If tech pros ignore your recruiting emails or drop out of the hiring process in midstream, it’s important to understand how they’re viewing your efforts. If you listen to their feedback, you may realize that you’ve developed some rather annoying habits that are actually making the recruiting process harder. Surprisingly, 28 percent of employers have never searched online for feedback about their applicant process, and only one in four employers regularly request feedback from candidates, according to “The State of the Candidate Experience,” a report from CareerArc. Being in the dark can turn recruiting into a frustrating experience. Whether you’re a third-party recruiter or working in-house, there are plenty of ways to improve your sourcing and hiring process so you’re not pushing away in-demand tech prospects. Naturally, you want to focus on changes that will have the greatest impact, so here’s a list of the biggest complaints from tech pros… and a few ideas on how can you fix them:
Pitching Mismatched Jobs
Dan Allen was receiving so many unsolicited pitches for mid-level UX jobs that he was forced to temporarily remove his phone number from his résumé and business cards. Instead of reviewing the work experience in his online résumé and portfolio, over-zealous recruiters apparently based their outreach on keyword matches and failed to recognize that the creative director for Block Interval has been working in UX for 12 years. “Why would someone pitch me a job lower than what I’m doing right now?” Allen asked. “If they would just look at my experience for two minutes, they’d see that I’m overqualified for a mid-level job.” The problem is that many recruiters are focused on filling a requisition, whereas tech pros are interested in taking the next step in their careers. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by MATRIX Resources, 19 percent of tech pros said recruiters don’t understand their career goals. “Even if you’re calling someone about a specific job, don’t lead with that,” advised Jen Bradley, MATRIX’s digital content specialist. “Ask about their career goals first to see if the job is appropriate. Otherwise, you seem like you’re selling used cars.”
It’s All About You
When asked about their struggles in working with recruiters, 36 percent of tech pros said recruiters simply don’t have their best interests at heart. “They feel like recruiters primarily work on behalf of their clients,” explained Russ Danford, MATRIX’s marketing director. “Their suspicions are reinforced when recruiters push candidates to take a lower salary or alter the scope of work in the middle of the interviewing process.” Candidates may bail out unless you are completely transparent and set realistic expectations about the job duties and salary up-front, Danford noted. While you can’t control everything that happens, nailing down the important details before you contact a prospect is the best way to maintain trust and ensure a successful close.
Lack of Technical Acumen
A recruiter’s lack of technical knowledge can create issues that derail potential partnerships before they start. For instance, recruiters and employers lose credibility right off the bat when they post job ads that demand skills and experience with technologies and tools that are unrelated to the position. As Allen noted, a recruiter plays a critical role in ensuring the accuracy of the job description. “When the actual job and the description differ, it doesn’t give me the confidence to put my livelihood in a recruiter’s hands,” he said. Plus, many recruiters (and even some line managers) don’t possess enough knowledge about a specific programming language to answer the questions posed by experienced developers or programmers. Deals fail to materialize because tech pros are increasingly reluctant to spend hours taking coding tests and completing applications without knowing whether a position is the right fit. “Involving an engineer or technical evaluator in the initial screening process can provide both parties with enough information to decide if moving forward makes sense,” noted Yair Riemer, CareerArc’s chief marketing officer. Recruiters need to track new and emerging technologies and industry trends to anticipate looming talent shortages, and elevate themselves from transactional order fillers to enlightened career advisors who can help tech pros stay ahead of the curve. Helping prospective candidates advance their careers is a great way to build your recruiting pipeline. “[Recruiters] seem unprepared, in fact, blindsided by the changes that should be anticipated,” Allen added.
Poor Communication and Feedback
Whether their résumé or application fell into a black hole, or they got the silent treatment after an interview, a lack of diligent and timely communication is the single biggest reason for candidate dissatisfaction with the recruiting process. In fact, 60 percent of job hunters in the CareerArc survey said that improving communication throughout the hiring process would have the most positive impact. Danford agreed, adding: “Candidates want honest, direct and transparent feedback, especially when they’re rejected.” Sharing feedback with rejected candidates will encourage them to work with a company and recruiter in the future. The majority of employers are not re-engaging declined candidates, and that’s a very big mistake. Let’s face it: you can’t afford to slight or overlook anyone in a competitive market where tech professionals clearly have the upper hand.
Leslie Stevens-Huffman is a business and careers writer based in Southern California. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the staffing industry and has been writing blog posts, sample resumes and providing sage career advice to the IT professionals in our Dice Community since 2006. Leslie has a bachelor’s degree in English and Journalism from the University of Southern California.