Recruiting in today’s technology sector is incredibly competitive, but it need not be complicated. In fact, the recipe for good recruiting really requires only two very basic ingredients: knowledge and respect. But beware, no substitutions are allowed.
We know how critical it is for our client companies to make the right hire. Most of these clients are experiencing incredible growth and need high performing teams to meet aggressive goals and expectations. As a recruiter, you must understand these expectations.
A good recruiter must do their homework and know their space to fully understand the position that they have been asked to fill. Superficial knowledge is not enough. Before I begin reaching out to engineers, I thoroughly analyze a job to make certain that I understand its requirements, responsibilities, necessary skills, outcomes, and group dynamics. I need to understand my client’s needs in great detail. Only after I have this information do I begin to plan my outreach strategy and connect with a specific pool of qualified candidates.
Because engineers are solicited by recruiters with job opportunities every single day, I need to understand - and be able to effectively explain - why my opportunity should be pursued instead of others under consideration. This requires an honest and in-depth conversation with a potential candidate. As a good recruiter, I am prepared when I talk to candidates and am able to give them information not only on compensation figures and HR related stuff, but also on technology, release cycles and new product characteristics that are unique to this client company.
A good recruiter respects their candidates. This can be as simple as portraying the position honestly or responding to any questions in timely manner. Because I respect my candidates’ time, I work hard to use our communication effectively. I do my homework so that I don’t spend our conversations asking questions which I should have already answered.
A good recruiter reviews resumes carefully and pre-screens candidates in depth so that candidate calls are not time spent checking off the obvious boxes. That work has already been done. During phone interviews, I spend time clarifying information and working to gauge a candidate’s level of interest, enthusiasm, motivation, and ability to learn new technology. I tailor my questions to suit each candidate based on the background they came from.
As a sign of my respect for a candidate’s time, I try hard to move the process in a quick and timely manner. I do not keep candidates waiting for days or weeks to hear updates especially if they are waiting to know if they will be brought on site for interviews.
And if an interested candidate is not a good fit for the opening that we have discussed, I explain that in timely manner and give accurate and even detailed reasons if required. Honest feedback is always appreciated and template answers should never be sent to candidates as a rejection letter. Many times, this honest approach has led to valuable referrals which can be a win-win for all involved.
Of course, a good recruiter also respects their client by not wasting any hiring manager’s time with inappropriate submittals or by ever misrepresenting the job. I feel it is imperative that we take long-term ownership and satisfaction in a successful hire rather than the traditional (and transactional) view.
2013 was a record year in venture capital deals in HR tech firms, and 2014 looks looks even better. But all of the new tech in recruiting will not help if you cannot do the basics of recruiting exceptionally well - Knowledge and Respect. Elbert Hubbard got it right when he said:
“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”