We totally understand; as an engineering leader, you have a lot on your plate already.
You’re creating the next big innovations and you’re tasked with keeping all the running parts moving within your projects and teams. With all of this going on, it’s no wonder that many engineering leaders don’t feel a need to be active within the recruitment process.
Here’s the thing though, the best tech leaders are learning to love being involved with the recruitment process. Among the many benefits, taking part allows them to be proactive instead of constantly putting out fires.
One of the unifying challenges for leaders in the tech industry is to be able to recruit the right talent at the right time. Here’s why the best leaders are involved with the process.
[content_upgrade cu_id=”104″]Want some quick tips to attract top tech talent? Get ours here.[content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]
Your company might be well-known among tech circles, or it may be one of the many smaller tech companies who are not so much on the radar of tech talent. If you fit in the latter group, the chances are good that your recruitment process will be the first impression any potential candidates have of your company.
If you’ve been approached by tech recruiters yourself, you probably understand the cynicism with which recruiters are often regarded by tech people. The blanket emails, lack of personalization, and often lack of real knowledge of the tech role don’t endear your company to potential talent.
On the other hand, how powerful does a first impression become if an engineering leader makes the approach? Not only does it signify an interest in the individual beyond widespread recruiter approaches, but it can be kind of flattering to have someone so senior making contact.
Of course, the other point here with first impressions is that the engineering leader will be much better placed to talk about the work and projects they do in-depth. They speak the same language as the potential candidate, which always helps!
Which sounds more attractive to you? A “here’s our opportunity and job description” approach or “this is what it’s like working in my team and here’s what we’re working on” method?
More Control Over Team Building
First of all here, a point about diversity (which the tech industry is still notoriously poor with): You know who you want on your team and which skills they need to have, but be cautious of the “someone I could have a beer with” approach. This is what tends to build homogenous teams.
What if the person who you wouldn’t tend to have a beer with possesses excellent skills and a different perspective which would be fresh and useful on your team? Sometimes employers mistake “cultural fit” to mean “hire people like us”, but in doing so they miss out on people who are very good at sitting down and getting the job done.
Your team should be a community of people who work together to achieve the goals of the company. You have a say over how that community operates and hiring decisions play a big part.
The best engineering leaders are highly involved in building their community, which is why they learn to love recruiting. They get to decide who will add well to the community, or even stretch their own skills. This is why you also shouldn’t be afraid to hire someone who is better than you at certain things—because they will make you and your team better.
Always Be Recruiting
There’s a bit of a stereotype that tends to follow tech people. You’ve probably heard the one about the inwardly-focused tech genius many times. The ones who would rather remain at their desks getting work done, preferably without being disturbed.
For engineering leaders, there’s really no room to live out this stereotype if you want to be among the top people who get the best on their teams. You are an ambassador for your company and, as such, need to be showing up outside of the work cubicle.
This means showing up at events or conferences, networking, and possibly even hosting your own events. Event hosting is a great way to boost the profile of your company and set yourselves up as a leader in the industry. This is a way that you can be recruiting without even realizing it—getting your company known and generating desire in people to be part of the innovative thinking you have going on.
Taking a role in the outside world is a trait that the most successful engineering leaders share. They understand the importance of brand ambassadorship and building relationships across a wide range of people. They enjoy getting to know people, learning from others, and finding ways they can be of service. This helps to keep their networks wide and their chances of meeting or being referred to tech people who would be great on their own teams high.
Create the Candidate Experience
Here’s another reason that the best engineering leaders learn to love recruiting: They get to largely craft the candidate experience. This is not confined to first impressions during a recruiting process, but includes all of those relationship-building efforts outside of recruitment and the rest of the process that leads to actually hiring someone.
Here are a few thoughts on that candidate experience:
- Pay attention to those you don’t end up hiring into your company—their experience is just as important. Tech people talk to each other and these people can go out and convey either a good or bad impression of what they saw of your company.
- Create a set of expectations for the recruitment process and be transparent with any candidates about these. Treating them respectfully and as humans will be appreciated, so make sure if there’s reason why you can’t meet them (such as something that prevents you from being timely), you communicate with them.
- Be honest. Every job has points that aren’t so rosy, so give an honest assessment and avoid the “used car salesperson” spin.
- Humanize the whole process. No one likes to feel like just another number, so take the time to get to know them and understand how their background and past projects could help them to be successful on your team.
- Be clear on what your core values are and interview for those. Candidates appreciate knowing this information—it’s part of what helps them to know whether your company is a good fit.
- Ensure your company website and social media profiles are set up well to convey values, communicate what you do, and help candidates understand what you’re about. These are places that will commonly be searched early on as they try to get a feel for your company.
Take charge of creating the candidate experience that best reflects your company and you will attract the people you need.
[content_upgrade cu_id=”104″]Need tips for attracting tech talent? Get our quick guide here.[content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]
Learn to Love Recruiting
While the life of an engineering leader is a busy one, the best leaders are learning to love having recruiting as part of their many duties. It gives them true ownership over who they bring onboard and allows them to create the vital first impressions.
The best tech talent out there are used to being approached repeatedly by recruiters, often using impersonal methods which cause them to be leery. If you’re wondering why “all the good people” seem to be going elsewhere, it might be time to examine your recruiting process and whether you need to take more of a role in it.
Take charge of the candidate experience, including placing importance on the impressions of those you don’t hire. Word of mouth is huge, so never miss the opportunity to leave a good impression.