For recruiters and talent acquisition specialists, sourcing technology talent is often the hardest part of their jobs. This is because the skills they are looking for are highly technical and can often seem foreign to someone with a nontechnical background, making it difficult to differentiate between a mediocre candidate and someone who is highly-skilled in their trade.
This is especially true in tech-centric cities with growing numbers of tech companies popping up each day. I spoke with some leading tech companies about their strategies for securing top talent. Read below on their best tips for sourcing tech talent and some of the greatest challenges they face.
Leverage Your Network
“The most important tool any recruiter or business owner has is their network”, says Marcus Turner, CTO of Enola Labs. This network may be a database of contacts or LinkedIn connections. Regardless, Turner believes it is vital to leverage these connections in order to fill tech roles. “Even if one of your senior tech contacts is not looking for a job at this time, they probably know someone who is looking for a change. Great engineers know other great engineers, so utilize your network to supplement your candidate search”.
Here are some actionable ways to truly leverage your network:
- Go through your inbox or anywhere your company keeps records of people who have applied to past roles (if this doesn’t exist, start saving contact info and resumes for everyone!) and organize the data into a spreadsheet or database. You can organize these people by job skills and seniority and may find that some of these past candidates are qualified for current openings, even if it wasn’t the right fit previously.
- Go to your LinkedIn connections list and request to download your connection information. LinkedIn will send you an Excel document within a couple of hours containing all of your connection’s information. Use this to organize connections by geographic location, job title, etc. in order to develop a group of people you can reach out to for specific tech roles as they open up at your company. Stay on top of connecting with technical professionals in your network and being a resource to these individuals.
As a Business, Provide the Right Tools
It is not uncommon for sourcers and recruiters to have no technical background. Danyelle Michelini, a Technical Recruiter at Google, expresses that having the right tools from your company is absolutely vital to being successful in sourcing technical candidates. “Often times, sourcers and recruiters aren't technical individuals, but giving them the tools to understand the roles they are hiring for, is not only imperative to helping them find the right people, but also in enabling them to speak intelligently on the position and its impact on the company and team."
Here are some actionable ways to provide your team with the right tools:
- Michelini believes that she is able to be successful in her role because Google sets her up with the tools she needs to be successful. For example, she is offered trainings from the company to better understand new products and the broader industry. This is so valuable when it comes to explaining (and selling) the job and company to potential candidates.
- As a company, invest more time into developing trainings for non-technical employees at every level who will need to engage with technical members of the team, especially technical recruiters. All employees are ambassadors of your business, so for them to have a grasp of the technology, vocabulary, and company initiatives will be helpful to the entire organization. This is also particularly important when disseminating company information to potential hires.
Utilize Your Technical Team for Support
For recruiters and members of your company who do not come from a technical background, sourcing technical talent is even more difficult. The job description will most likely look like a foreign language, making it tricky to discern which candidates are actually proficient in skills needed to perform the job with success.
This was the case for Sean Killian, Head of Marketing and Sales at his company, who, at times, is tasked with helping to source technical candidates. His best tip for being successful at this task? “Utilize your existing technical team, if possible, to really do a deep dive into what is expected of this role. Get a list of keyword skills they would like the candidate to have and, if possible, have your technical team screen resumes so that you can see examples of candidates they like and don’t like."
Here are some actionable ways to utilize your technical team for support:
- Schedule a sit down meeting with your technical team each time a new role opens up within your organization. Ask technical team members for a “wish list” of skills they would like to see in potential candidates so that you know exactly what to look for.
- As a non-technical person, it is okay to conduct initial screenings and discussions with the candidates, but anything further than that should be handled by engineers or developers within your organization. Make sure that technical screens and tests are managed by your existing technical team, or bring in a technical person or consultant to do this if you do not have an existing technical team.
Building Your Tech Team
By leveraging your network, providing the right tools to everyone on the team, and leaning on your existing technical team for support, you will be in excellent shape for sourcing highly-skilled, technical talent. There are also a variety of tools and third-party resources to consider for those hoping to save time with this process.
Do you have any other tips for sourcing a technical team? Let us know your best tips in the comments below.
About the Author: Alexandra Bohigian is the marketing coordinator at Enola Labs Software, an Austin, TX based software development company. Alexandra is also a freelance writer and editor.