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Post by Rich Moy on Apr 25, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Your developer hiring strategy can have a long-lasting impact. With the right combination of tech recruiting tools and tactics, you’ll find talented candidates and improve your company’s reputation in the software development community. But to get the results that it should deliver, that talent management strategy needs to be led by a strong leader.

Of course, every manager on the planet has a unique approach to leadership. Still, there are a few traits that all exceptional talent acquisition leaders have in common. In this post, we’ll walk through some of the soft skills that you need to support your entire organization through your developer hiring.

They Know How to Build Relationships

Is relationship-building a skill that only matters when you’re looking to hire technical recruiters? Of course not! But it is a tool that’s applied differently by talent acquisition leaders. While a recruiter is obviously more concerned about how they interact with external candidates, their managers need to build relationships with stakeholders across the entire company.

A 2015 study by Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy, analyzed 360-degree feedback data on over 2,100 HR leaders. One of the most common strengths of the managers that were evaluated? Their ability to build positive relationships across their organizations. “[One of] their more positive items was being trusted and staying in touch with the issues and concerns of others,“ Zenger and Folkman wrote in an article for the Harvard Business Review. The HR leaders that they evaluated scored highly in this competency, which was also ranked as the one of the most important by their peers.

They Know How to Delegate

Most managers know that they can’t do everything themselves. They also see how important it is to have a hard-working group of individual contributors on their teams. But exceptional talent acquisition managers understand that delegating work isn’t always a simple task.

Nate Masterson, HR Manager at Maple Holistics, tells us that delegating work to his team is a multifaceted process. “You need to think about how much work you’re delegating, what types of tasks you’re handing off, and ultimately who you’re trusting to get it done,” he adds.

Once you’ve done this exercise, do you have the green light to pass your least exciting projects onto your team? Not quite. “Delegating doesn’t mean handing out work to individuals to complete on your own,” Masterson says. “A good TA leader will know how to partner team members together to produce quality work.”

They Know When to Listen

Peter Nulty of Fortune Magazine once said, “Most captains of industry listen only sometimes, and they remain ordinary leaders. But a few, the great ones, never stop listening. That's how they get word before anyone else of unseen problems and opportunities.”

This quote is particularly relevant for talent acquisition leaders. In most cases, the key to growing from a good leader to great one is learning how to listen more actively. Lazlo Bock, CEO of Humu and former SVP of People at Google, has always said that it’s important to give employees a voice. Digging into Bock’s book on leadership, Liz Alton at ADP highlighted the key lessons that Google learned about a culture of freedom:

  • First, it’s important to trust that your team has good people with whom you can share sensitive information.
  • From there, employees need the flexibility to pursue projects that could influence important company decisions down the road.
  • Finally, allow your teams (not just developers) to work remotely.

Based on these takeaways, it’s obvious that listening means more than scheduling one-on-one meetings with all of your direct reports. To impact your company through hiring developers, your entire team needs to know that their feedback and contributions are being taken seriously—even if you don’t implement them immediately.

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Career Development

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