🔨 How to be a Successful Technical Recruiter in a Crazy Demanding World - Part 3

🔨 How to be a Successful Technical Recruiter in a Crazy Demanding World - Part 3
Post Author: Bukola Stewart | Photo by Lachlan Donald on Unsplash
Date published: December 15, 2019

Part 3: The Technical Recruiter's Tool of Choice to find Developers and Why.

So I've reeled you in and now it's time to give you the hook, right? This blog has been sponsored by TalentBin. TalentBin, "it's not a nice-to-have tool for a technical recruiters it's a must have." Nope, just kidding - that's not what this part of the post is about! This post is about personalization, but I will mention my favorite tools.

I've always been a the type of recruiter who likes to use an assortment of recruiting tools at my disposal versus using one all encumbering swiss army knife tool. "LinkedIn Recruiter" is that swiss army knife. LinkedIn has 500 million users. If you have a job description, a boilerplate email script to attract a potential candidate then you can spam the hell out of the position by sending over 100 InMails and get a response. LinkedIn has that from any skill set, industry and location you can think of. I myself have used this approach and it has worked very well for a number of positions I've had to fill in the past.

Mistargeting

One thing is however, developers hate technical recruiters on LinkedIn. The average developer receives anywhere from 30 - 50 job opportunity emails a month. 99% of those emails are junk or spam emails to most developers.

I'll give you an example: David Heinemeier Hansson is the founder and CTO of the Productivity Management tool Basecamp. He is best known as the creator of Ruby on Rails, the open-source web development framework that is popular with a number of coders for its efficiency and ease of use. Hansson is, in the technical world, a celebrity. It was funny, then, when Hansson received the following email from a technical recruiter:

Hi David,

I came across your profile online and wanted to reach out about Development Opportunities here at Groupon. The company is growing, and we're always looking for folks with solid skills that can make a positive contribution to our continued success. Any chance you'd be open to a quick conversation about opportunities, or for any possible networking potential? If so, let me know when you're free and we can set up a time to chat. Also, if you are interested, it would be great if you could forward a current resume over that I can take a look at. I look forward to hearing back from you! Please let me know if you have any questions.

This was the rough equivalent of asking Dan Rather to write for your high school newspaper, or of gauging Gordon Ramsay's interest in becoming your line cook. Hansson was being asked, perkily and politely, for a resume that would prove his skills as a junior developer on the framework he had created.

"That's just one of a very long list of incidents that are quite similar in nature," said Hannson. "And they all stem from the basic fact that very few recruiters today actually do recruiting."

It's a very common complaint. I've talked to a number developers about technical recruiters—people whose job is ostensibly to get them better ones - and they will often use the word "spammers or telemarketers." Repeatedly.

"They harvest emails from different tools like LinkedIn, GitHub or elsewhere," Hansson says, "and then they build up these massive spam lists. And then they just blast everybody with absolutely no shame whatsoever."

This is a logical consequence of the tech boom that features a job market desperate for coders, developers, designers, and engineers. Firms large and small, across Silicon Valley and beyond, are competing with each other for the smallest pool of tech talent in history. For the development positions these companies cannot fill they will generally rely on third-party agencies to do their headhunting for them. They are all extremely eager.

Spammy sounding messages

A note from a third-party recruiter might look like this:

Hi, ****


I was trying to reach you about, Senior Java Developer a client in Cincinnati, OH. Please find more details below, as this is a HOT POSITION and URGENT, please reply back to me soon. *And even ready to pay any rate*

The emails may be written by humans; what chafes their recipients, however, is their appearance of roboticism.

"The language is pretty consistent, I would say," says Olex Ponomarenko, a developer based in New York who gets, he estimates, an email pretty much every day.

"They all claim that it's a useful company full of really smart people out to change the world. And when you hear this 30 times a month, it's kind of weird."

It's the logic of spam email, essentially, applied to human capital. LinkedIn and its counterparts make the broad targeting of potential job candidates exceptionally easy; you can search its database for key terms- "rails," "full-stack," "engineer," that kind of thing—and then send emails, via cut-and-paste or a simple script, to the people being sought.

Better Targeting

So what's the answer? Based on what you've been reading you probably think I'm going to tell you to quit emailing these poor developers and find a more honest way to make a living. Well, no, actually the opposite. If you read between the lines from what these developers are saying that don't want you stop emailing them. They only want to feel like you put some work into finding them and their own technical background.

That's not to say that every recruitment email is spam email. There's variation in all this. "I've actually met some recruiters who are actually really good," says Patterson. Many know their fields. Many take the time to customize their pitches. Many make the assumption that also happens to be the default assumption of web salesmanship in general: that smart targeting is the best kind of targeting.

