The very best engineers tend to gather in a handful of predictable places in your community. Skip the noise of recruiting and meet your next top engineers directly in their particular places of leisure.
Back in 2018, Apple began its annual World-Wide Developer Conference with a hilarious parody they called The Developer Migration. If you haven’t seen the video be sure to check it out after this. So, how does this apply to recruiting?
In my experience, the most effective ways of meeting talented people directly parallel the most effective ways of marketing any product or service. The most important step in both cases is knowing and empathizing with your customer. When you empathize with your target audience, you know likes, dislikes, interests, mindset, controversies, and even leisure activities.
All you really need to do to become immensely successful in your recruiting efforts is to send your most personable and talented engineers out to those activities where brilliant minds are found. These areas are a metaphorical oasis of talent. To find these places ask your brightest engineers what types of events they would like to attend in your town. You’ll be surprised to learn that many of us engineers actually do leave the house if an event is interesting enough. Best of all, the engineers there will generally have at least enough people skills to enjoy the company of their peers (which can easily translate to co-workers).
One of my favorite places to go is to meetups. If you persuade your best engineers to start mingling with other engineers at meetups you’ll get so much further than another job posting. Ask them to schedule follow up lunches (on you, of course!) with them and interesting potential candidates. Your engineers will most likely be glad for the opportunity to learn something they find cool (or will be at least after they get there). Most meetups are free or very low cost, which is an important consideration for trying to find those brilliant minds that you might have a chance of joining you and your company.
Another great target is tech conferences. Choosing one or two key conferences to send your engineering team to each year can do amazing things for the retention of your own talent pool. However, this might not be the best recruitment effort as most that attend are already happily employed. Those who aren’t won’t be able to easily share that with you amongst their peers.
My personal favorite and most effective recruiting efforts have come from attending local technical interview prep sessions. These engineers are a cut above the rest simply because by showing up they’ve admitted to seeing the benefits practice. They also are usually in the job search and so open to listening about your amazing company, at least as long as you go as a peer Engineer and not as a recruiter. By interviewing and watching interviews you can quickly identify the most promising candidates in the room. By acing your own practice interview you can gain the respect of those present. Finally, by having a great story about the amazing things you’ve learned or how much impact you’ve had at your company you’re now ready to connect on LinkedIn and set up follow-up lunches.
No matter what role you’re trying to fill, expect an increase in your results if you can successfully identify the oasis where your target audience gathers to relax. If your best engineers don’t seem enthused about the prospect of helping out with recruiting then consider keeping them on the clock for the event’s scheduled hours or introducing a generous referral bonus. Once on board, they can easily become your most effective recruiting resources. Happy recruiting!