Recruiters have the best of intentions when they try to connect with tech professionals on social media. But as a recruiter, you may inadvertently repel the very people you’re trying to attract if you commit one or more of these critical blunders.
“The candidate population is very candid about what they like and don’t like,” explained Matthew Ripaldi, senior regional VP for Modis, a tech-staffing agency. “They’re really turned off by the fact that recruiters are bombarding them on social media, especially application developers who claim recruiters are driving them nuts.”
To help you obtain maximum value from your social media outreach, here are seven key mistakes to avoid when recruiting tech professionals.
Becoming a One-Trick Pony
Instead of picking up the phone and having a conversation with a candidate, many recruiters have become totally reliant on social media. As a result, they don’t know the first thing about tech professionals or their career interests before they pitch them a job. Savvy recruiters understand that social media has its place, but they use good old-fashioned face-to-face meetings and phone calls to get to know a candidate’s career objectives and build rapport.
If you uncover a hot candidate on a social networking site, you'll annoy them and will eventually cause them to tune you out if you send a stream of private messages and in-mail.
“A developer will not even bother responding if you blast them with messages on Twitter,” Ripaldi said. “And they really hate it when recruiters send them impersonal in-mail messages that have clearly copy-and-pasted from a template.”
If you’re initial social outreach doesn’t work, try a different approach. And customize your messages so you don’t become a “spammer.”
Not Offering Relevant Content
Are you offering candidates valuable information, or are you simply pitching them a laundry list of jobs? Third-party recruiting firms in particular should be able to position themselves as thought leaders and experts by providing market intelligence, salary information and resume tips that help candidates land their dream jobs.
Remember the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your content should be educational and only 20 percent promotional. Think about it like a marketer - identify your specific audience's needs or pain points, and specifically address them in your communications.
Get even more insight. Download Dice's eBook, Recruiting Tech Talent with a Marketing Mindset.
Lack of Tech Credit
If you want to recruit tech professionals, you need to speak their language, said Katrina Collier, a social recruiting specialist and founder of Winning Impression.
“It’s the recruiter’s responsibility to make an effort to learn about the technical requirements and platform before they post a job or approach a candidate on social media,” she added. “Technical people are logical, algorithm-minded thinkers, so you need to use precise wording to describe a position not touchy-feely words.”
Spend time with a developer to get up to speed, or ask someone from your tech team to explain the role and responsibilities to the candidate, Collier suggested. But whatever you do, don’t misrepresent your technical abilities or your credibility will be totally shot.
“If you don’t know something about a project, admit it,” Ripaldi said. “Because if you state something that’s not accurate, it will really turn a tech pro off.”
Check-the-Box Screening Techniques
Many recruiters insult tech professionals by asking them a series of “knockout” questions after finding them on social media. If the candidate has the right skills, they immediately pitch them a job.
“You should already know that information before you reach out,” Collier said. “Recruiters should confirm three things that indicate that a tech professional is well-suited for a job opening.”
Social aggregation tools such as Dice’s Open Web pull together data from more than 130 social sites so you can easily find background information about tech candidates with very little legwork. Plus, they allow you to drill deeper into sites like GitHub and Dribbble, so you can see a candidate’s code or design work.
Asking for Referrals Right Off the Bat
If you’re asking for referrals from strangers on social media, you’re offending your audience and committing an unforgivable faux pas. Referrals are based on trust and a successful working relationship, which means you must earn the right to ask.
Empty Social Media Profiles
You expect a candidate to have an up-to-date professional profile and photo, but is yours incomplete? A tech pro is bound to check out your qualifications and reputation before responding to your initial outreach.
“The reputation economy is here,” Collier noted. “You need to represent yourself in an authentic and transparent way because your reputation as a recruiter is your most valuable asset.”