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I would like to employ additional resources to my team.

Nothing easier you would think. But I don't like the candidates agencies deliver me: a lot of them claim to have skills in their CV which they result not to have. To give you an example, I constantly get CVs stating someone knows some programming language and used it in job A. When I ask about it, I hear the person took a course in the language and did some exercises online, but has never used it professionally.

That's just one example. Another are people replying and claiming to have a technical background, who then reply to my describing the job during the interview as "it's too technical to me, I wouldn't manage".

I have talked to the agencies several times and they got a very accurate job description from me.

What actions can I as a hiring manager undertake in order to find good candidates? I've asked my friends already if they are looking for a job or know someone.

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  • is that the case with all recruiting agencies you were engaging with? Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:54
  • @SouravGhosh, I'm using agencies for the first time, but I'm using several and all of them are guilty of that to some extent. Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:55
  • I understand. I myself never had to go through agencies for hiring, as I worked with orgs having own recruiters, will wait for some answers to your question. Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:57
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    Are you clearly listing all of the required knowledge and experience necessary for the job?
    – sf02
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 18:14
  • @sf02, I am. These are really just 2-3 technologies that are really needed. The rest are nice-to-haves. The candidates are absolutely unsuitable. But my question is different: how can I, as a hiring manager, contribute to finding somebody? Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 18:20

2 Answers 2

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Hiring skilled individuals is an in depth undertaking. Some things you can do:

  1. Go to the mountain, as it is stated in Joel Spolsky's book on technical recruiting, "Smart and Gets Things Done". Don't just wait to intake resumes from recruiters or public postings; go specifically seek out people with the skills you need - user groups, via LinkedIn, whatnot. If you need Python developers you're a lot better off going and saying "we're hiring" at the local python users group than just spamming something on indeed.com.

  2. Work with those recruiters to refine, or get better recruiters. When I am working with recruiters on a job req, and they send me folks, I give them detailed feedback on how those candidates did/did not match up to what I was looking for. If by round 3 of supplying candidates they haven't dialed it in, they suck and aren't worth the vig you're going to pay, engage other recruiters instead. When I work with good recruiting firms, usually a couple "no, like this"-es get it to where all the candidates pass the initial screen.

  3. Make sure you're being real clear about what's required and how much of it, versus what is nice to have. If you're listing a bunch of stuff and not being clear which is which, they're going to naturally assume all of it is negotiable. "Must have: 3 years of developing commercial software in Python. Nice to have:..." Also make sure you're not sending mixed signals, like "Must have: 3 years of developing commercial software in Python. Paying $20/hr" which means you're super cheap and are only going to get less experienced people so I may as well apply. Have someone knowledgeable review your posting.

  4. Make sure you really need what you say you need... Good engineers can pick up new technical skills quickly. If you get talented engineers then whether they have time in the specific tech stack you have or not is less important. I'm hiring for a team devs working on a Python product right now and while I want a couple solid Pythonistas, I'm also hiring good devs I know who are more Java people or whatever, they can always learn a new language quickly.

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  1. Realize that software engineers are in demand.

Nothing easier you would think

I am not sure why you think this would be easy. Amazon doesn't find it easy. Microsoft does not find this easy. Startups do not find this easy. My organization doesn't find it easy. I know people across the spectrum of companies, from FAANG to startup to government that cannot find enough software engineering people with the right skills. All are reporting manpower shortages in software engineering.

The agencies are just finding what they can. A friend was recruited for a job where they wanted 4+ years of experience in software development. He is a year out of school. The company took him anyway, as this was the third time they had tried posting the job.

Finding software engineers is hard. An organization I know of posted a job three times and found no qualified software engineers.

  1. Cut the technology list to a few core ones.

The number of people who are experts in Angular, React, Spring, and Django is very low, but I see postings wanting all of these all the time. Now, most of these companies actually want people with just some of these skillsets because depending on the skills on offer, they will do different jobs. Is this clear to the recruiters though? As plenty seem to want it all.

  1. Figure out how the recruiters are finding people. Is it with keywords?

I use something I call "keyword soup" to just stuff my PDF resume with relevant tech keywords and numerous variations so that it gets picked up by applicant tracking software. It means that I get pitched on all sorts of jobs for which I am not closely qualified.

You want recruiters who are out there reading LinkedIn profiles at the very least, if not digging into their own contact lists.

  1. Go find them yourself on LinkedIn

Anything preventing you from reaching out to candidates you like on LinkedIn? Or asking for recommendations from your network? Surely you have worked with a lot of software engineers over the years. Do they not have anyone to recommend?

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