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Post by Rich Moy on Jul 17, 2018 12:00:00 PM

A 2016 Bersin by Deloitte report found that the most influential predictor of talent acquisition performance is a healthy relationship between a recruiter and a hiring manager. Since then, not much has changed. Paweł Rzymkiewicz, Head of Engineering at Codility, recently wrote that alignment between engineers and recruiters could help companies ensure their success in the short and long term.

That doesn’t mean building these relationships is a simple task. Even the most experienced recruiting professionals can think of at least one hiring manager that presents a consistent challenge to them. So how can you foster stronger partnerships with them and coach your recruiters to do the same? We posed this question to David Haney, an Engineering Manager here at Stack Overflow. Here’s what he had to say.

Put Your Ego Aside

Your recruiters likely have a lot of skills that enable them to do their jobs well. Your engineering team is probably led by a few incredible managers, as well. But according to Haney, it’s up to everyone involved in the hiring process to check their egos. “A manager might have convictions about an effective hiring process, but they also understand that they have shared goals,” he says.

This is especially important for HR leaders to consider. Your goals might be to hire developers, but there’s much more on the line for engineering managers who are trying to scale their teams. Because of that, make sure that engineering leadership is involved in the early planning stages of your recruiting strategy.

Before you begin any new search, encourage your recruiters to meet with tech leadership to discuss their expectations. What has worked for them in the past? What have their previous experiences with recruiters been like in the past? Partnering with engineering managers (rather than pushing them to hire just anybody) is a positive first step towards gaining their trust over the long haul.

Rely on Their Technical Expertise

Time and time again, developers have said that recruiters evaluate them on more than an arbitrary list of programming languages. How can you avoid making this mistake? Haney tells us that the most successful talent acquisition teams that he’s worked with always ask for feedback on their job listings and employer branding content. “This gives us an opportunity to describe the role as accurately as possible before it’s advertised publicly,” Haney continues. “Additionally, it gives us confidence that our recruiting teams are doing everything they can to find the right candidates.”

In all likelihood, your engineering team won’t have time to make every single edit. Instead, your recruiters should schedule regular check-ins with their hiring managers to discuss any questions they have about open roles. Remind your team that asking for an engineering manager’s technical expertise won’t indicate that they’re unqualified to recruit developers—and can actually go a long way towards sustaining a positive working relationship.

Clarify Requirements Along the Way

Most candidates begin the interview process by speaking to someone in talent acquisition. Before then, it’s usually a recruiter’s job to screen resumes and evaluate candidates based on what they see on a PDF. For many recruitment professionals, this might sound intimidating. The good news for your team? Most engineering managers are happy to clarify requirements for a role along the way.

“If you go to someone in tech and ask them to explain something to you in layman’s terms, this is an excellent way to build trust with them,” he adds. “We rely on our talent acquisition folks to find us outstanding candidates, and we want to help them do that by answering any questions they have about the role.”

Each relationship is unique, but you can start by asking the following. First, what can your team ask candidates during phone screens to engage candidates without making them seem uneducated? From there, find out what types of questions your recruiters should be able to answer themselves, and which ones they should defer to the tech team.

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