How are you finding your experience with tech recruiting?
If you’re like most employers and recruiters in the tech industry, you probably find that it’s not easy. In a highly competitive industry, it’s just plain hard getting the best people—those who you really want to take your team forward— onboard.
Our founders have backgrounds in tech recruitment and have put a lot of research into what’s going on, what’s working, and what the challenges are. One of the common things we hear is something like this:
“I spend a lot of time sourcing great candidates and use an outreach template that seems to work okay. Isn’t that best practice?”
First of all, what do you mean by “okay?” Are you able to quickly find exactly who you need to fill the role? Secondly, if you’re spending “a lot of time” sourcing, is there a chance that you have other, important things to do which would benefit if you could cut that time down?
There is a better way to get better results in less time. Here’s how to flip the script on tech recruiting:
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#1. Source More Precisely
We really haven’t done much to improve how tech recruiting goes down in a long time. Sure, we’ve got the assistance now of modern technology to help us search online data and narrow down candidates, but the problem is that “big data” is often simply too big.
What exactly are those recruiters who are spending “a lot of time” sourcing doing? Many are combing for hours on end through potential “hits” for candidates and still finding that what they end up with isn’t what they envisaged. After all, when you receive a list of hundreds—possibly thousands—of data matches, you’re going to stop somewhere, right? There’s a good chance that the person you really wanted is somewhere in the depths of that data, as yet undiscovered.
Here are some of the key problems with the data recruiters are getting from LinkedIn and other sources:
Poor timing. A lot of the time, you’re on LinkedIn or other social networks and sending out “cold” messages based on the information on the user profile matching something in your data. These messages are often being sent to prospective candidates who are relatively happily working for another company and comfortable in the role they already have. What you don’t know is whether or not they’re looking around or even interested in a role elsewhere.
Poor timing may account for a considerable part of why sourcing candidates might take longer than it needs to. If your timing is off, you’ll get a polite decline at best, but otherwise may get either no response or a firmly worded request to back off.
Too much information. You need precise, targeted information, but you get a vast list that requires combing through. That really blows. You have people on the list who are nowhere near qualified and who have been picked out by a single keyword, whether or not that actually denotes the required experience. Couple that with poor timing and your sourcing process is taking far longer than it needs to.
Looking in the wrong places. “Conventional” wisdom might tell you that LinkedIn as a career-focused social network would be the perfect place to look, right? It’s true that you might find some decent candidates there, but it’s also true that you can waste a whole lot of time barking up the wrong tree.
Senior tech talent have even stated that LinkedIn has become “useless” for them. Check out this description from one senior developer on Medium:
“Once a developer has built up a track record and any kind of following (blogs, books, conferences, Twitter, etc…), recruiters zoom in on that social proof. They know that those candidates will be hot prospects, and that they’ll earn more money for referring them than they could referring junior developers.
This means that LinkedIn gradually becomes a useless social network for senior developers. It’s flooded with recruiters promising the perfect fit at the coolest company in the coolest space — maybe one in a thousand actually delivers on those promises. For me, LinkedIn is a glorified resume, not a social network. I ignore all of its messaging features.”
If you’ve had trouble with getting any kind of response from senior tech talent through LinkedIn or other social media avenues, the above could be your answer. He goes on to describe how recruiters even called his family trying to get to him—cue reasons for contempt against recruiters.
So if your usual sourcing methods are taking much more time than necessary, what does a better way to source look like?
#2. Use Tools Wisely
By all means, use technology to help with the sourcing process, but understand that some of the “data” tools are possibly lengthening, rather than streamlining, your process. Use the right kind of tools to shorten the time spent on sourcing, but, as we’ll cover next, don’t then take the approach of templated, cold messaging.
The technology side of recruiting is obviously close to our hearts—we have created a tool designed to gather better data with Human Predictions. The idea is that we can do better than the mistakes seen in the last section by predicting the right timing for a candidate and by sourcing from better, more narrowly focused public data.
That being said, while we advocate for technology speeding up sourcing, we feel a real “flipping of the script” needs to acknowledge a few things:
- Senior talent is now leary of recruitment approaches.
- One of the top complaints is a lack of personalization. People have quickly worked out that their colleague downstairs got the exact same message.
- Resumes don’t generally help to determine coding ability.
- “Elitist” requirements (“must have come from one of these X schools”, “must have worked for one of these X companies”), ignores a huge number of highly qualified people. You may see it as a way to narrow your data, but so does everyone else.
The tools are there to help, but now you should spend your time on more personalized outreach for likely candidates.
#3. Spend More Time on Personalized Outreach
We’ve said this before and you’ll hear it again: We need to make recruiting “human” again. That means getting senior engineers involved with outreach and recruiting and taking a more personalized approach to tech candidates, even if you are using a recruiter to do so.
Strip out any “recruit speak” from your communications and get to know people on a more personal level, even if that means asking them to meet for coffee or perhaps inviting them to an event you are hosting.
Some people balk at this due to the perception that it takes more time to get to know candidates properly and do research before getting hold of them, but, how well is the “template” method really working?
The chances are you’re spending a lot of time creating a shortlist, then not enough time on actually approaching people personally—a method that should be flipped if you want results. If you’re using the right kind of tool to save you sourcing time, then you should be able to use some of what you saved for better outreach.
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It’s time to take tech recruiting to the next level. You don’t need to settle for mediocre or “okay” results when you could be following a more efficient process for sourcing and outreach.
Many tools result in too much data, meaning you’re wasting a lot of time combing through and could easily miss good prospects. Use a much more targeted tool to shorten your sourcing time.
It doesn’t end there though. If you want results, forget trying to approach senior engineers through templated messaging. Take some of the time you saved on sourcing and use it to hone your outreach to a more personalized approach. You’ll get better results from taking a “human” approach to recruiting.