Recruiting In 3D

Sin City: Hacking Candidate Conferences


Under normal circumstances, I would not find myself within several hundred miles of Lasvegas Vegas at the beginning of August. I guess I’m a creature of habit and prefer Sin City at the start of the NCAA Tournament. That, and 110 degrees being OK because it is a “dry heat” is about as rewarding as being a member of the “clean plate club” as a kid. At the end of the day, you still ate that food, and 110 is still 110.

When I was invited by my friend and colleague Kathleen Smith (CMO of ClearedJobs.net) to come out and cover the BSides Las Vegas (BSides) security conference, I was happy to take it on. After all, I’ve hired security people before and I’m admittedly a little curious to know how they do what they do. That curiosity is just good recruiting behavior.

But I did have some reservations. I knew I’d be in way over my head with this crowd. I was sure they’d KNOW I was a recruiter. I’d be tossed out like a busted 13-side dice at a D&D marathon. And then for good measure, they’d hack the hell out of me.

I’ve never been so happy to be wrong before.

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Mining For Gold: Turning The Resume Upside Down

When you are in Talent Acquisition, there are few certainties in your world. Job descriptions will change at the 11th hour, and budgets will be slashed, and candidates will change their minds with the frequency of  strobe light. But one thing has remained the same through all the hiring (r)evolutions in the last decade or so – the resume.goldrush

It may have changed in its look and feel, or the method of delivery to you the recruiter, but it still contains the core basic information as it always has. From the resume, one is able to tell where the candidate went to school, what they have accomplished professionally, and a few other odds and ends needed to assess if there is a baseline fit for a role. Depending on the candidate, you may also have additional sections to glean information about the candidate. They usually fall under a banner of “volunteer experience”, “hobbies”, or something similar. And this section, for all its brevity, it’s where the gold can be buried. Read More

5 Things Every New Recruiter Needs To Remember

I’ve been at this recruiting thing for almost 16 years now, and I can’t say that I knew I’d be doing what I do for a living in my 40’s. And it’s always good to take stock of your life and path when you’re hitting a milestone that either makes people go skydiving, hit up the coffeeshops in Amsterdam, or eat a bullet.

Personally, I’m choosing option #2 since I’ve found enough ways to almost off myself since the mid-90s without having to try # 1 or #3 at any point. At the risk of copyright infringing on my main man, Derek Zeller: #TrueStory…

One of my favorite topics to discuss (aside from the show in Mountain View) is how to better equip recruiters at the front end of their career, rather than abiding by the time-tested “sink or swim” method. As I’ve mentioned in previously, mentors and those realitywho help shape the future of our industry are indispensable.

But reality is reality, (unless you are a Kardashian), so for those unfortunate souls who are new to recruiting and will have to learn to fly by being thrown off the cliff, here’s a few things to keep in mind. PS: I think it’s important to note that my definition of a “new recruiter” is really the first five years of your career. Read More

No Time For Losers: Why We Love To Hate Recruiters

Pick any trending topic that’s top of mind in recruiting right now, from the candidate experience to onboarding.

Chances are that once you strip away all the unnecessary layers of BS, buzzwords and bureaucracy, and once you get rid of the ubiquitous consultants and unnecessary complexity, all recruiting is just variations on the same theme, really.

Step back and take a really good look. Fact is, every problem plaguing our profession shares both a common cause and a stunningly simple solution.

Turns out, overcoming even the most pressing or pervasive talent challenge really comes down to what seems, superficially at least, to be a pretty obvious silver bullet: adding a little humanity to the hiring process.

No matter how many machines we have, no matter how much data we generate nor how many processes we can automate, the simple fact is that every recruiting process revolves around people. Hiring managers, not algorithms, still have the final say in who gets an offer.

The most advanced matching engine or sophisticated software can’t build scaleable, sustainable relationships with candidates, no matter what the product marketing material may say.

And as much as the talking heads and “thought leaders” would like us to think otherwise, the fact is that for many of us, working directly with candidates represents a significant part of the way we spend the days we spend at work.

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In Plain English: How To Talk To Tech Candidates

For many recruiters, particularly those hunting in-demand technical candidates, talking tech can be one of the most daunting and intimidating parts of their job. And when you need to assess whether or not your candidate can do the job, this becomes an integral part of doing your job well.

Having spent the better part of 15 years doing technical recruiting, I had to climb this mountain as well to get to the level of comfort that I have today. I still have to go back to the well and gather more info when new technology emerges, but that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Here are a few ways to get more comfortable in a world that many of us did not go to school for.

Know Your Tech Stack

If you’re struggling to understand the difference between front end and back end or HTTP calls and responses, then you need to do some homework. Nothing is worse than being the recruiter who calls a Java engineer about a JavaScript role, you know, because they both say Java.

TalentBin has a great beginner reference that breaks down the variations on a tech stack, which you can find here. You may still need to do some digging in order to then understand what each tool or platform does, but this gets you a head start in the right directiontalentbin cheat sheet

You may also find times when you need to just know what the heck something is. There are a few that I’ve used in the past, which still aid me to this day. Bookmark them, and keep them handy for when you need them.

http://whatis.techtarget.com/ 

http://www.webopedia.com/

Spend Time With Engineers

One of the most resourceful ways to get info is to ask questions of the people already doing this work at your company, the engineers themselves. I’ve spent many hours talking with engineers at the companies I’ve worked with to understand what they do, how different technologies work with each other, and exactly what the point of those technologies are. Humans by nature love to have their ego stroked, and people love talking about what they are passionate about.

This is your opportunity to ask the questions you need to about the technology and the day to day work that you don’t get to see every day. As always, you never get any questions answered if you don’t ask them.

Research StackOverflow & GitHub Profiles

A good proportion of tech candidates spend time curating their Github and Stack profiles, just as we do with LinkedIn, and other sites for our social footprint. Simply perusing what questions they have answered, their reputation and the technology that they use most often.

Not only will this give you a sense of their background and expertise, but it can provide you with talking points that will engage the candidate. And, what’s more, is that they may even be answering questions that are relevant to the position you are hiring for, which gives them some credibility.

Admit What You Don’t Know

Simply put: Don’t fake it and give an answer for the sake of giving an answer. If you don’t have an answer for the candidate on a tech question that they have for you, it’s OK to say you don’t know and need to get back to them on it. (If you say, that, follow through and get the answer – again, credibility is a two-way street. Your candidates will appreciate your candor, and the engineering teams you work with will value your desire and diligence in understanding the work they do, which too many people often take for granted.

Happy Hunting!

 

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