As many new tech recruiters get up to speed on the challenges of developer hiring, building relationships with those candidates might sound like an impossible task. While it takes a good amount of effort to understand what they want and how they want to be recruited, programmers won’t put you through a quiz-style interview to prove that you know what you’re doing. Still, there are ways that you can be proactive about building credibility with developer candidates. Here are a few tips to make your transition into technical recruiting a little easier.
When I was a recruiter, I mistook enthusiasm for authenticity. I figured that if I could prove that I was excited about representing the company, it would be impossible for candidates not to feed off of my energy. But like most people, I had off-days. To compensate, I made the mistake of trying to fake enthusiasm when it just wasn’t there—and candidates usually saw right through me.
Developers are receptive to tech recruiters who are transparent about the roles they’re trying to fill. If you’re too enthusiastic about what you’re selling, programmers will assume that you’re trying to hide details about your company that might turn them off, even though they want to hear about some of the challenges you’re looking for someone to tackle.
Think of the people you look up to professionally. You see them as authorities in their fields, so it’s only natural to assume that they have all the answers. But when it comes to recruiting developers, talking to them as if you know everything is a quick way to lose credibility with your top candidates. In fact, the easiest way to put them at ease (and get them talking) is to ask them questions about the things they’re interested in.
As a new tech recruiter, your job is to hire developers. But that doesn’t mean you have to know the ins and outs of writing code. Developers don’t expect you to know all the technical aspects of their jobs, and going out of your way to convince them that you’re an expert is counterproductive. As our own Tom Harvey recently told us, admitting what you don’t know and asking them to explain things to you can often be an excellent way to engage developer candidates. Plus, you’ll end up learning a few things in the process.
Most developers are already employed, so it’s important to make a positive first impression on them when you get the opportunity to discuss your open tech roles. Developers know that tech recruiters talk to a lot of people, but they still expect you to remember the details from your previous conversations with them. Asking them to repeat points they’ve shared with you in the past will make them less interested in engaging with you in the future.
There isn’t a silver-bullet solution for keeping track of the things you’ve already discussed with developer candidates. Some tech recruiters keep extensive notes in their CRM database to refer to before any conversation with a candidate. Others I’ve spoken to write them down in notepads that would look disorganized to most, but work well for their specific needs. Find a system that works well for you, and when you identify one that helps you stay on top of these details, do what you can to stick to it.