Hiring as a Team Sport — The Role of Recruiters and Hiring Managers in Engaging Tech Talent

Sep 11, 2014

When searching for the right developers to hire, recruiters face a number of challenges. One of the biggest difficulties is that there is a small pool of developers in the market, and other recruiters are likely reaching out to them, too. The high demand for developers means that developers are used to, and often annoyed by, recruiters’ attention.

It doesn’t help that recruiters often can’t relate to developers.

Even the best recruiters obviously lack experience in the day-to-day responsibilities of the roles for which they’re hiring. Each industry has its own nuances, and for recruiters hiring for highly technical roles, like developers, it’s easy to come off as a novice instead of as an expert.

That’s why it is valuable to use the whole hiring team when engaging candidates. Developers are generally more relatable and credible to fellow developers than recruiters are. Your developers speak the same language as prospects and have a better grasp of the technical advancements within the industry. That’s why having your developers reach out to prospects can be invaluable in making an initial contact with a recruit.

Of course, distributing some of the elements of the recruiting process to developers may not be effective in all cases. Some hiring managers may not feel comfortable reaching out to potential candidates or have the time. Understanding the comfort level of the developers on your hiring team is key to making team-recruiting work.

Give each developer the freedom to approach candidates in a way that feels natural to him or her. Encourage the ones who are excited about reaching out to and establishing connections with new people. These developers can even be partnered with coworkers who have less experience reaching out to prospects.

Recruiting as a team brings its own challenges, especially when it comes to keeping track of connections. Even if developers are the ones initiating contact with prospects, the recruiters still need to know the points of contact and timelines. Using a very simple content management system, like a Google Doc spreadsheet, makes it less onerous on the developers to keep track of who has been contacted and when.

Along with encouraging developers to participate in talent pipelining, there are other ways to involve the whole team in recruiting … for instance, throwing parties. Events give even the shyest developer an easy way to connect, or reconnect, with potential candidates. A party also gives recruiters a good excuse to follow up with a weak connection. This strategy can work on tight budgets. Five hundred dollars can go a long way.

Recruiters looking to decide what type of events will attract the right candidates should turn to their own developers. Developers have a better understanding of what other developers want to do in their free time. Letting the developers decide what they want to do makes the event authentic to them and to the candidates.

Your hiring manager and his or her team can also offer insights into the types of companies prospects want to work for. This information can help frame your job offer in a way that connects with your candidate’s passions and your company’s culture.

As a recruiter, you’re ultimately serving your hiring manager and his or her team. You want them to love working with the people you find. By involving them in the search for candidates, you’re more likely to create a collaborative team that will help your company succeed.

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