At the end of the day, the success or failure of your recruitment process depends on the people doing the recruiting.
You can prepare the stages of the process with extreme precision and scrutiny. You can read guides like this one and formulate your unique theory of recruiting. You can spend a lot of time and effort planning ahead to leave no stone unturned before you get down to business.
None of it will matter if your recruiters are not up to the task. Who they are personally and how they conduct themselves professionally translates directly into your candidates’ experience with your company.
Which is why we have devoted the third chapter of our series on hiring developers to the people directly responsible for the tricky challenge of recruiting software engineers for your company.
Here are 5 qualities your recruiters should possess in order to do a good job of adding new members to your software development teams:
You know what they say about first impressions, right?
Your recruiters are the first point of contact between you and your applicants. They speak for your entire company and represent everything your brand stands for. For the people you turn down, your recruiters will be the extent of their experience with your company.
That is why it is absolutely crucial that you choose the people doing your recruiting very, very carefully. How your candidates see them is how your candidates will see you.
Above all else, this means that your recruiters need to be completely professional. “Well-informed” is a bit of an understatement; they really should know the basics of everything there is to know about your company. Any question an interviewee may have, they should be ready to answer. Preparedness is essential.
Think of organization as the “technical side” of being professional.
Punctuality is one of the big components here. If your recruiters are late for a scheduled appointment, or barely make it at the last minute, it casts a proportional shadow of poor time management on your company. They should be there ahead of time, waiting for the interviewee to come, with everything already in place.
Being organized also means being in control of the interview. Have the questions prepared beforehand. Make sure your questions are the right ones. Ask the questions in a sensible order that agrees with the flow of the conversation. All of this speaks volumes of your recruiters’ competence and strongly informs how the interview is going to go.
If your recruiter needs to use notes or a laptop during the interview, it’s their job to make sure this doesn’t break the flow of the meeting. Such extra materials are acceptable only if they facilitate the meeting, not disrupt it. Also, it’s bad practice to rely too heavily on notes, since it makes your recruiters look unprofessional and incompetent.
Empathy is generally one of the most wonderful qualities a person can have in life. It can also be extremely useful in the workplace, especially if someone works closely with other people, or whose job requires them to constantly meet new people. Like, say, a recruiter.
Recruiters benefit from being empathetic in a variety of ways, but never more so than when an interviewee is a particularly poor fit for the job. Politely turning someone down can sometimes be a tremendous challenge, and that’s when empathy is needed the most.
The reason why empathy is so important is because you have no idea who the person sitting in front of you is. You don’t know their life story, where they’re coming from, or what they’re going through, and all of that can influence their performance during the interview. Professional competences or lack thereof may very well be just the tip of the iceberg.
A recruiter needs to be understanding. People are people, and circumstances change everything.
Similarly to professionalism and organization, a parallel may be drawn between empathy and respect—with subtle distinctions.
The key thing to remember is we’re all human. We fail. We have bad days. Things don’t always go our way. Sometimes this affects our day-to-day lives in ways we can’t anticipate. It can also make us perform miserably during a job interview.
None of that means we don’t deserve to be respected.
Let’s assume a job interview does go horribly wrong. For whatever reason, the candidate is tragically underqualified. There is exactly zero chance of your recruiters changing their minds about him or her.
The appropriate response is to calmly, but decisively, turn them down—and then offer help. Give them recommendations, point them to the areas most in need of improvement, suggest workshops or other forms of honing their skills. The value of individual feedback cannot be overstated. Provide it always.
Who knows, maybe down the line they will reach out again, this time coming from a much different place? Time will tell, but even if this is the last you’ll see of each other, they will always remember being treated like a human being. And likely pass the good word on.
This is something that often gets ignored, though it really shouldn’t: your recruiters need to be involved in the software engineering community. Hosting and attending workshops and hackathons, following influential figures within the community on social media, or staying up to speed on the latest and greatest in the tech world are all great.
Granted, the technical side of recruitment belongs chiefly to the developers interviewing your candidates during the IT interview, but your HR department also has to be familiar with the fundamentals of IT.
No matter what a recruiter’s exact role at your company is, they are recruiting developers, and as such should be prepared to answer questions that can specifically come from developers applying for a software engineering position.
Even if said questions won’t be extremely detailed or technical in nature, developers have their own community culture, so it would be awkward if your recruiters had no interest in this culture or knowledge of it.
Every company is more than a sum of its individual parts, and each employee should act like an integral piece of a larger whole. While falling short in this regard may be forgiven in the case of employees who don’t have a strictly representative function, recruiters must meet this requirement.
You now know what you should expect from the people charged with hiring your software developers. But if you decide against spending precious time and money on doing the recruiting yourself, you can always try your hand at outsourcing.
Many companies decide that their efforts are better directed elsewhere, turning to service providers such as ourselves for personnel support. To learn what results you can get by outsourcing your software development, feel free to browse the many stories of successful cooperation in our Portfolio.
Meanwhile, thanks for checking out yet another installment in our little hiring series. Each of the chapters offers a snippet of the knowledge included in our brand new ebook. You can get it here.
We have one more article on recruiting software developers left for you. Stay tuned!