Tips to hire a technical recruiter

I am a technical recruiter for 15 years, and it's a though task to choose someone who is able drive the acquisition of such difficult talents to find : tech people

Like every science, recruiting is way more diversificated now, with fast pace of technical innovation, than it was twenty years ago.

From general or universal recruiters you found in the 90's, you see now a high specification of the Art.

However, no doubt there were people who could have been prominent in almost any field they chose, but they had to choose. It takes too long to catch up in any one area to become very prominent in multiple diverse things.

I belong to a specie, generally "geek born" people, who choose (or have been chosen but it's an other story) to help corporations to find tech people and later, understand them.

Best of all, understand what they are talking about.

Years after years, you see the population of tech recruiter decreasing because, aye ! it's hard to be universally technophile anymore. Yes, you understand it well, now, you have sub species of tech recruiters...

But, what is exactly "recruitment" ?

  1. Identifying the hiring needs (&writing a precise job description)

  2. Sourcing (talent search, screening)

  3. Shortlisting (those you kept after the longlisting)

  4. Interviewing

  5. Evaluating and negociating

Some purists will not agree, adding or substracting steps, but let's keep steps that are crucial.

Do you understand what I say ?

The first step, identifying the hiring need is 90% of the success of the 5 next steps. If this step is botched, you'll fail. It works also for a house, a cake or vacations !

A Tech recruiter needs to be able to challenge technical decisions, at least understand the strategy behind them not only list them like a shopping list.

Technological stacks are like religions, it's a mix of history, belief and influences. If you understand them, you can tell your client (internal or external) what trials we'll face.

Because you know your market

TIPS #1 : Ask your Technical recruiter prospect on what technologies he recently worked on. Maybe also ask him a case study.

Let's post an job ad on Linkedin

The tech community around the world do not like recruiters. That's a fact !

Let's face it, you're not really welcome and you have some mistakes not to do, to risk bannishment and incidentally trash talks.

Your tech recruiters need to have access to all the slack channels, forums, platforms, whatsapp groups, meet-ups, on and offline networks it may exist on a location.

And let me tell you, it is changing very often. Sourcing is a science and tech people know that !

TIP#2 : Ask him what he/she makes different in order to get attention of potential candidates. The Technical recruiter is the extension of your brand. Don't mess with that.

My shortlist is the creme de la creme

Very often, your talent pipeline (people you listed based on their skills without having them contacted) fall dramatically as soon as you're reading behind the lines of their carrier.

Tech profiles are learning new skills and they're ready to start again as a "junior" to follow the wave"

Then you start to contact them.

Let be clear, a tech profile is receiving 3 to 4 job leads per week. You have to be very sharp and patient.

A Tech recruiter have his/her own style contacting candidate, there is no recipe, just behavioural experiences...

TIP#3 : Ask for figures. Your technical recruiter knows the numbers, and make them speak : % of answers, % of conversation an finally % of targeted "Yes, I am interested" on a specific candidate target.

Are you proficient at <insert a technology>

This is where a lot happen. As a non tech profiles, good tech recruiters are able to understand if the candidate fit for the position.

A good tech recruiter is listening to hundred of tech carriers each year so he/she is able to catch what is technically relevant for the job while assessing soft skills.

Remember a good operational team is making the good hiring happen.

TIP#4 :Find someone who can challenge you. Efficient recruiter are not just CV dealer, they also understand what is best for your team & company. Take someone who is able to say "NO"

No, I won't be able to go further, the candidate didn't pass the test

You just find someone who is perfectly fitting the position : experience, industry, stack, salary, availability, personnality. But, am I sure he/she have a sufficient technical level.

First reaction : your CTO (if you have one). Your CTO will be able (I hope for you) to assess tech skills of your candidate, but often, he is not anymore an expert ... How can we do ?

Different type of assessments :

  • Whiteboard Problems : assess a candidate on their ability to solve a problem “on the spot”

  • Technical Details : intends to understand how well a candidate knows a technology

  • Live Coding : interview format where candidates are presented a programming problem, and then code the solution in real-time.

  • On-site pair programming : same than live but on site

  • Take-home Projects

TIP#5 : A good Tech recruiter is able to help you choose the right format for your search. He also help you define the criteria to reduce potential bias the test occurs (stress, commitment, relevance, copy cat, assessment bias...)

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