Recruiting is about relationships. It’s a two-way street, where, as the recruiter, I’m sharing information about careers, projects, and companies, and where candidates share details about their skills and experience. In order for a match to be made, both people need to be good and honest communicators – from the start, to project completion.
So, what happens when one side of the equation is constantly bombarded with job opportunity after job opportunity and a plethora of open-ended phone calls from people they don’t know?
The candidate gets recruiter fatigue.
As a technical recruiter at Triple Crown, it’s a goal of mine to add some kind of value in my first outreach to the senior hardware/software candidates I’m speaking with about tech opportunities. It might be that I share a new, cutting edge and innovative technical project description and point out one or two things from their profile that caught my eye, or I share something that I’ve read recently that relates to their technical background in some way. Whatever it is, I try to make my outreach deliberate, personalized and meaningful.
I always keep in mind that the software and hardware engineers I’m reaching out to are probably getting bombarded with calls from other recruiters. But those other recruiters aren’t me, and they don’t have access to the same highly sought-after tech jobs that I’m working on, which is why my first communication is about laying the groundwork for a long and successful relationship – one of value and career substance for the candidate.
What Candidates Look for in Recruiters
With a tech industry unemployment rate of 1.9% – not to mention, employment of computer and information technology occupations projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations – candidates in this market have long been in the driver seat. Their demands are making recruiters be better and more personal when it comes to their jobs. Don’t get me wrong, automation is good and it’s only making good recruiters better, but at the end of the day senior technical candidates still want a recruiter who they can count on and who they know.
Here’s what senior technical candidates are looking for in their recruiting partners today:
You have to be active, because they aren’t.
Traditional recruiting best practices, like posting a status on LinkedIn with minimal job details or sending generic InMail messages, are OK for candidates actively looking for a new job. But for the other 80 percent of inactive or passive candidates, these methods simply do not work. Instead of automated or formulaic forms of communication, today’s top tech talent are looking for active efforts to get their attention. This may mean a combination of several communication efforts across a variety of platforms, or calling a couple of times instead of only once.
Tech candidates are also looking for recruiters who don’t reach out just the one time with only one job opportunity. They’re looking for specialized recruiters who reach out one, two, three times; recruiters with a pulse on the most innovative tech jobs looking for a long-lasting relationship. Top technology talent know they have options – and they want to hear about them – which means reaching out regularly with different projects that align with their skill set and what you’ve discussed with them in the past as important job factors like compensation, work flexibility, etc.
Not every project, let alone company, can be publicized. However, candidates don’t want generic job messages with zero substance. Technology professionals tend to enjoy working with Triple Crown because we’re highly specialized, and they know what type of projects we’ll be reaching out to them with. They love that we specialize in four categories and that we almost always have open needs for verification, web, embedded, and digital design projects. Even when I can’t share my client names, I always share the detailed job description. This level of transparency and detail is all but required to successfully recruit technology talent in today’s passive market.
If you don’t like uncomfortable conversations, or if you find it hard to give someone honest feedback, recruiting is not for you. Sometimes these conversations are not easy, but the candidates almost always appreciate the honesty – I say almost because the truth can be hard to hear, but even the candidates who take it the hardest tend to respect me more for being candid. Whether it’s feedback on resume formatting, interview technique, or tips to help them land the job, it’s important to give it to people straight. Operating this way has also led me to have deeper and more meaningful relationships with the tech candidates I work with on a regular basis. And, when you don’t have any feedback – tell them that, too. Candidates like to know that you haven’t forgotten about them.
When it comes down to it, tech candidates are looking for recruiters to be more human. They want the relationship to be personal, genuine, and to provide value to them in some way. It’s that simple and, sometimes, that hard. I like to ask candidates what they did over the weekend, or how their kids are doing. Knowing more about who they are as a person helps make me a better recruiter for them – and, after all, that’s what we’re both looking for.