I recently took some time to answer a question on Quora, What are the best job boards for hiring web developers? This is very similar to a recent post of mine but that was actually written about a year ago and my thinking has changed a bit. Below is how I answer that question today.
I think your best option for hiring a great web developer isn't a job board. Instead I would show up to local meetups and user groups, maybe sponsor some pizza, and I would do that for a year before I actually needed someone. I think taking the time to create real connections with the local community is your best option.
Another way to do it is to reach out to your local coworking spaces. Those places attract startup minded people and a large percentage of them tend to be web developers. The folks who run the spaces usually have a good feel for who's good and who's available.
Last but not least, to actually answer the question that was asked, the best job boards are still the mainstays that you've already heard of:
A word of caution. I run an applicant tracking system for small businesses so I have the opportunity to measure the outcomes from lot's of job postings. It is not unusual for a company to spend $400 on a dice posting and get no usable candidates from it. On the other hand some dice job postings produce bucketloads good candidates. It really depends on your location. Monster and careerbuilder are just as expensive but produce slightly better results. Indeed, simplyhired, and craigslist perform a little better still, but they're so affordable ($20-$60) that it's foolish not to use them
The main difference is that I’m not nearly as bullish on dice.com as I used to be. I’ve just seen too many companies who have spent significant money with dice and gotten no candidates they could use.
On the other hand I absolutely believe that every company should be using paid postings on craigslist, Indeed, and simplyhired. That’s right, I think every company should buy a paid posting not just on one, but on all three. The reason is simple, they’re affordable and they produce results. You can post to all three for about $130. It’s the best recruiting money you’ll ever spend.
Notice I didn’t mention connecting on LinkedIn. That was just an oversight on my part. LinkedIn is just another tool that you can use to connect with your local developer community. It really fits in with the connect with the community for a year before you need someone comment.
Using coworking spaces is new. The people who run coworking spaces can be a great resource, especially if you’re looking for a developer who is independent and entrepreneurial. Developers flock to these places for meetups, user groups, and just for a nice place to work and meet with clients.
So good luck, and remember, developers aren’t commodities. There is a huge, huge difference in the work produced by a great developer and the work produced by an average developer. It’s well worth the extra effort to find the great ones.