Which is where TalentBin (or one of its competitors like SeekOut or HubSpot Recruiter) comes in, a San Francisco based company that was founded in 2011 which helps recruiters find the technical candidates they're looking for. It works by taking information from candidates profiles, be it Stack Overflow, RubyGem, MeetUp, Twitter or good old LinkedIn and takes all the necessary info to make a single profile showcasing the candidate's relevant technical, social skills and interests.

By doing this it can save recruiters a lot of time as they don't have to seek out the individual profiles of candidates one at a time. Instead, having all the information, such as what a candidate is really interested in, right at their fingertips cuts down the hours that would have been spent trawling through countless social media profiles and websites. Which is another way of saying that, as the web encourages us to become ever more public and performative about our daily doings, it also functions as a kind of de facto resume—for coders as for the rest of us. "You have GitHub, you have StackOverflow," Hrivnak says, "where they're going onto these websites and building out and showing projects publicly." The programmers she's targeting are "out there on the web, with their information, engaging with people about their Meetup groups or whatever the case might be."

Searching

So, how do you get your talent? Well, when first searching, you will have to open up a Job Requisition to keep track of your search history. You can narrow down your list of requirements using the "advanced" search feature (which uses keywords, locations, education and the technical skills to sort through the list of candidates), as opposed to the simple search, which is just the regular method of combing through the results. Both types of searches will have their results saved so you can keep track of the profiles you see.

Once you find what you're looking for, you're ready to make contact. On each person's TalentBin profile, all of their technical interests will be can be given a rating that reflects how often and consistently it is spoken about on the candidate's profile. This feature helps you focus in on a candidate that matches what qualities and skills you're looking for. Then recruiters can contact these candidates via their social media profiles and can start a meaningful dialogue with them based on what they've learned about their actually technical interests, history and place of work.

Social Media Aggregation

With everybody and their dog now on social media, a service like TalentBin is more useful than ever for recruiters. As all the information you need is compiled into one handy profile, you'll be saving yourself countless hours spent scouring through all the relevant sites trying to draw up a profile of your candidate. Through applications like TalentBin, you can achieve that in mere minutes. For a quick recruitment standpoint, it's a game changer.

At their best, the emails technical recruiters send can offer the possibility of career advancement and a rewarding challenge. At their worst, they are the tech-boom equivalent of the old Nigerian-prince trick.

So why as recruiter should I spend so much time painstakingly going through technical profiles on sites like Talentbin? Because, a highly skilled recruiter can make all the difference. Nothing is more valuable to a corporation than its 'human capital', and recruiters can save companies time and money by filling key positions quickly, without the expenditure of countless wasted man-hours spent on a futile effort.

Closing

We've come to the end of our list. Over the course of these three topics, (20/20/60 sourcing plan, the purple squirrel and TalentBin), we've found many effective and modern ways of enhancing your recruitment strategies to match the fast paced nature of today's world.

Despite what some people may say, I can't overstate the importance that LinkedIn and its recruitment facilities play when searching for new talent for your business. This, along with social media profiles and business orientated websites, combine to give you a head start over other company's recruiters who may not be utilising all these services to proper effect.

There's a lot of tips discussed here, but the most important thing to remember is that you only get as good as you give; if you want the ideal candidate, someone who is strong, motivated, committed and full of the technical skills and qualities that you and your business need, then you have to give them good reason to work for you.

You need to put in the extra time and energy to make your prospective candidates see that their talent is best used with your company. It's a demanding world out there with a constantly shifting job market, but one thing that won't change is the desire for people to gain great satisfaction out of what they do.

Although it's your main job as a recruiter to hire the candidate that's right for your business, it's also your job to make sure that candidate with potential gets the recognition and career they deserve.

📋 Previously: How to be a Successful Technical Recruiter in a Crazy Demanding World - Part 1

🐿️ Previously: How to be a Successful Technical Recruiter in a Crazy Demanding World - Part 2


A quick note!

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Also, if you are interested in learning technical topics through a video course specifically created for recruiters, don't forget to check out the courses I offer.

The main course "How to Speak Software Engineering Jargon for Recruiters" is specifically designed to help new tech recruiters get up to speed fast on technical topics.


Written By Bukola Stewart

Executive Recruiter, Sales Guy and Social Media Hack with 15 years of industry experience. I grew up around tech, my father had a big influence on me because of his background as the Director of Technology for companies like GE and Fidelity. He would always say "that programming is where the future is headed. Be a developer because almost everything will be digitally automated in the future." So, I didn't quite live up to my Dad's aspiration of being a programmer (too much math 😁). However, I have been told by other programmers that I'm pretty knowledgeable compared to other technical recruiters/sales pros that they've met it the past. However, I think my biggest "value add" is my ability to help companies grow by finding that elusive hire which helps my client/company get to the "next level" that everyone strives to reach