Last week, some of our team at Stack Overflow hit up the Recruiting Trends Conference in Las Vegas. This annual event brought together more than 200 in-house recruiters from all over the country to put their heads together and talk about…well, what’s trending in recruiting space.
While there, we represented Stack Overflow in the expo hall and sat in on a variety of presentations. Our favorite was the “Recruiter Group Therapy” session, where Chris Murdoch of IQ Talent Partners just asked the audience, “So what’s bugging you about your job? What challenges are you facing?” The next hour was spent passing the microphone back and forth among the entire audience so we could ask, respond, and advise each other. Through this session and a few others, we noticed a few questions that kept cropping up among attendees, so we wanted to pass along our take on these in case they may help you now or down the road.
Question: “For those of us not located in the Bay Area or another big city, how do we convince developers to move and work for our company?”
Stack Solution: Well, when asking nicely doesn’t work, you’ll need to brainstorm more creative ways to get developers to your organization. Our favorite way to do this is to focus on making your office the absolute best place to work in that area. Allot some of your recruitment budget toward improving your existing space so you get people talking—and retain the ones you’ve already got. Once you’re ready to show it off, go to local tech meetups, let your team evangelize your company among online communities, get a plug in the local paper, start a company blog, and sponsor community events. Another tip we liked from the conference was to track down candidates who are alums of schools in your area—chances are, after some period of time, they may be interested in moving back home. And last, but not least, you may want to consider expanding your workforce remotely. We’ve found that listings on our job board that offer remote work receive 3-6 times as many applicants as jobs that don’t.
Question: “How do I get involved with a talent community for the first time?”
Stack Solution: Carefully. Just like you wouldn’t want into a networking event with a flashing neon sign that says, “I’m hiring!” you have to pay attention to the protocols that exist within online communities. Every social network has its own quirks. On Twitter, you can hashtag anything and follow anybody you like. On Stack Overflow, our users are particularly sensitive to things that seem spammy, so we have to educate employers on ways to reach out to users without getting flagged. Before you dive into a new network, experiment with one toe in the water. Pick two or three messages and test them among a few candidates, then see how they respond. If you get negative feedback, switch up your approach. But the best part about online networks is that it’s really easy to watch from the sidelines. You can take your time observing different interactions before your first outreach—and when you’re ready to start a conversation, you’ll have a better understanding of how they prefer to use the platform.
Question: “What’s the most important thing I need to do when it comes to company recruitment branding?”
Stack Solution: There’s no “one size fits all” solution to company or recruitment branding. At Recruiting Trends, we heard many stories about what other companies have done to promote their organizations, and you can put as much or little money as you want into the initiative. Before tackling this all at once, start by answering the question, “How do I want candidates to perceive our company and what sets us apart from our competitors?” From there, pick three initiatives to focus on for the next six months. Then re-evaluate and survey candidates to test whether or not your branding efforts have worked. Whether you decide to simply standardize your company’s mission and recruitment messaging or go all out and socialize your recruitment brand on Twitter like the “NPR life” hashtag campaign is up to you. The most important piece of the puzzle is simply that you have a consistent story to tell and share with candidates and that you're familiar with the unique parts of your culture that set you apart.