The Battle for Tech Talent – 5 Things All In-House Tech Recruiters Need

Many have commentated on the search for top (and often scarce) tech talent in the UK marketplace. Recruiting high-quality developers has become an increasingly tough battle for many in-house recruiters. As an in-house recruiter for Stack Exchange’s London office, I currently recruit for the sales side of our organization, but prior to this, I have experience as a tech recruiter in London. Having worked in this position and seen the challenges that companies face in today’s market, I have put a lot of thought into what tech recruiters really need to be fully equipped to source talent. Below, I have broken out five key elements that every tech recruiter needs in order to be successful

  1. Resources

A common issue facing tech recruiters in today’s market is that unless you have as much recognition as developer powerhouses like Google or Facebook, it’s challenging to attract, engage, and recruit developers. While it’s important to focus on what developer want, it’s equally essential to consider the needs of recruiters. Without an effective strategy, it’s incredibly difficult to reach the tech community. There isn’t a “one size fits all” solution to sourcing developers. Developing an effective pipeline of candidates is a long-term game that requires a variety of methods to source talent including social media, Q&A sites, and even job boards. Ensuring that you have the right tools should form a key part of any sourcing strategy from management to recruiter. Dialogue is needed to select the most relevant options in line with your recruitment budget. After all, having the right tools will end up saving you money in the long run as your reliance on external suppliers decreases.

 

  1. Clear and consistent branding

To have an effective sourcing strategy, you need a clear message of what your business values and what makes your organisation unique. If you pride yourself on being at the cutting edge of your field, then be sure to say this when reaching out to candidates. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that everyone at your organisation is on the same page with that messaging. Consistency is crucial, and eventually this will trickle down to “word of mouth” and build upon any preconceived notions that candidates have about your company.

 

  1. Collaboration with your hiring manager

As an in-house tech recruiter, it’s critical to leverage the social network and expertise of the hiring manager. Since they work closely with developers all the time, they have a great idea of what type of candidates they are looking to hire. This can significantly contribute to getting the message out there that your organisation is hiring and has some fantastic opportunities….and may even lead to a few world class referrals from your development

team!

 

  1. Effective recruitment processes

How many times have you said to yourself, “My job would be so much easier is the processes were better” or “Excessive bureaucracy is stopping me from doing my job.” Like it or lump it, admin is a big part of any in-house recruiter’s job. It’s about being organised and effectively managing your time in the office.  However, you do need processes that let you easily transition candidates from a screening stage to a hiring stage as smoothly as possible. Every business wants prospective candidates to have a positive onboarding experience. Tailoring processes to your organisation can reduce the amount of time it takes to hire and eliminate stress and take a few things off of your plate.

 

  1. Patience….

There are going to be disappointments along the way as you source candidates. Hiring top talent is not something that can be achieved overnight and requires a comprehensive sourcing strategy to meet the long term business needs. The key is to be consistent in your message and standing by the values of your organization. Standards shouldn’t be dropped in order to hire tech professionals.

 

Given the time and budgetary concerns, it’s difficult to acquire all of the resources you need in your recruitment toolkit. When you add on the pressure you face to deliver business critical talent….yesterday, this may seem like an impossible task. But don’t despair. Instead, focus on one need at a time with your organization and strive to stay organised and consistent in your approach. You’ll start filling your talent pipeline and hopefully snag a few superstars along the way!

Having the self-awareness to boost your performance and career

A while back, if you’d have asked me what are the most important features that a company would want I would have produced a list along the lines of ‘technical skills, communication, teamwork…’ I quickly realised that beneath this lays one major attribute that can increase or decrease all of the others – self-awareness. This is a key feature of how I recruit and one that can really play a big part in boosting not only your performance but also your career.

Self-awareness is the ‘Conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires’. Now how do motives, desires, feelings and character relate to boosting your performance and career? Behind each high performer there will be a method of working, a way that that the individual has found to be successful.  Some will be conventional like following a set process, whilst others will be less so. Now why am I rambling on about is this I hear you ask? This is so blatantly obvious!

…Well please take a step back for a second. A moment to consider what has allowed you to develop your career. Many of you will answer ‘I worked really hard’ or ‘I gave myself a target and reached it’. These are fine but the question you need to be asking is how and why? Questioning your methods allows you to look deeper into your performance. There will always be ways you can improve and you won’t find out the honest answer until you delve deeper.

How do we increase self-awareness? Can it be done?

Some will argue that you are either self-aware or your not. I disagree.  It’s not as simple as that. I believe that a higher level of self-awareness can be achieved through continually looking back retrospectively on your performance and considering what factors made you successful or not.  This seems simple but how many of you do this? I’m not talking about quarterly on annual reviews. These are specific instances, conversations, tasks. The key is in the detail.  10 minutes during the day or on the journey home…review, analyse the results, jot down some ideas and alternatives.

But surely this can only take you so far?

Correct. To be truly successful you need to combine the getting the job done, hard work, relationship building, adaptability and a slice of good fortune. Combine these and you will do a great job. Understand why they are important, what you have learnt in the process and how you can evolve going forwards and you, my friend, could be a superstar!

The role every employee can play in hiring

So….this is the second blog I have written today. The first, which was my first ever independent blog post and unfortunately suffered at the hands of a disagreement between it’s author (me) and application being used.

Here we go, attempt number two. I was going to re-type the original version but that moment has now passed and I feel that fate played a bit in the content disappearing. What I would like to discuss today is part of what is being called ‘Talent Hacking’, namely empowering employees to make decisions during the hiring process and the role the in-house recruiter plays in this. We aren’t re-inventing the wheel here but we can and must adjust our approach to the changes in the industry.

In today’s recruitment climate factors like employee branding have really risen to the fore in attracting top level candidates and proactive sourcing has become an essential feature of the modern recruiter. No longer in the interview process are decisions left solely to the senior management. Employees at all levels are utilised to provide a comprehensive assessment of all candidates. This is something that I have seen done well but requires a certain level of coaching. This is where the role of the in-house recruiter comes into play…

For smaller companies, every hire is absolutely crucial. Candidates must be assessed for technical skill set, soft skills and team fit. This is absolutely crucial as one bad hire can have a far more detrimental effect to a company that in a large, multinational corporate. To make sure that you are covering all bases you need to include current employees at all levels (with the one stipulation being that the employees involved in interviews have been at the company a sufficiently amount of time to fully understand the standard required and culture).

Not everybody is experienced in interviewing and from my own experience confidence takes a while to build up. The in-house recruiter can play a key role in ensuring that the interviewers are qualified to make an objective judgement on that candidate. This can be broken down into a number of areas:

  • What skills are the interviewers assessing at each stage of the process – Team fit? Technical skills? Set competencies? This is vital because unless guided the interviewer can easily get lost and go off track.
  • Interview etiquette – this is an interview after all so both parties are being judged, not just the candidate.
  • How they should structure their interview?
  • Time Management? 
  • What they can/can’t say – the legal part…
I think if you can cover these main points that you will end up with a fair and consistent interview process. Employees will feel empowered that they are playing a key part in growing the company and more importantly their opinion is valued. 
This is a great method to identify and make quality hires, make no mistake about it. The interview process has evolved and with this so has the role of the in-house recruiter. We have a big part to play in nurturing not only the growth of teams but the growth of employees as decision makers. Everyone in your company will have an opinion on that to hire great people, remember that as the recruiter you are the expert and this a great way to showcase your expertise to the business and win their respect.