Often times, tech recruiters forget that developers are real people with very real fears and goals. As important as it is to find the right candidates, your relationship recruiting skills are critical throughout the entire developer hiring process.
When you have a talented developer scheduled for an interview, it’s important not to lose sight of the importance of candidate experience to the hiring process. Here are a few tips to make it easier.
Most of the developers I know have at least one anecdote about a quiz show style interview in which the recruiter took a little too much pleasure in saying, “Ha! That’s the wrong answer and you aren’t good enough for us!” Setting yourself apart from the competition requires some serious relationship recruiting chops—which means treating candidates less like adversaries and make it clear that you’re their advocate.
To some, this might sound like the type of advice you’d give a brand new technical recruiter. But considering how often developers speak to interviewers who are looking for ways to grade them negatively on their performance, rooting for them to succeed is an effective (and uncommon) way to put developers at ease during the developer hiring process.
One of the more surprising things I’ve heard from developers is that if a recruiter has taken the time to do their research, programmers tend to be open to casual conversations, even if they’re currently not interested in pursuing a new job. While it might sound counterproductive for a technical recruiter to spend any amount of time on an activity when there’s no chance of recruiting a developer, taking a few minutes to shoot the breeze will show a potential candidate that you don’t see them as merely a commodity. Sure, this won’t pay immediate dividends, but it will make your company stand out when the developer decides to pursue new jobs—and ultimately will make a huge difference when he or she has to choose one.
Sure, developers want recruiters to take a sincere interest in getting to know them. But they also want to hear about the projects they would be tasked with if they chose to work for your company. Even if you hit it off with a potential candidate on a personal level, your recruitment conversations will be limited if you don’t know what your engineering team is currently building.
Often, the most efficient way to get the information you need is to go directly to your engineering managers. Not only will they fill you in on the team’s current projects, but they’ll provide valuable feedback down the road as you launch new searches.