Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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7/29/2014
10:56 AM
Jack Perkins
Jack Perkins
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Stop Recruiting, Start Connecting

Software engineers want to talk with their fellow professionals about job opportunities, not run the HR gauntlet.

unless they absolutely have to? These engineers stick to their own networks for future jobs, just as you plumb your networks for future hires.

You must expand your network through your employees. When your employees post job openings on their social networks, their message shouldn't be: "Come work for my boss." It should be: "Come work with me." Serious professionals (and that's who you have working for you, right?) care deeply about who they work with. A referral bonus is a mis-incentive. The best engineers seek out future colleagues who they respect and can learn from.

Out: passive candidates. In: stealth candidates
The term "passive candidates" conjures mannequins waiting for you to press their "on" buttons. Who you're really looking for are "stealth candidates." These are employed engineers (all the good ones are employed) who consider switching jobs occasionally but don't feel like sticking their head out. Why not? Because they know that applying for a job puts them in a worse negotiating position. Since they aren't desperate for a new job, they're not about to update a resume and fight their way through HR firewalls.

These stealth candidates aren't about to cold-contact you. (They're not salespeople. They hate cold contact.) You can't just tell them, "Send in your resume." You need to make it easy and unthreatening for them to ping you with a click, to signal "Let's chat." Using their LinkedIn or other online profiles to help in vetting them, you have enough to carry the conversation from there.

Out: recruiter. In: matchmaker
A good recruiter doesn't pester candidates. There isn't a reason for her even to talk with candidates. The members of the development team should do most of the talking. They're the ones who are hiring.

Recruiters -- let's call them matchmakers -- do have a role to play. They help stealth candidates come out of the woodwork. They help the candidates lay out their real requirements, not the ones they think potential employers want to hear. Then they put the two parties in touch and get out of the way. For more on the matchmaker concept, see our article Rise of the Anti-Recruiters.

Out: acquisition. In: anything! Just not that!
Does "talent acquisition" mean that we're buying our technical staff? They're not for sale! They're paid (very well) to do their jobs. In the elite sectors of the software industry they're business partners, paid as much as some executives and rewarded with ample equity.

New world, new approach
New software worlds are opening up, as older industries shrink and disappear and software takes over. Demand for software engineers will continue to soar. Employers that keep trying to fill reqs like they're 20th century assembly line jobs will fall behind companies adept at peer-to-peer communication.

When two software engineers who understand each other talk, they build a professional connection that benefits both of them for the rest of their careers. If all goes well, that brings the best of the best on board your company, even the top stealth candidates who never talk with recruiters.

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Jack Perkins, principal of Oryx Search, has been bringing software engineers together for well over two decades. He has worked with hundreds of Silicon Valley startups as well as recognized technology icons. Always an independent and never an inside recruiter, he has a unique ... View Full Bio
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batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2014 | 1:25:27 PM
Re: Stealth candidate
interesting point, as the process itself is not a simple one...
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
8/1/2014 | 3:43:14 PM
Stealth candidate
The reason why most candidates do not bother with interviewing is that they don't have to and the process of polishing that resume, doing a phone screening, a one on one meeting with HR, another interview with the hiring manager, another interview with peers including a skills test, followed by who knows how many more interviews...just to get offered a temp to hire opportunity.

Companies should get everyone in a room and then talk to the candidate. Ask questions and listen to the answers, then turn that around, have the candiate ask questions and then give answers.

OR: hire straight out of college and train your new employee the way you want. That will be more promising to find the ideal candiate than hoping that she or he magically shows up and begs for a job.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 10:05:48 PM
Re: Stop Recruiting, Start Connecting
Chris, yes that is surprising and even I would have not been initially able to relate the need of CIO or senior IT management team member sitting on the interviewing panel. In fields where you have surplus labour in the market, you can screen out a candidate if IT feels that the person is not suitable enough because that is what the new panel member will do; extra screening and eliminating candidates. If intention is only to get the candidate introduced, then there isn't any problem.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 10:00:59 PM
Re: IT
Bhori, I will count that as a negative in the hiring process. May be the colleagues would want the candidate to stay out of the company if they feel he or she would not gel in with them and that's the way when the company might lose a professional who is competant and does not think conventionally.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 9:58:24 PM
New angle
I like this concept of convincing candidates. People like software engineers or lets say almost every skilled professional is concerned also about their JD and the possible learning opportunities. Money and designation aren't always the critical factors. 
Bhori
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Bhori,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 8:30:14 PM
Re: Hidden gems
 reps that I would talked to were clueless on the software and projects that I had managed, even less regarding certifications.


Mejiac: And this is what get some very good prospects uninterested in the position and projects a negative impact of the organization. Company's impression on candidates is as important as on customer or someone else outside the organization, as they would also share their screening or hiring experience with their network.
Bhori
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Bhori,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 8:02:19 PM
Re: IT

In those old days it was as first you recruit and then connect.

@ Hammy: Very well said. Glad that this is changing. I remember the time, when team was surprised with a new member, which they find very different from them and their needs either, and the politics of power and survival began

Bhori
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Bhori,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 8:01:30 PM
Re: Hidden gems

IT people have a very myopic view about assessing people. They'd only focus on the technical part and not on the overall personality.

@tzubair: Agreed, this isn't just the problem of IT but almost every department. In my organization, department people and heads assess the candidate on technical grounds and ability to fit into team. Afterwards, HR assess the candidate on personality, suitability to organizational culture and negotiations of benefits.

 

JoshuaFox,RightJoin
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JoshuaFox,RightJoin,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/31/2014 | 3:43:43 PM
Connecting professionals
Glad to see these positive comments.

This is exactly why we created RightJoin.io -- to make it easy to connect professionals outside the company to their peers inside it.

We all know that the best hires come from conversations between professional peers, for example people you run into at  a conference.

We saw the need for a toolset to let software engineers and other IT folks reach out and connect into the company to learn what it's like -- recruiting as it should be.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 10:39:06 PM
Re: Examples?
@Jack: Thanks for the examples, really enligtened approach here...good to see. Looking forward to learning more about RightJoin soon. Do keep us posted.
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