Tech Recruiting: Improve your outreach ROI

At humanpredictions, we detect signals that tech people leave on public websites indicating they are open to making a move. We use those signals to form our proprietary “hp Priority” score. When recruiters focus their time and energy on high hp Priority scored candidates, they increase their rate of placement and have a higher return on investment with outreach efforts.

People want to know how we do it.  Recruiters are asking: “What kinds of signals do we use to form the hp Priority score?”

We’re going to let you in — just a little bit — behind the scenes to get a sense of how and why our proprietary technology works as well as it does.

There are a lot of signals that people leave in the aether when they poke around to see what’s out there.  Sometimes the signals are left intentionally. But, more often than not, the signal is left unintentionally.

When poking around, technical folks deviate from their habitual behavior patterns. Recruiters should pay attention to these slight deviations from habit when deciding if a candidate is ready to hear about new opportunities.

Here’s what you should be keeping an eye on:

GitHub Clean Up. Putting your best foot forward is important. Everyone knows this. So before poking around, technical folks will often clean up their GitHub profile before reaching out to anyone.  They clean up code before talking to recruiters, hiring managers, and even other people in tech. So, as a recruiter, if there is someone you want to add to your recruiting funnel, don’t go in completely blind. First, look at their GitHub profile and do some research. Look at their activity on GitHub, scroll through their commit history, and look for deletions of old, less flattering commits. These deletions are often a signal that they are putting their best foot forward.

Twitter (all of it). Whether it’s an increase in the number of tweets during work hours, changes to their Twitter bio, a new profile theme, or engagement with new topics, a change to a habitual pattern on Twitter is a signal that this person is starting to explore new options.  It doesn’t mean that their on the edge, ready to leap. But it does mean that something has inspired them to change their past behavior and to do something new, like explore a new topic or improve their personal brand. With a little nudge, a recruiter might be able to swoop in and catch them as they make their move.

Meetup Activity. Are the technical folks you want to engage active on Meetup? If they are, take note of the types of Meetup groups they’ve participated with, especially if they’re active in a Meetup that doesn’t fit or stands out. People start exploring different topics and areas of interest as their interest dwindles in their current job, or company.

LinkedIn. If you’re a recruiter, my guess is you use this platform a lot. It’s a good resource, I get it. While fewer and fewer technical people are using the platform, it’s still a good outlet for catching signals that someone is starting to look for their next opportunity. Beyond getting alerts when people select the “flag recruiter” button, there are other things to watch for like: summary tweaks and edits, descriptions being rewritten about their job experience, title changes (specifically, removing the company from their title or editing their title so it’s not just their working title), and even profile picture changes. These are all signals they’re cleaning up their act before they start applying to jobs.

Portfolios/Personal sites. Tracking changes on a personal website or portfolio can be very difficult, but they are definitely worth watching.  When someone is getting ready to submit a job application, or to talk to a recruiter, one of the first things they do before reaching out is to clean up their personal website or portfolio. This cleanup of their personal online presence is a good sign that they’re looking for something new.  

Anniversaries. Work anniversaries are often overlooked by recruiters.  But anniversaries play a very significant role in determining whether or not someone is ready to leave their job. Therefore, anniversaries present one of the best opportunities to reach out to potential candidates. People generally leave around an anniversary because of bonuses, vesting, tuition reimbursement, or relocation reimbursement. Or they made a promise to stick it out for two years. Or maybe there’s some pride tied to the amount of time they spent at a company. Whatever it is driving them to “stick it out” usually breaks around an anniversary.

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We get it. It can feel more successful to push out a bunch of emails to people who seem to have the qualifying skills, or buzzwords in their profiles, that meet your open job recs. It feels successful because more emails means more responses and, therefore, higher chances of getting those positions filled. But it really doesn’t work that way in the recruiting world.

Sending a blanket email to everyone on your list with the buzzwords of the position you’re filling pisses off developers with an unwanted sales pitch when they’re not even interested in making a move. And once you piss them off, it is very difficult to earn their trust again.

Be strategic. And be mindful.  Reach out to candidates that are probably more willing to hear from you. You’ll have a higher ROI.

What signals  do you look for when you’re sourcing for new prospects?

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