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Why spamming is not an effective tech recruiting strategy, and other tips for smarter sourcing

This blog post draws from Data-Driven Recruiting episode #63, where CodeSignal Co-Founder Sophia Baik talks with guest Elliott Garms, Co-Founder at humanpredictions, about sourcing technical talent, the future of technical recruiting, and why it’s time to think bigger than LinkedIn.

Here at CodeSignal, we often think of top-of-funnel skills screening as the first step in technical recruiting—and the first place to use data to shape recruiting processes. But in reality, there’s a step that comes even before candidate screening, which is often invisible to people outside of the recruiting world: sourcing. 

In this article, we draw from our recent interview with Elliott Garms, Co-Founder at humanpredictions and veteran technical recruiter, who shared his observations about the top three trends in technical sourcing this year.

#3 — The shift to remote work is permanent—and this is a good thing for technical sourcers.

Recruiting experts caught on sooner than most that remote work is here to stay. What this means for sourcers and recruiters hiring for remote positions is that they can now expand their search to a much bigger pool of qualified talent.

When they were limited by geography, Garms explains, technical sourcers were often confined to engaging prospects who had the right coding skills (backend Python developers, for example)—but who may not be qualified for the role in other ways. Sourcers couldn’t hone in on prospects with additional desired qualities like industry experience, for example; there just might not be enough (or any!) great fits in their location.

Without the limitation of geography, sourcers can identify prospects who are not just a good fit for the role—but a great fit.

#2 — Sourcers need to be reaching out to prospects about more than just job opportunities. 

The demand for technical talent today is real. A recent survey found that over half of HR professionals (61 percent, in fact!) expect hiring qualified developers to be their top challenge in 2021. 

What this means for technical sourcers is that you’re going to need to do a lot more than send templated emails sharing job opportunities to catch a developer’s attention. For Garms, the key is to build trust and meaningful connections with candidates by engaging with them more deeply. When you send a templated email, he explains, “tech folks can smell it from a mile away.”

So what should sourcers be engaging with prospects about, if not job opportunities? The things that matter to them, says Garms. Ask them about events they’ve attended, conferences where they’ve presented, and the latest research in their field (humanprections can help you learn about all of these ????). This shows prospects that you’ve taken the time to really get to know them—and gives them a compelling reason to respond to you.

#1 — Spamming prospects on LinkedIn doesn’t work. It’s time to shift to personalized and data-driven outreach.

Garms’ number one tip for technical sourcers today is simple: stop spamming your prospects. Why? Because the data show that it doesn’t work. Highly personal messages sent via email or LinkedIn get consistently higher response rates than templated messages, Garms explains.

Anyone who uses email regularly can understand this intuitively. As Garms puts it, “you know when you have a real message and when you don’t.” This is even truer for highly sought-after and senior-level developers. 

A better approach than the “numbers game,” says Garms, is for sourcers and recruiters to spend their time doing what they do best: building genuine relationships with their prospects. 

Learn more

Want to learn more about how you can build a winning organization through data-driven recruiting that goes beyond resumes? Visit CodeSignal to find out how you can measure technical skills effectively and objectively with its automated assessment and live interview solutions.