
As introduced above, achieving perfect candidate fit in tech roles comes down to talking about what they value. 
Our free report on the state of tech recruitment identifies 10 key takeaways to take the anxiety out of the hardest industry to recruit for.

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Tech recruiters get rejected by candidates most often — Here’s how to get more positive responses ✨

Tech recruiters have the toughest job in recruitment — by far.
Tech workers are so highly sought after, it’s hard just to get a response. Tech recruiters spend 1.9 hours longer each week doing outreach than recruiters from other industries.
But even when they get a response, tech recruiters face rejection much more often.
In our recent survey, tech recruiters told us that 43% of candidate responses were negative, vs. just 27% for other recruiters.
The top negative responses being:

“I’m not interested in this job”
“I’m not interested in any job”
“I don’t want to be contacted by you under any circumstances”

That means when tech recruiters get an email — ping! — every other response is likely to be a candidate complaining in some way about the job offer.

Tech workers are interested – in the right email!
Despite the difficulty in finding a candidate who matches a job requisition, 80% of tech workers surveyed said they would change jobs this year, and 73% talk to a recruiter each month.
So then, the keys to increasing the rate of positive candidate response in tech recruitment?
Here are the 4 most important ones.

Talk to them about impact.
We mentioned previously that candidates are only interested in one aspect of a job – impact. Or specifically, “the opportunity to grow the company and make their mark.”
Getting clear on that, and focusing on it in the initial email, will start the conversation in the right direction.
For example, instead of simply talking about the salary and job title, mentioning that the candidate could…

“help 10,000,000 introverts exercise without gym anxiety” 

“save coders across the world millions of hours of time” 

…with their work will help them frame why the job matters.
After all, when they change jobs, they have to tell their friends and loved ones. Make it easy for them to put an aspirational reason behind their decision.

Turn rejection into referral.
I use a method recommended by TripleByte co-founder and Y Combinator partner Harj Taggar (which I’ve dubbed “rejection referrals”) to hire many of the 60 new staff brought into ContactOut this year.
Whenever I get a negative response from a tech candidate, I ask them if they can refer someone else.Just doing this one thing increased our positive response rate for product managers in the sparse Singaporean job market by 30%.

Mention the compensation range in the email.
Although compensation alone isn’t usually enough to entice the best tech workers, 79% prefer to see a compensation range in the email. Truth is, “competitive pay and benefits” just won’t cut it in 2023.
Candidates will respond more positively if you include pay transparency in the initial outreach email.
And increasingly, laws are requiring it. With new pay transparency laws cropping up in Colorado, New York City, and Washington state, now is a good time to get ahead of this recruitment trend.
It’s good for you, too. As I mentioned in another blog post, this also saves you and the candidate time. Why spend 30 minutes in a screening call with a candidate only to learn that you can’t afford them?

Save the non-job-related personalization for the P.S.
Personalization in recruitment outreach emails is powerful – but can come across as awkward and insincere if you quickly move from:“Hey Peter, I see we’re both mountain climbers!”
“Now, let’s talk about this role that’s open…”
A better way? Open the email with the reason they stood out as a candidate for the job.

“I see you were a top performer at…”
“I see you helped Company XYZ scale from…”
“Person XYZ recommended I reach out to you…”

And save the non-job-related personalization for the p.s. at the bottom of the email.
When you read an email, your eye always goes to the p.s. — so people won’t miss it.

I get about 25% more positive responses with the personalized p.s. than without it.
It turns any cold email warmer. I can mention that you and I both went to the same university, both volunteer for the same cause, or even just to mention how impressed I am about your startup, patent, or cool project.

Level up your tech recruitment
The full study has many more insights that will help tech recruiters perform better in 2022 — get into “the 30% club” and accelerate your own career. Here’s how:

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