Finding Candidates

Simply put, hiring is hard. It is probably one of the hardest aspects of being a software engineering manager but it is also the most important aspect of being a manager.

Why is hiring so hard and why does it seem to take so much time?

The first difficulty is just finding the right engineers to interview. The smart, creative, self-motivated engineers that will be a perfect fit for your team are generally not out there searching for new jobs. They are more than likely the top performers and are treated as such at their current job. Since the top talent is not coming you, that means you have to come to them.

There are two ways to approaching finding great candidates. As a manager, you can either work with your friendly HR recruiting team or source potential candidates yourself.

If you rely on your recruiting team to source great engineers, then you need to work closely with the recruiting team on what you are looking for and what makes a good candidate. Just supplying a list of keywords won't work. Don't take my word for it, just go to LinkedIn and do a search for Javascript and count the results. Take the time to go through profiles/candidates with the recruiting team and discuss why/why not the candidate is a good fit.

While you can build a general idea of what makes a good candidate with your recruiting team, going through the effort of sourcing for your own candidates might yield some great results. I know that when trying to fill a role on my team, I have gone through resumes/LinkedIn profiles and picked out some candidates that didn't fit the profile I created with my recruiting team. Some of these engineers turned out to be the best engineers I have worked with. It is worth it once in a while to take a risk and change your search parameters.

It feels like all of recruiting these days happens through LinkedIn. How many recruiter emails/InMails do you receive weekly? I know I have learned to filter most of them out of my inbox either consciously or subconsciously. Instead of relying on your recruiting team to send out template first contact emails, you will probably get a much better response rate if you, as the hiring manager, reach out with a personalized email.

In a later post, I will go into more detail on what do to once you have reached out to potential candidates.