The Right Way To Engage Technical Talent

Avoid The Bite: The Right Way To Engage Technical Talent

Recruiter, Are You Worth Talking To?
Monitor your brand & avoid a hiring disaster

Last week I had a lot of fun presenting a webinar for Jobscience on one of my favourite topics, recruiting technical talent. Of course my co-host, Bennett Sung, knowing me too well had to incorporate a dog theme! The theme fits.

If you missed it, watch it here “How To Engage Technical Talent & Make Them Your Best Friend

This post and the slides below summarise what you missed but definitely have a listen to the full webinar.



7 Engagement Scenarios That’ll Be Sure Scare Off Technical Talent

1. You’re in the wrong place!

technical talent

It’s time to look beyond the very small talent pool on LinkedIn because technical talent are bombarded by [lazy] recruiters and are fed up. They are or have left.

Just because LinkedIn say they’re the solution, are they?


2. You don’t care about first impressions!

What disservice are you doing to you and your company/client by being cagey?

Be clear about who you’re hiring for as you’ll come across as authentic. If you’re too scared to, you need to strengthen the bond you have with your clients.


3. You’re being lazy

Just because you can find someone on Twitter doesn’t mean you should @username them because you don’t know how the impact it will have! [If you’re not sure how to use Twitter, grab a copy of my free eBook]

Remember, you’d never walk into a pub and yell, “want a job?” so don’t do it on social media. It will only make you look bad.


4. You don’t understand the tech

It’s ok to manager your Managers and challenge them on occasion. Just because a technology has been around for 3 years, doesn’t always mean you’ll find people with 3 years of expertise.

You need to understand the tech and your marketplace. [In the webinar, you’ll hear an example from my experience hiring Qlikview professionals]

…and, of course, not knowing your C sharp over your C hash (or even hashtag) will lead to embarrassment.


5. You think you’re funny but you’re offensive

You call yourself ‘nerd herder’ without knowing that tech professionals think that’s offensive.

In fact, I almost find herder more offensive but, this is about techies. They don’t like it. Know that.

And beware, if you are offensive you will be retweeted and shared and passed on. The internet is theirs.


6. You forget that the Internet is their playground

They’ll mock you @sh*trecruiterssay. Your reputation could be irreversibly sullied.

Your reputation, along with your company’s, will impact on your ability to hire.


7. You overlook that feedback is two way

Upset a developer enough and you could find a website created in your name. This website could remain on page 1 of Google when someone searches for your name.

This will impact on your ability to hire AND it will impact on your ability to be hired!


9 Golden Rules To Make Technical Talent Your Best Friend

1. Invest in your understanding of technology

Be really curious. Get onto Google. Read. Ask questions. Look for resources, like you’ll find on Dice.

In-house Recruiters, ask your teams. Agency Recruiters, ask your candidates.

Peruse questions on Stackoverflow or Quora.

Would it even be a step to far to learn to code if it made recruitment easier?


2. Invest in understanding the people

Start at Feedly and look for blogs and articles, it’s a great source of knowledge.

Notice their comments and reactions, this is where you’ll gain so much insight into their personalities.


3. Understand the different personas

This is particularly important when you compare developers and recruiters. Theses differences need to be taken into account when you’re hiring, especially when there are 5 job vacancies per developer here in the UK!

Checkout slide 18 for more.


4. Know what technical talent wants!

Really this could be useful knowledge for all your recruitment but, using developers as an example, they would like:

  • Pleasant workspace – good lighting, no basements!
  • The right equipment – if they want 3 screens, give it to them
  • Independence and flexibly (wouldn’t we all though..)
  • An office free of micro-managing and politics
  • Skilled Managers
  • Smart people (if your tech talent aren’t the smartest, listen to the webinar for a tip on overcoming this!)
  • The ability to learn more


5. Know the quality of your engineering

Joel Spolsky has created the Joel Test, which you’ll see on slide 20, and this is what you should ask your hiring managers / clients. Also read this great post on the subject.

If your hiring managers won’t give you this information, they’ll end up wasting their own time interviewing unsuitable applicants.


6. Be someone worth talking to

I think this is important for any recruitment and where so many go wrong by hiding or having cryptic bios.

Complete your profiles, clearly setting the scene of who you are and what you’re about. Get recommended by the technical professionals you hire. Yes, I know the techies aren’t on LinkedIn but your LinkedIn profile ranks high on Google.

And understand your audience! Like Matt does with his pinned tweet.

7. Dig before you make contact!

In the webinar I talk about some of my favourite Chrome extensions and how to use them to map across social networks.

This is key in a candidate driven market like this one. Use the tools to find out interesting snippets and insights, then use these in your communication.

For example, you see a candidate has a dog and you have a pets at work policy, tell them! They won’t know you’ve been snooping researching.


8. You have under 20 seconds

In fact, you could have as little as 15 seconds of attention before your email is closed so ensure your communication:

  • is written in the “what’s in it for them?”
  • shows that you’ve done your research
  • shows that you’re worth talking to and
  • isn’t lazy me, me, me but is proactive them, them, them!


9. Monitor your engagement

One from Bennett, there are great tools out there that you can use to know if your email is read.

Then you can engage when they’ve read your email, with a call (unless they’re a developer!) or a follow up email.


What’s your top tip for hiring technical talent?