Great tech recruiting is about building trust and relationships.
Recruiting is a two-way street. As a recruiter, I’m sharing information about careers, projects, and companies. Candidates share their skills and experience. Both of us need to be good and honest communicators. From the start to project completion.
So, what happens when one side is constantly bombarded with job opportunities and open-ended phone calls from people they don’t know?
The tech candidate gets Recruiter Fatigue.
It’s essential for tech recruiters to add value in their first contact with senior hardware and software candidates. When I reach out, I’m speaking about tech opportunities. It might be that I share a new, cutting-edge and innovative technical project description or I’ll point out a couple things from their profile that caught my eye. Sometimes I share something I’ve read recently that relates to their technical background. Whatever it is, I try to make my outreach purposeful and personalized.
I always keep in mind that the software and hardware engineers I’m reaching out to are probably 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.
Today’s tech candidates are in demand and have command.
Right now, the tech industry unemployment rate is 1.9 percent. Employment of computer and IT occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026. That’s faster than the average for all occupations.
4 Specific Things Senior Tech Candidates Want in a Recruiter
Candidates in this market have been in the driver seat for a while and will continue to be, which demands recruiters be better at our jobs. In order to stand out, we have to be personal.
Don’t get me wrong. Automation helps good recruiters perform better. But senior tech candidates still want a recruiter whom they can count on, whom they know and who delivers the following:
- Active Outreach
You have to be active, because your tech candidates aren’t.
Think about traditional recruiting best practices. Consider posting a status on LinkedIn with minimal job details, or sending generic InMail messages. These tactics 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 communication, top tech talent requires active efforts to get their attention. It means combining cross-platform communication and a call strategy to get on their radar.
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 knows 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.
- Honest Feedback
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. 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.