The best Recruiters are part of the Tech Community
The hypercompetitive tech recruitment landscape shows few signs of slowing down any time soon with the US predicting 12% growth by 2028 Bureau of Labor), and the UK employing 5% of all high growth tech workers globally and leading the world in Fintech
Recruiting for tech staff with an increasing gap between the demand for tech workers and the supply - coupled with rocketing levels of competition - is starting to feel like an impossible task for many – yet there is hope!
According to the Stackoverflow 2019 global survey – 15.2% of developers are actively looking for a new job, while 58.7% are open to new opportunities. That’s nearly 74% who are at least thinking about a new job – excellent! However, the 58.7% are what we call ‘passive candidates’ in the recruitment industry – and aren’t on job boards or career sites, and might not be active on LinkedIn
The lack of an easy route to ‘passive candidates’ creates a dilemma for many tech recruiters who are spending much of their day frantically phoning, searching, emailing, advertising and attempting to meet those elusive top quality devs.
It often feels like there isn’t time to look for tech talent in other places such as tech community sites and forums, tech events or to employ more innovative tactics to source candidates.
But this is what the best recruiters do!
Recruiters who only stay in the office restrict themselves to a very narrow pool of candidates who can easily choose to ignore their outreach or cancel meetings. Agency recruiters are additionally missing out on the most accessible business development opportunities too
Top recruiters know their market
They spend time in it and know the personalities, the movers and shakers, what makes particular developers tick, their wants and needs and the types of challenges they enjoy.
A good recruiter will get out to events – they’ll be watching seminars and presentations and asking questions until they’ve got a good understanding of their market - and then building face to face relationships over beer and pizza in a relaxed situation
If you’re a developer – who would you like to talk to? Someone who knows the market to an expert level who you can chat to over a beer? Or someone anonymous at the end of a phone or email?
Why are tech events so important?
Most of the tech community love what they do and often attend events and meetups to pick up the latest ideas, debate them with their peers, work on side projects and enjoy being part of a group of like-minded people
The Tech Community is massive!
Communities vary from city to city, but the Meetups in London and New York are thriving in particular
If you regularly attend a range of meetups, speak at conferences or partake in community Slack or Whatsapp groups - you’ll soon find out who’s hiring and what it’s like to work at those companies because people like to talk and collaborate. According to the Tech Nation 2019 Report ‘the global tech ecosystem is inherently human rather than technological …. Collaboration is the glue that sticks these people and organisations together’
Candidates are more likely to speak to their community before approaching a recruiter, so it is vital that recruiters join those communities, stick around, get properly involved and demonstrate an active interest in the industry and make genuine friends
TechNation has researched tech meetups realising that there are over 58,000 globally with tech-heavy cities and regions having a higher meetup density and often a different focus as to the type of meetup.
In the UK the highest density of meetups is actually in Manchester and Cambridge where there are 14 members of tech meetup groups for every 100 Mancunians or Cantabrigians! In contrast, in the US, New York is at 15%, but Mountain View is at 250%!
Most countries have similar types of meetup, but cities point towards specific clusters suggesting that the global market is competitive whereas locally people are working together instead to achieve common goals
How to become part of the community as a recruiter
Care for your community
Attending events and Meetups as a recruiter is about getting yourself known and getting to know the right people in a more approachable way. You’re in it for the long game so ensure that you contribute and get noticed for positive reasons and not for pushing your company too much. Learn to love the tech industry and the people in it, and you’ll find that you enjoy your job as a recruiter more than ever.
In it’s simplest terms – recruitment is a networking job – and networking at events face to face in a relaxed atmosphere will be so much more fun for everyone involved. You’ll get a much deeper understanding of the candidates and how to help them achieve success. You may even find yourself giving other companies and recruiters tips – spread the love, and maybe you’ll receive community karma
There’s no point attending an event and then not joining in and engaging with the attendees – but you have to do it in the right way. Don’t sell but certainly ask questions and get chatting to others – anything goes – and it doesn’t have to be all tech at all. A personal favourite was an accidental knitted Cthulhu discussion with a developer from www.lovecrafts.com (HP Lovecraft wrote about Cthulhu, a mythical sea creature)
Speakers are often the most accessible and exciting people to talk to as they typically know their subject well and are keen to enlighten others. If you can get the chance to speak on stage yourself, you’re likely to find others are keen to seek you out to talk to also
Remember to use any relevant hashtags at events too so you can speak to the whole community and also see who the key people are
Keep the relationship going
Always try to follow up with anyone you’ve met and ensure you’ve got their details to contact them and keep the conversation going
You could also write a blog post about what you’ve learnt – it could even be as simple as listing your favourite tweets from an event
Play the long game
A lot of people you’ll meet may be perfect for current roles but don’t want to move yet – but they will one day – and if you’re the first recruiter they think of – in the long term, your recruiting strategy will win
What we’ve learnt as recruiters
We’ve attended many meetups and conferences and have sponsored quite a few along the way too - generally learning something new every time!
We’re nearly there with the merch side with a variety of fun and informative swag - we’ve even had lego snakes at a recent Python conference - and people certainly come and talk to us!
We’ve realised, however, that we get a much higher level of engagement when we have speakers at events too, so that’s our focus for the next year
We're also very glad to report that there aren’t many other recruiters at most of the tech events we’ve attended!