As a freshly graduated software engineer, I have been overwhelmed by recruiters with job offers. I appreciate each craft and therefore provide some free tips on how to successfully approach software engineers (at least how I would love recruiters to interact).
So often I hear people talking about how bad the totally irrelevant job postings are. I skip a lot of in-mails simply because it has become a kind of Gmail add trash spam. When most recruiters write: “we know you are bombarded with in-mails, but …” or “I know it might be annoying to get …”, something has gone terribly wrong in the industry. So what to do about this problem? I think the industry should focus on more targeted job offerings, and reduce the number of in-mails.
Here are some tips that will help you get along better with your candidates and achieve higher success rates. I see many recruiters (not all) seriously failing at this. While most of them sound pretty simple, I find that they are ignored by many recruiters.
- Use templates but dont abuse them. If you want a candidate to work for your company full-time, invest some time and pick candidates with the following tips. Begin your first in-mail with a personal note rather than typical template text.
- Research the technologies you are recruiting for. What makes them special, and what culture is behind them? Usually, the technology that passionate programmers invest in has deep-seated meaning to them. It’s a religion of some kind. Asking a Muslim to become a Christian is strange and totally out of place. Wait for the conversion to come from the candidate and then hook up and work out options.
- Read the candidate’s resume. Most programmers have their own website, and or Github profile. GitHub in particular is gaining more and more popularity for a technical resume. You can get a quick look at what the candidate’s skills, interests, passions, and motivations are. Know this and start your in-mail with it. If there is no match, don’t contact them.
- Inspect the linked-in activity of the last 5 months. Please do not contact if the candidate has announced somewhere in the last 5 months, publically, to have a new job position. Yes, this just occurred to me. Also, Look at the current job the candidate has. If a candidate has worked somewhere just for a few weeks dont bother reaching out.
- Look at the companies the candidate has worked at. Passionate and skilled developers work their way up to the companies where they can maximize their potential. Make sure the company you are resourcing for actually matches the candidate’s resume.
- Keep your in-mails short. They will likely not be read because of that.
- Know your audience. Web development, UX, hardware, mobile, backend, game-dev, and game/engine-dev are vast areas with many complicated sub-areas. Please dont bother candidates with odd job requests totally do not match their interests. It’s like asking a farmer to become a fisherman on a casual workday while fetching potatoes from the farm. (see 2)
- Respect the ‘not open for jobs’ indicator. If a candidate is not open to new jobs dont reach out to the candidate.
- Be down to earth. It happens to all of us that we get so used to using certain vocabulary that we use and see everywhere. Try to find the words that no one uses and approach your candidates with normal language instead of very hyper-intrusions, positive language.
- Use concrete, explicit language rather than abstract implicit language. The more personal candidate-related you mention the more it resonates with the candidate. Avoid generalizations and abstractions in your language. Call out the specific projects, companies, or languages the person is invested in.
I have come across very good recruiters who do their job very well. Most of them adhered to the above 10 tips. Programmers are people too, not code typing machines who get euphoric from the number of pop-tech checklists written up in the in-mail. Maintain those tips, fix the “annoying recruiter stereotype,” and conduct your profession with due care!