Advice for recruiters in the IT industry who handle the hiring process.
As you may be aware, it is tricky to find and hire professionals for technical positions. We should think how to optimise this process by avoiding some the most common pitfalls. Here is an outline of the practical experience I have gained in the over three years I have been a technical recruiter. When I began, I had no inkling that I was walking straight into a trap! The recruitment process requires many skills and, to be successful, you will need experience with sales, marketing, and even psychology.
After 100 successful placements, and three as many rejected job applications, I can summarise seven of the most common mistakes made by tech recruiters.
Mistake 1: Being Passive in the Recruiting Process
As the market has become increasingly competitive, so the role of the recruiter has also become increasingly complex. The recruiter’s task is to actively seek out and discover talent, as well as to identify candidates who demonstrate the desired skills and knowledge that any given open position may require.
One of the core goals in recruitment is to convince someone that a position in your company is what they want. You should inspire them and share your passion for the business in order to get them on board. We have several different channels for to search for talent, including social media such as LinkedIn, Xing, or Github, and participation in various events where we meet candidates in person.
Mistake 2: Using email templates
Quite often, recruiters will type an email up and will, then, use it as a template to contact many potential candidates. Yes, this does save some time, but if you make a mistake when using a template, you could annoy the recipient and start your relationship off on the wrong foot. Think, for example, what would happen if you forget to change the name at the beginning of this introductory email, saying ‘Hi Peter’ to a person named Steven. This is a silly mistake, and to be honest, I even made it once. Back, when I was a junior recruiter, working to tight deadlines, I would search for candidates for more than 30 positions at a time. I used about 15 template emails to cover all situations. I turned into some kind of robot—mindlessly copying, pasting and sending emails. As a result, I sent an email to someone using the wrong name. Luckily, the recipient saw the funny side and replied, beginning his email,
‘Hi, Jessica [he obviously knew this was not my name],’
Had the recipient not had a sense of humour, he might even have found my email insulting! After this, I learned to be very careful when using templates!
Another issue with using templates is that when you introduce yourself and your company to a potential candidate, you need to do so in such a way that they will want to continue reading your message. If you do so, the recipient is more likely to respond to you. First, introduce yourself—give your name, position, company, reasons for contacting, and brief details about the vacant position.
Choose and contact people carefully. Send them personalised messages and explain to them why their profile fits the position currently open in your team.
Mistake 3: Making a fool of yourself in the interview
Anytime you ask a question you are supposed to listen carefully for the answer. Nevertheless, be careful if you decide to sound overly intellectual, you may either say something wrong or receive an answer you do not understand. Don’t become a laughingstock by trying to sound impressive.
When preparing to interview, note down some questions you want to ask or underline important information, then make a plan on how to conduct the interview.
That said, it is embarrassing to say something wrong during an interview. It is always useful to have some kind of ‘glossary’ handy, so you can easily access and check technical terminology. Devote all the time you need to understand the core information, so you are fully prepared. Finally, right before the interview: get yourself into well-balanced, professional, and friendly frame-of-mind.
Mistake 4: Hiring only for technical skills
The struggle to find tech talent has led to a fast and simple recruitment processes which only focuses on the candidate’s technical background and skillset. However, is this alone sufficient for someone to be a good coder? From my experience working at Dreamix, an Angular development company, I saw that it is incredibly difficult to find great minds which are smart, dedicated, and ambitious and who could also contribute to our company culture.
Mistake 5: Searching for a superhero with a mix of incompatible skills
Have you ever tried to find a needle in a haystack? This is exactly what is happening when we try to find an individual with a complex skillset; e.g. is it possible to find a Java Developer with a deep native iOS experience and also a background in network system design? Does anyone expect to find and hire such person?
Another situation that I have often run across is finding job postings which require candidates to have four years’ experience with a recently released version of some technology. This is impossible, and we should not insist that candidates have it.
In job postings, it is unnecessary to provide long, tedious, and difficult-to-read descriptions. Instead, we should include concise information about the position’s main requirements and obligations, as well as about the nature of the job and field. The position must be presented attractively.
Mistake 6: Prolonging the hiring process
Another common mistake is wasting too much time with unnecessary and pointless stages of the interview process.
In my experience at a recruitment agency, on the one hand, I saw companies whose entire interview process was limited to a single phone, Skype or face-to-face interview, while on the other hand, I saw companies with a 12-15 step hiring process.
Don’t forget, it takes time and effort for people to participate in interviews. It is unrealistic to expect working people to invest personal time. Remember, they have to leave their current workplace, and most likely they will have to make up an excuse to cover their absence. Being a part of an entrepreneurial organisation, we put all our effort into developing a simple but efficient recruitment process. There are just two stages: a cultural interview and a technical interview.
Mistake 7: Not following up
Yes, I know we all have a lot on our plates, but the recruitment process needs to have a definite beginning and end. Always give feedback at the end, whether the candidate was suitable for the position or not. If you are not going to hire the candidate at the moment, take the time to build a long-term partnership and keep his or her profile in mind for future positions.
Technical recruitment is becoming an increasingly challenging and complex activity. Hiring is a vital part of Talent Management because your company culture is formed by the people you select and hire. Choose wisely and the benefits will follow.
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Paolina Yordanova is a People & Culture Expert at Dreamix, an angular development company. Her professional background covers various aspects of Talent Management – recruitment & selection, on-boarding of newcomers, employee performance management, personnel administration, internal training. She is passionate about employee relations, talent acquisition and is working on establishing best strategies for constant personal and organisational development.