Top 5 Technical Recruiting Tips

Technical recruiting isn’t an easy job. It requires a mix of skills, passion, and grit in order to find the top tech talent, especially in this competitive market. 

But, those who have the right combination can succeed beyond their wildest dreams. 

At CodeSignal, we talk to a lot of technical recruiters at leading organizations like Robinhood, Uber, and Square. 

We asked a few what their top technical recruiting tips in 2020 were and are happy to report back some awesome opportunities for every size and type of organization to take advantage of. Whether you’re hiring generalist junior engineers or experienced engineers with expertise in specific technologies, these technical recruiting tips are designed for you! 

Optimize Your Job Description

Who writes the job descriptions at your organization? It tends to be a different process for every company. And, based on the job you’re hiring for, they tend to sound dramatically different, especially if hiring managers are writing them with little oversight. 

That’s why it’s critical to optimize your job description, especially when hiring engineers. You want to entice candidates to apply to your open positions – not scare them away before they even click submit. Beyond that, you really want to make sure you’re not introducing bias into the hiring process by writing job descriptions. 

Some tips for optimizing your job descriptions for hiring IT or engineering include: 

  • Have a clear and logical structure. For example, start with an introduction that explains the company and your mission and follow it by the specific role and the team.
  • Define overall responsibilities clearly and give tangible examples of projects they might get to work on to pain the picture
  • Be intentional with the language and tone you use on the job description, especially if you want to attract diverse and inclusive team members. Consider using tools that could help you check your biases.
  • Leave out qualifications (they’re a proxy for skills!)
  • Ask for technical assessment results instead of a resume to communicate that you value skills over pedigrees.

Move Beyond LinkedIn

Every recruiter uses LinkedIn. They don’t just use LinkedIn… they all tend to put the same qualifications into their candidate search.

These qualifications include:

  • Previous employers
  • Years of experience
  • Keywords 
  • Skills 

Which means every employer is finding the same group of candidates in their search. We’ve heard from candidates who receive dozens of LinkedIn InMails every single week from recruiters. It’s annoying to them and unhelpful for you! 

Instead of doing what everyone else is, move beyond the traditional filters. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use LinkedIn as one tool in your arsenal, but it shouldn’t be the only place you seek out technical talent.

Beyond the filter problem, not every engineer is even on LinkedIn or their profiles may be way outdated because they aren’t very into social media. By limiting your search to the same filters and same platforms as everyone else, you’re never going to find those stellar technical recruits!

Relax or Remove Required Qualifications

We already mentioned this above, but it is important enough to make it it’s own technical recruiting tips.

Some job posts have requirements like:

  • 3+ years of experience working on a professional development team
  • 3+ years of experience with software development using Ruby / Ruby on Rails 
  • 3+ years of experience with other programming languages, such as Java, Scala and/or Python, and related frameworks/libraries a plus

Years in this case are a proxy to experience – or abilities. Someone with 3+ years of experience in these disciplines should be qualified…Right? Wrong. You don’t actually know if all they did was sit at a desk all day for three years or if they actually have the skills the job demands. 

Beyond the years of experience qualification, we also don’t recommend requiring a degree. Education is changing and a majority of software engineers are, at least in part, self-taught. With so many new technologies popping out, if your candidates only sticks with the old technologies that are taught in university classrooms they might not be behind the times. By requiring a degree, you could actually be missing out on some of the top candidates who chose a non-traditional path. 

Start with a Technical Assessment

Our favorite technical recruiting tip is starting your entire hiring process with an assessment rather than a resume. When hiring, you’re trying to determine if a candidate has the right skills and abilities for a position, not the right keywords on their resumes.

By starting with a technical assessment, you aren’t introducing bias into the process. From the start, you’re analyzing whether a person meets a certain threshold of qualification for the job opportunity

But, you shouldn’t design your technical assessments in-house. 

A fair, unbiased technical assessment will be:

  • Based on a framework
  • Unable to be cheated
  • Designed by professional test designers (not your engineering team)
  • EEOC compliant

Keep in Constant Communication

Who likes being ghosted? Every candidate took time out of their lives to apply for your company. If they got through phases of the hiring process, they took even more time out of their busy lives. 

Keeping in contact with a candidate throughout the hiring process, especially if it is taking a long time, can be a make or break decision for the candidate. Did they not hear from you for two weeks and then you offer them a job? Did you previously ghost them but are now reaching out to them for an offer? 

How you communicate with a candidate is the first experience they have with the company culture. That’s why this is a top technical recruiting tip.

Take These Technical Recruiting Tips into 2020 and Beyond

Everyone loves a good top tips article – but they only work if your organization prioritizes implementing them. Don’t get overwhelmed and think you need to implement all of these technical recruiting tips at once. Instead, focus on the lowest hanging fruit that will transform your hiring process like going beyond resumes and starting with technical assessments or not having stringent qualifications. 

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