Your team is growing, and hiring has to scale proportionally. It’s a great moment to consider adding some power to the team by getting a recruitment professional on board. It is also worth remembering that the recruiter is the face of your company in the talent pool. Often, the recruiter will be the only person candidates will come in contact with.
These are all very valid reasons to make sure your new recruiter works for you and truly helps strengthen the team.
In this post, I offer a few points to pay attention to while hiring your first recruiter. Most of the ideas will be helpful for the existing working process too. The information below may be advantageous to Team leaders, Engineering managers, and CTOs acting as hiring managers.
Choosing the right person (before hire)
The cumulative effort you and your team have invested into developing working relationships and culture is enormous. It is essential to keep that going while adding new people to the team.
A good recruiter can help with that, provided they are someone who truly understands people. Someone you would enjoy talking to, who knows how to keep the conversation flowing, who can create a safe space. If you feel that way about someone, it’s very likely that candidates will as well.
Recruiter role requirements
An important point to start with: define what the role entails precisely. Often assuming that the position is well defined in our head, we think it’s enough to keep things in check throughout the process. While this is usually true, putting the requirements on paper will bring a better structure to your thoughts.
Think about what the recruiter will be helping you with during their first month, three months, and half-year. Transform these thoughts into role requirements, write them out.
Starting with a job description template will speed things up, and you could change the description following your thinking.
Searching for software developers
In software development, finding the right candidate can be a big challenge if a recruiter doesn’t truly understand your business and the nuances of the current job market. Recruiters already working in your industry can offer expertise in the market and may even know of passive job seekers who would consider changing for the right company. That is important because highly skilled candidates are constantly weighing their options – even in an uncertain economy.
Offer a realistic work assignment
Do you already know what will be the first task the new recruiter gets? Convert it to a test assignment and outline evaluation criteria for the deliverable. For example, if it will be about sourcing and conducting the first interview, ask to pick five candidates for the given job opening. Provide enough time to complete the exercise, evaluate and make sure to share feedback.
Such exercise will allow both you and the candidate to better gauge whether there’s a mutual fit while working on an actual project. The candidate will get better insight into the way you work and what’s expected from them.
Working the right way (after hire)
You have hired a recruiter. Congratulations! Get started by establishing a reliable working process.
As a hiring manager, you are probably the most knowledgeable person regarding team culture, work process, and generally what works and what doesn’t. Now the challenge is to transfer this knowledge to the recruiter so that they could apply correct judgement early in the process with every potential candidate.
Alignment with the recruiter
In addition to guiding through the current state of affairs, consider using a calibration exercise. It is an activity where you ask the recruiter to prepare a list of 10 to 15 hypothetical candidates with different technical backgrounds, seniority levels, and strengths and weaknesses.
If there’s no time for coming up with theoretical ideas, take an existing job opening and use it for the exercise.
Once the list is there, go through it together. From the hiring manager position, explain why a particular candidate is a good fit, and another one is not. Be as specific as possible; make sure to address evaluation points beyond what’s written in the job description.
Do not forget to explain your judgement on culture fit – often, it is challenging to describe it on paper, but it doesn’t get less important because of this fact.
Continuous bidirectional feedback
As with many processes, sharing feedback helps uncover more significant issues, should they exist. If you are not satisfied with the output of a recruiter, talk about it. However, keep in mind that the success of their work heavily depends on the following factors:
- employer brand image of your company
- technology stack and its popularity among developers
- interview process efficiency and engagement for candidates
Tip: learn (a bit) more about a candidate before hiring
Using psychometric tools like the Myers-Briggs scale can help you learn more about a candidate before making the final decision.
The goal of the test is to help people succeed at work. According to the scale, some people are better than others suited for a certain type of work. For example, people with the ENFJ type may be better suited for working with people:
ENFJ – The Protagonist
People-lovers who are energetic, articulate, and diplomatic, ENFJs excel in cooperative roles that require them to be expressive and logical.
This test is a serious tool that comes with its own set of precautions. For instance, you should understand that there are no good or bad personality types and be prepared to work with all aspects of a particular personality without being judgemental. Furthermore, such tests are not always accurate.
At first glance, the advice above may sound hard to implement. However, quite to the contrary, you don’t have to invest a lot of time and effort – having these tips in the mindset while searching for a recruiter is enough. You’ll get this investment back in spades – by having a well-tuned sourcing and recruitment process in general.
If you’re interested in improving your onboarding process, check out this post: 4 Easy Steps For Better Onboarding