Tech-recruitment // It is broken

We have heard it often, tech-recruitment is broken. I do not have to rant about this since there are many articles out there that I have shared on my twitter feed. The next web has blogged about it, Danny Crichton just posted about it on TechCrunch a few days ago. We all agree on the same thing, something is going fundamentally wrong. While all these articles go about how we can use new technologies and use buzzwords like big data here, talent hacker there and rave: 'we need good sourcers', I think we need to go back to where the problem really lies: 'Tech-Recruitment is seen as a job anyone can do'.

'Tech-Recruitment is a job anyone can do'

Ok lets face it, most companies perceive recruitment as a thing anyone should be able to do and unimportant. How hard could it be, you have a job description with some buzzwords, you post it online and people apply because they recognise certain buzzwords. As I am writing this I am wondering how many companies are still like this, but from what I have seen and heard: really a lot. The more exotic companies have someone who can 'navigate' a site like Linkedin and search for talent there. While this is all good, most companies lack one very big thing in their recruiter: Someone with in depth domain knowledge. Let me build this out, in my line of work: tech-recruitment.

So, in almost all companies, the most junior of people get the task to do the recruitment. While I don't really care if someone is junior, senior or ancient, I do care that they completely understand the role that they are recruiting for. Most of the time, this is not the case. Especially in web technology, most of the recruiters are oblivious to what they are really searching for. 'Java and Javascript, they kinda look the same so they should be the same right?' and if you ask a recruiter the difference between backend and frontend technology, most of them won't be able to answer you.

So why is this? Why do companies allow this? You would not let your plane that brings you to your holiday destination be flown by a helicopter pilot right? The thing will surely crash: he has a basic idea about flying, but no idea how to work his way with a jumbo-jet. This is what happens all the time in tech-recruitment now a days, the guys & girls know how to recruit (kinda), but they know jack about tech and they will crash a-lot (luckily without casualties).

How can they be with jobs then? Easy, LinkedIn has a way to spam people, so when you shoot out 100 iNmails in one go of course 3 of them will be relevant and matching, but you do not think about the 97 pissed of developers thinking: 'Again?!?'

For all you Dutch readers, a matching sketch of Daniel Arends came to mind when I was writing the latter, watch it here:

All this spamming from the 'tech-recruiters' can only have one outcome: really pissing off the developer community. I hear the following from my tech colleagues: 'They keep on spamming me on irrelevant jobs' and 'They call my Python repository nice while they are looking for a Ruby on Rails developer'. And this is totally valid, how would you as a recruiter feel if you get job offers regarding HR or Facility all time time? So whats causing these problems in my opinion?

Cause: a crooked plane (LinkedIn) flown by helicopter pilots ('tech-recruiters').

Solve it

So, the good thing is, its so easy to solve. Lets re-educate our helicopter pilots and train them how to fly a normal plane. The normal plane is navigating of Github, Stackoverflow, Bitbucket, Angellist, Tech.pro & Coderwall (this is what I train loads of startups in Amsterdam). This will become easy when you learn how to code and know how computer science works.

So, all it takes is you willing to learn new things: some real basic computer science and a little fragrance of coding. Just to get a little grasp on what you are actually looking for and what computers actually do. Really, the interweb is FILLED with these courses that will give you the information you need to become a really good tech-recruiter. For all 'tech' recruiters currently reading, check this out (very high level):

  1. Start with http://www.codecademy.com/  -- Just do their intro to Web Fundamentals
  2. Then, get your computer science up: Coursera has a very nice Computer Science 101 course available
  3. TELL your developers that you are doing this, they will support you. If not: they no good.
  4. Do some specified Javascript, Java, Ruby, Python, Perl, Groovy, Grails, insert your language here classes on Codecademy.
  5. When you are up and running, go online, dump Linkedin and go search on GithubStackoverflow and the likes.

Some other good sites

  1. edX Computer Science lessons
  2. Skillcrush (you pay for this)
  3. Skillshare
  4. Web platform (Frontend)
  5. Code School

Of course this is just my take on things, but I think companies who hire someone for doing their tech-recruitment without an idea on what web technology or software development is should go on a 1 month crash-course before you even let them touch a site like LinkedIn, not to speak of Github, Stack and Bitbucket. Thanks for reading and looking forward to any comments.

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