Hiring Engineers can be a difficult thing to do. Laura, Mobify’s Talent Acquisition Manager, has outlined 10 key tips to help you hire top engineering talent.
1. Understand what you’re looking for
If you’ve never recruited for engineers before, it can be tough! Learning about the technology they work with is like learning a new language. The very idea of talking to someone about their skills when the subject matter is unfamiliar is daunting, but effectively recruiting engineers requires you to have an understanding what they do: their responsibilities, how they fit onto the team and the technology they use to do their jobs.
What’s the best way to do this? Get researching. Start with a quick Google search before diving into more technical resources (ex. StackOverflow), and don’t forget to leverage your existing team. Book some time with your current engineers and ask them questions to build your comprehension! The more informed you are, the better recruiter you’ll be.
2. Build a reputable brand
As a recruiter, your employer brand is one of your most important tools. When you talk to an engineer about your company, you can bet they’ll check you out online. Engineers operate in an open-source world and place a high value on transparency. Make sure you’re giving them insight into your company culture and the work you do whether it be on your website, Instagram, Twitter, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, GitHub or StackOverflow profile.
3. Know where to look
So you’ve researched the role, built your employer brand and posted your position online. That’s great – but it’s not going to be enough. The competition for engineers is fierce, and most candidates in this market aren’t actively looking for jobs, which means you’re going to have to reach out to them.
LinkedIn, a standard recruitment tool, is a good starting point, but is not always the best place to contact an engineer. Developer-centric sites like StackOverflow and GitHub can better places to scout for talent online. Conferences and meetups are also great places to meet prospective candidates. If you have the opportunity to, we recommend hosting events at your office or attending off-site events with an engineer. Attending with a technical buddy who can broker introductions for you is a great way to soften your pitch and set you up for more authentic networking opportunities.
4. Ask for referrals
Referrals are another great way to find engineers. Do you have engineers already working for your company? If yes, make sure they understand what roles you’re looking to fill and encourage them to tap into their networks! Great engineers know other great engineers.
5. Understand what makes your candidate tick
Early on in the interview process you need to explore your candidate’s motivation. Just because they’re an engineer you can’t assume they’re all about coding! Understand what they’re looking for in their next role and make sure you’re able to offer it. Are they interested in lead or mentorship responsibilities? Becoming a specialist in their field? The opportunity to work on specific types of projects? Let this information inform your interview process so you can ask the right questions and sell the candidate on what you have to offer, starting from the first meeting.
6. Have a repeatable, measurable approach to interviewing
Once you’ve identified and engaged your candidate you’ll want to start interviewing them. Every company has a slightly different approach to interviewing and testing engineers, and it’s important that you design your own repeatable interview process. This way, you can evaluate each of your candidates consistently while measuring your interview effectiveness, making adjustments along the way to maximize your results.
7. Have a strong hiring team
Every good recruiter has a strong team behind them! Your hiring team should be made up of the engineering stakeholders working with you on evaluating candidates. Because you’re most likely not an engineer yourself, you’ll need to rely on this team to give feedback on the candidate’s technical competency, problem solving capability and team fit. You need to make sure your hiring team has a deep understanding of the hard and soft skills required for the role so you can partner effectively as possible on evaluating candidates.
8. Have an interesting coding challenge
Part of your interview process should be a coding challenge so you can dig deep into your candidate’s technical skills. Companies deliver coding challenges many different ways (take-home, in-office), but how you do it is up to you. What’s important is that it’s clear and interesting! This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate the types of exciting challenges your team gets to work on everyday. Don’t miss this opportunity to give the candidate deeper insight into what it’s like to work for your company.
9. Talk about your company’s differentiators
These days everyone’s looking for engineers to join their teams, and odds are you’re not the only company your candidate is talking to when they’re considering making a move. Selling the role and your company is something you should be doing throughout the entire interview process. Differentiating yourself by revisiting what makes your company great is imperative as you get closer to making an offer.
10. Present a strong offer
So your candidate’s made it to the end of your interview process and you’re ready to present your offer! You should not be talking about compensation for the first time on your offer call. As a recruiter it’s your job to make sure your business’ needs and your candidate’s expectations are aligned. Making sure your candidate’s salary expectations are within your budget is something you should have discussed and confirmed by the first interview. If there’s a misalignment, do what you can find middle ground – informing both parties (your hiring managers and the candidate) of the outcome, so that they can chose whether or not they want to continue investing time in the interview process.
While a competitive salary is important there are a number of other offer “total package” components that appeal to engineers including: flexible workdays, stock options, strong engineering culture, the ability to work remotely, the opportunity to speak at events, support in attending conferences, education dollars, the ability to experiment with new technology and solid technical leadership. If you can offer these things make sure you’re talking about them!
Recruiting a talented engineer isn’t easy! Once you’ve successfully hired your engineer, you need to demonstrate all of the company qualities and growth opportunities you spoke about during your interview process. A great employee experience will inspire loyalty and ensure that your new hire stays with you for the long run.