If you’re a recruiter for the tech industry, you’ve probably worked out very quickly that it’s a challenging field.
Recruiters everywhere bemoan the fact that finding and attracting top talent is difficult. A lot of the time when you do find talented prospects, they aren’t interested or they simply don’t respond to any inquiries.
The truth is, the best people out there are getting so used to being bombarded with offers that they’re becoming jaded about being approached. They get annoyed with obvious “template” emails and they often feel that the recruiter simply hasn’t done their homework.
Nevertheless, you still have a job to do, so what can recruiters do to better attract the best tech people?
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#1. Take a Human Approach
First of all, the copied and pasted template message sent through LinkedIn needs to go. Those types of messages are very transparent in that receivers know the same message has probably gone out to dozens of others, and they’re simply ineffective.
Take a more human approach and avoid the template. It might take a little longer, but if you’ve developed a good process for narrowing down potential candidates, you should then look to their individual profiles to figure out how to make a more personal approach. What have they worked on that has relevance? What can you mention about how they personally could be a good fit?
Send an individualized message and send it by email (if you can get their address). LinkedIn inboxes are often ignored due to being hit so often by recruitment requests.
#2. Bring in an Expert
Do you know what you’re looking at when attempting to assess the tech skills and qualifications of a potential candidate? A frequent complaint of tech people is that the recruiter obviously didn’t know what they were talking about and that this lack of knowledge meant they were wasting the time of the potential candidate.
The best people will know immediately if you don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to tech skills. If you can’t be sure that you’re assessing the right things in the right way, then you will automatically lose credibility and trust with the candidate.
One solution can be to team up with someone who is technically savvy and in a better position to help you assess those tech skills. You want to present a professional front to the candidate, but you also want to be able to provide the hiring client with a good selection of possibilities. Enlist someone who knows what they’re talking about.
#3. Keep the Process Simple
The “war for talent” is real and top tech people are snapped up very quickly. Within your recruiting process, you need to be able to strike a good balance that allows you to assess the suitability of candidates while not dragging out the process for too long. Those with lengthy, involved recruiting periods can very quickly find that talent has moved on to quicker competitors.
How can you speed things up? One of the lengthiest parts tends to be screening, so you need to have a process for screening quickly yet accurately. Using a good tech recruiting tool can help you out here. HumanPredictions was developed specifically for tech recruiting and will scour areas online that are exclusive to tech talent. You can narrow your pool with regard to skill and experience required very quickly, and then it’s up to you to reach out to the right people.
Reducing the time taken to reach a hiring decision matters significantly. Once you have a narrowed field, we would highly recommend that managers who know the specific talent they need get involved with the process to speed things along.
#4. Emphasize Values
Silicon Valley has become renowned for the vast range of enticements offered to try and keep tech employees happy. Benefits such as catered meals and onsite gyms might be appealing to many, but it can leave smaller companies who can’t offer such extensive packages out in the cold.
How can you compete if you’re working for one of those smaller companies? Remember that physical benefits aren’t everything to many people. Often it’s those more intangible things that are higher up the list of concerns. For example:
- What values does this company have? Are they a fit with my own?
- What kind of people work here? Will I enjoy working with them?
- Will I work on meaningful projects?
- Will I have the opportunity to expand my skills and knowledge?
Holly Glover wrote a piece for LinkedIn where she emphasized needing to understand what people’s true motivators are. While benefits still rank highly, other factors such as whether there is good work/life balance and whether the work will be challenging were also up there.
Source: Holly Glover on LinkedIn
You might not be offering the job with the fattest salary or the best benefits package, but what else are you offering that is a motivator for the individual candidate? Sometimes those large establishments offering catered food at all hours of the day convey the sense that their team members will be expected to work at all hours. Perhaps balance is a bit better in the company you are recruiting for.
#5. Know the Basics
There isn’t really any way around it: If you’re in tech recruiting for the long-haul, then you’re going to need to speak the lingo if you want better success. You need to at least be familiar with different coding skill sets and what those entail.
It helps to be able to speak to developers in their own language. You don’t have to know everything, but knowing enough to separate out likely from unlikely candidates saves time all around.
Another thing to bear in mind here is that knowledge of a particular programming language is not enough. More often it is knowledge of actual tools, frameworks, and libraries that will be the clincher as to whether the candidate is suitable or not. Many recruiters favor testing coders in a natural environment as a way to be sure they’re up to the job. This means getting them to solve a programming challenge in a way which they normally would at work.
#6. Cast a Wide (But Narrow) Net
What do we mean? Many recruiters use the basics such as LinkedIn and Twitter for sourcing tech talent. These platforms can provide you with a huge number of potential candidates, but there will be a large variance between those who are likely and those who aren’t.
You’ll find that the very best tech talent are often not bothering with LinkedIn at all. They’re so used to fending off many different approaches that they ignore it. You need to look further afield, but in places where talented tech people tend to congregate.
Here are some examples:
- Stack Overflow
- Ruby Gems
The other thing to remember in a relatively narrow field of talent is that there are many “overlooked” candidates to be found out there. Perhaps they didn’t attend a “top” school on the list or work at a well-known company, but they have great project experience. Also look for talent who are emerging from programs that encourage diversity in tech, such as Girls Who Code.
#7. Be Precise
Sometimes you don’t get the best job descriptions to work with as provided by your client, but try to work with them to create very precise descriptions and advertisements.
This is helpful because use of vague terms such as “rockstar” don’t encourage or inform applicants—they want to know exactly what the requirement is. Secondly, it helps to avoid getting a bunch of applicants who will be unsuitable.
Helpful things to include in description might include examples of the kinds of projects the role has worked on previously or can expect to work on in the future.
Not who you’re recruiting for? Use precise language.
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Finding the Right Talent
You can find yourself with a real challenge on your hands as a recruiter. If you’re approaching seasoned tech talent, then they’ve heard it all before and have probably become jaded about hearing you out.
What you need is to establish some level of trust with potential candidates from the beginning. Tips such as taking a more personal approach and having an understanding of the appropriate language will help.
Seek to keep the process as streamlined as possible and to avoid wasting anyone’s time. Be precise about what is required and remember the less tangible benefits people will be motivated by. It’s not always about money and onsite gyms.