A Recruiters Manifesto to Engineers

This post first appeared on recruitDC.org

Recruiters are frustrated. Especially those doing technical recruiting in hotbeds like San Francisco, New York and D.C. They can find the talent that they want out there, but they can’t get them to respond. And frankly, I get it. Engineers must feel like slabs of meat in a recruiter-filled nightclub, when it’s well after 2 AM. 

But that’s not you. You’re not that meathead who is just mass-spamming engineers about their “NEXT GREAT OPPORTUNITY! But to them, you might be. It’s hard to stand out and prove your not like all the rest. And I’ve always thought about just being brutally honest with engineers and seeing if we could go back to the good ol’ days when I had a career proposition for someone, and they were happy to hear from me. I suspect if that was ever sent, it might look something like this:

Dear <insert code for pre-populated NAME field here>,

I feel like I need to explain myself, so you can understand me a bit more. I think we’ve gotten away from the core of our   relationship, which is ultimately quite symbiotic, and I want us to fix that. And I think we can get through it without therapy. Just hear me out……

Why I Reach Out

I have to. This is my job.  I know that you’d rather just find me when you’re ready, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. I’m supposed to go out and find the best and most talented engineering minds so that they can join our team and help make us all more successful.  Chances are, if you are getting a message from me, it’s because I’ve researched you and have decided either you are exactly what I’m looking for, or you might be willing to network with me to point me in the right direction. 

I Don’t Code, But I Respect It

I could NEVER do what you do. It’s just not how my brain is wired. And frankly, I’m in awe of what you are able to create with your mind and some code. This is why I always make sure to take care of an engineering team when they helped me out.  I might have the right ideas, but they help bring the idea to life.

But I’m not going to have all the answers to your deep technical questions. I’ll tell you when I haven’t got a clue or I’m in way over my head. But my primary goal here is multi-faceted:

  • I want to assess if you share the mindset of our team.
  • I want to make sure you fit our culture. 
  • I’m assessing your commitment to best practices. 
  • I want to find out what YOU want in your next role. After all, I’ve got the job, but it’s your career. 

Help Me Help You

If there is a best way to communicate with you, let me know. If you are a Twitter-centric person, let’s do that. I’m flexible and can communicate with you on your terms. HipChat? G-Chat? I can work with all of that too. There are days I hate the phone too, trust me. And I want to work with you in the way that you work.

Stop Being Paranoid

Yes, I found your email. How?! Where?! Yeah, I know, you think I’m an intrusive stalker. But really, like you, I’m just doing the best I can at my job, and utilizing the tools available to me. So, yeah sometimes I need to get creative about where to search for contact information. Then again, with all the information the NSA could dig up on someone, what I’m doing is small potatoes.

I Can’t Speak For Everyone

Look, I can’t prevent companies from making bad hires, or thinking they can turn anyone who has ever talked to another human being into a recruiter. I’ll never be able to put a forcefield around you and insulate you from people robotically conversing with you as if they are running off of a checklist. I likely can’t force people to have a conversation like a human. But I promise that I’ll give you the opportunity to tell me everything you want me to know. And I’ll make sure you get the real deal from me. I’ll hold to the deadlines for updatesI give you, even if that update is that there is no update. That’s a pretty good foundation for our relationship, if you ask me. 

So what do you say? Can we start over? I think we still need each other, a little more than we both want to admit.

Let me know and I’ll call you. Or, you know, text you if that’s what you prefer.

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