5 Signs a Talented Engineer Wants to Change Jobs

Are you on the lookout for talented tech engineers?

We know they can be difficult to spot, let alone encourage to sit down with you and look at what you have on offer. Top tech talent are being hammered by recruiters and often simply ignore messages that appear to be “selling” them on a job opportunity.

Know what one of the major problems is with how we approach engineers? Poor timing. You might have found the right person, but you’re approaching them at the wrong time. They’re comfortable or enthusiastic about where they are and they’re not ready for a change.

What signs should you look for to suggest a talented engineer is ready to change jobs? Here are a few thoughts:

[content_upgrade cu_id=”93″]Where can you look for tech talent? Get our quick guide here. [content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]

#1. Your Contacts Tell You

It’s hardly ever easy as an unknown outsider to determine when someone is truly ready to leave their job. Most people will play that card quite close to their own chest, protecting the role they currently have for now.

This is why it’s very important for engineering managers to build their networks and get to know people widely outside of the workplace. It’s not just who you know, it’s who they know too, which will help you to identify possible candidates.

Most tech professionals (who value their reputations) will not be openly posting on Facebook the old “my job sucks and my boss is an ***” status. You probably don’t really want to hire the type of person who would be this short-sighted anyway. They may, however, make discreet inquiries among their contacts or start asking questions about what is going on in other workplaces.

If you’ve developed a good relationship with people, you may also find yourself on the spot when they confide that they aren’t feeling challenged or that they’re not enjoying the atmosphere in their current team.

The point is that it’s almost never obvious as an outsider exactly when a talented engineer is ready to change jobs, but you can put yourself in a better position to identify them early when they’ve made the decision.

A man reads a newspaper by the wall.
A man reads a newspaper by the wall.

Photo credit: garryknight via VisualHunt.com

#2. They’re Updating Profiles

Most people will have profiles in all sorts of corners of the internet which are ripe for monitoring activity. It may sound a bit stalker-ish, but if you can determine that someone has been updating their professional profiles recently, especially if that isn’t a regular occurrence, then it may be a sign they’re on the hunt for a new opportunity.

You may have your eye on certain talented people you’ve shortlisted or you may only be beginning your search, but here are a few places to check:

  • Their online portfolios. Have they recently spruced them up?
  • LinkedIn profile. Check for them updating their summary and experience.
  • Inbound.org. You can join (free), then under the members tab you can check the “is looking for work” box and search for certain skills or locations. It will pull up anyone who has “looking for work” checked in their profile.
  • GitHub. Email addresses are available in profile information (although not always provided). You can use this to search other profiles such as Twitter or LinkedIn.
  • Stack Overflow. Search under “users” for tags related to the role you’re looking for and look for top-rated users (a larger number next to their user name means they’ve had a lot of upvotes for questions and answers).

inbound.org

#3. Look for the Undervalued

This takes a combination of skill and luck, but if you’re willing to look outside of the major, well-known companies, there are a wealth of possible candidates working in roles where they feel bored and undervalued. (Note: Never assume that just because they’re working for an unknown, that’s how they’ll feel!).

Being tuned-in via networks to what’s happening across the industry can help. Word soon gets out if the environment at X company has become toxic or if they have top talent who are left begging for more challenging work.

Workers who aren’t being used to their full potential are often the first to be job-hunting in the tech world. Many are looking for a role which will challenge them, encourage them to develop further skills, and provide projects they find meaningful.

Without being overly arrogant about it, you tend to know if your company is likely to provide more challenging or more meaningful work, so employees who fit this profile are worth taking a look at.

#4. They’re “Marketing” Themselves

One of the top pieces of advice given to those who are thinking about moving on from their current job is to start boosting their own profile. For tech talent, this might include doing things like:

  • Contributing to open-source projects (you may be able to find some good candidates by searching GitHub, as an example).
  • Starting or ramping up their own blog or making more contributions to publishing platforms such as Medium or LinkedIn.
  • Other content production or “personal branding” activity, such as podcasts, books, or magazine articles.
  • Increasing their activity on networking sites or participating more in networking events.
  • Revealing side-projects they’ve been working on.
  • Expanding their skill-base and updating profiles to show they are more “valuable.”

Bear in mind that as with any other “sign”, a talented engineer marketing themselves doesn’t automatically mean they’re trying to move on from their job. Perhaps they have other reasons for boosting their profile, such as for a side project they’re working on or because their hat is in the ring for a promotion where they are.

Look at these signs of “marketing” along with other possible signs like the updating of profiles. The chances are good that someone who is looking to make a move will exhibit several of these things.

#5. They’re on AngelList

This is another “sign” which may not be a sign at all, but is certainly possible to find talented engineers looking for a new job.

AngelList’s primary purpose is for investors to find tech companies that are looking for angel investment. Regardless of this initial purpose, it has become a platform where everyone who is up there in the tech world has a profile on display. They also have a function for advertising or finding startup jobs, so you may have some luck simply by placing an ad.

You’ll obviously have to look through profiles, but there are often plenty of examples of one or two person teams who are there because they would like to get acquired or get themselves hired into a good organization.

Searching the site is relatively easy. Just click on the “people” tab and use filters such as job title, location, school, market, or company. If you don’t find a lot of information on the person’s AngelList profile, you can always look to their attached social profiles.

angellist

[content_upgrade cu_id=”93″]Find top tech talent! Get our free guide for where to look.[content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]

Follow the Signs…

Oftentimes, the signs people give that they’re ready to change jobs are subtle, but someone who is serious about moving on will tend to exhibit more than one sign.

The examples given here may indicate that someone is ready to find a new role, or they may just be part of their regular “housekeeping” routine. If you don’t want to be chasing random flares, look for more than one sign rather than following every isolated possibility.
Above all, the most obvious signs come when you’ve made the effort to tune in to networks. Keep an ear to the ground and get to know people. The surest sign someone is ready to move is because they said so themselves, whether outright or as an indication that they’re not feeling “challenged.” Be ready to follow up.

Are you on the lookout for talented tech engineers?

We know they can be difficult to spot, let alone encourage to sit down with you and look at what you have on offer. Top tech talent are being hammered by recruiters and often simply ignore messages that appear to be “selling” them on a job opportunity.

Know what one of the major problems is with how we approach engineers? Poor timing. You might have found the right person, but you’re approaching them at the wrong time. They’re comfortable or enthusiastic about where they are and they’re not ready for a change.

What signs should you look for to suggest a talented engineer is ready to change jobs? Here are a few thoughts:

[content_upgrade cu_id=”93″]Where can you look for tech talent? Get our quick guide here. [content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]

#1. Your Contacts Tell You

It’s hardly ever easy as an unknown outsider to determine when someone is truly ready to leave their job. Most people will play that card quite close to their own chest, protecting the role they currently have for now.

This is why it’s very important for engineering managers to build their networks and get to know people widely outside of the workplace. It’s not just who you know, it’s who they know too, which will help you to identify possible candidates.

Most tech professionals (who value their reputations) will not be openly posting on Facebook the old “my job sucks and my boss is an ***” status. You probably don’t really want to hire the type of person who would be this short-sighted anyway. They may, however, make discreet inquiries among their contacts or start asking questions about what is going on in other workplaces.

If you’ve developed a good relationship with people, you may also find yourself on the spot when they confide that they aren’t feeling challenged or that they’re not enjoying the atmosphere in their current team.

The point is that it’s almost never obvious as an outsider exactly when a talented engineer is ready to change jobs, but you can put yourself in a better position to identify them early when they’ve made the decision.

A man reads a newspaper by the wall.
A man reads a newspaper by the wall.

Photo credit: garryknight via VisualHunt.com

#2. They’re Updating Profiles

Most people will have profiles in all sorts of corners of the internet which are ripe for monitoring activity. It may sound a bit stalker-ish, but if you can determine that someone has been updating their professional profiles recently, especially if that isn’t a regular occurrence, then it may be a sign they’re on the hunt for a new opportunity.

You may have your eye on certain talented people you’ve shortlisted or you may only be beginning your search, but here are a few places to check:

  • Their online portfolios. Have they recently spruced them up?
  • LinkedIn profile. Check for them updating their summary and experience.
  • Inbound.org. You can join (free), then under the members tab you can check the “is looking for work” box and search for certain skills or locations. It will pull up anyone who has “looking for work” checked in their profile.
  • GitHub. Email addresses are available in profile information (although not always provided). You can use this to search other profiles such as Twitter or LinkedIn.
  • Stack Overflow. Search under “users” for tags related to the role you’re looking for and look for top-rated users (a larger number next to their user name means they’ve had a lot of upvotes for questions and answers).

inbound.org

#3. Look for the Undervalued

This takes a combination of skill and luck, but if you’re willing to look outside of the major, well-known companies, there are a wealth of possible candidates working in roles where they feel bored and undervalued. (Note: Never assume that just because they’re working for an unknown, that’s how they’ll feel!).

Being tuned-in via networks to what’s happening across the industry can help. Word soon gets out if the environment at X company has become toxic or if they have top talent who are left begging for more challenging work.

Workers who aren’t being used to their full potential are often the first to be job-hunting in the tech world. Many are looking for a role which will challenge them, encourage them to develop further skills, and provide projects they find meaningful.

Without being overly arrogant about it, you tend to know if your company is likely to provide more challenging or more meaningful work, so employees who fit this profile are worth taking a look at.

#4. They’re “Marketing” Themselves

One of the top pieces of advice given to those who are thinking about moving on from their current job is to start boosting their own profile. For tech talent, this might include doing things like:

  • Contributing to open-source projects (you may be able to find some good candidates by searching GitHub, as an example).
  • Starting or ramping up their own blog or making more contributions to publishing platforms such as Medium or LinkedIn.
  • Other content production or “personal branding” activity, such as podcasts, books, or magazine articles.
  • Increasing their activity on networking sites or participating more in networking events.
  • Revealing side-projects they’ve been working on.
  • Expanding their skill-base and updating profiles to show they are more “valuable.”

Bear in mind that as with any other “sign”, a talented engineer marketing themselves doesn’t automatically mean they’re trying to move on from their job. Perhaps they have other reasons for boosting their profile, such as for a side project they’re working on or because their hat is in the ring for a promotion where they are.

Look at these signs of “marketing” along with other possible signs like the updating of profiles. The chances are good that someone who is looking to make a move will exhibit several of these things.

#5. They’re on AngelList

This is another “sign” which may not be a sign at all, but is certainly possible to find talented engineers looking for a new job.

AngelList’s primary purpose is for investors to find tech companies that are looking for angel investment. Regardless of this initial purpose, it has become a platform where everyone who is up there in the tech world has a profile on display. They also have a function for advertising or finding startup jobs, so you may have some luck simply by placing an ad.

You’ll obviously have to look through profiles, but there are often plenty of examples of one or two person teams who are there because they would like to get acquired or get themselves hired into a good organization.

Searching the site is relatively easy. Just click on the “people” tab and use filters such as job title, location, school, market, or company. If you don’t find a lot of information on the person’s AngelList profile, you can always look to their attached social profiles.

angellist

[content_upgrade cu_id=”93″]Find top tech talent! Get our free guide for where to look.[content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]

Follow the Signs…

Oftentimes, the signs people give that they’re ready to change jobs are subtle, but someone who is serious about moving on will tend to exhibit more than one sign.

The examples given here may indicate that someone is ready to find a new role, or they may just be part of their regular “housekeeping” routine. If you don’t want to be chasing random flares, look for more than one sign rather than following every isolated possibility.
Above all, the most obvious signs come when you’ve made the effort to tune in to networks. Keep an ear to the ground and get to know people. The surest sign someone is ready to move is because they said so themselves, whether outright or as an indication that they’re not feeling “challenged.” Be ready to follow up.

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