Last few years have turned IT recruitment market into blood-spattered area of gore, violence & ruthless brutality - it's not just that acquiring new talent is hard, expensive & time-consuming: demand keeps raising, so competition gets even more fierce over time. I have observed one interesting side effect that accompanies this trend:

The gap between companies that do IT recruitment right & the ones who slack behind TENDS TO INCREASE consistently.

This is especially visible during various industry-specific events, when you can see the difference with your own eyes ...

Rock ...

Smarties who get the idea of what engineers expect & look for, seem to get the idea that people will come to you if they are convinced that you've created a good, healthy work environment that values growth & learning.

That's why they:

  1. get involved in the community (not only during events) - by sharing their internal goodies (in OSS / articles / blog posts / books), exposing their best / most passionate people (hard to find a better way to prove your credibility ...) & helping them earn a merit-based status & vast network of professional connections
  2. give the glimpse of how actual, everyday work looks alike - interested candidates can speak with potential team members, learn (interactively) about real cases / projects / products, etc. Striving to be exceptionally transparent & open helps with building trust and reasonable expectations
  3. bring learners an opportunity to learn for real - invite renown (& relevant) authorities, organize regular meetups, workshops or even local / remote conferences
  4. show some creativity to prove that they treat recruiting very seriously, e.g.:
    • gamify their recruitment by organizing out-of-the-box contests / competitions in various forms: e.g. hackathons, code retreats, on-line games / challenges / contests (competitive head-to-head or against the score / time)
    • surprise the audience with attractions that may not be easily arranged by a private person / small company, but they are not a big deal for a bigger player - e.g. geeky hardware demos
  5. understand that successful employer branding is not about rankings in media (based on unknown criteria, prepared by people with a very shallow understanding of the industry), but "hands-on" opinions shared within networks of interconnected professionals, incl. alumni, co-operants, clients, etc.
  6. bet on organic growth by recruiting for potential & attitude, paying strong attention to individual's motivations, ambition, passion & flamboyancy

Suck ...

In the same time, there are companies that haven't noticed it's 2016 ... These are quite sad to look at, because many of them still think they are doing you a favour by talking with you ...

That's why they tend to:

  1. expose people who are not credible for the audience: unprepared randoms who are the least busy (or the most expendable ...) atm or gorgeous-looking (but, as non-tekkies, with a shallow understand of the matter) HR gals in laser-precision-ironed white shirts, black skirts & freakin' high heels
  2. don't involve ones who should be the most interested in getting top-talent (& who are most capable of assessing it): leaders of various levels, peer engineers
  3. "send message" that may be relevant for their clients' executives, but surely not for engineers ("we serve NN Fortune 500 clients", "we are in Gartner's magic quadrant ...", "we're among Top 10 most renown industry brands according to ...", etc.), formulated in a barely understandable, gibberish, corporate way
  4. focus solely on what they need ("Angular developers with 2 years of experience") instead of what they provide to people who may be desperate enough to join them ...
  5. act only within "here and now" context ("5 ASP.NET MVC seniors for 6 months since Feb"), pretty much like "CV stream filters", not being able to truly recognize a real talent, understand individual's potential, long-term perspectives & future usefulness

What is really funny - these companies are so bound their policies, procedures & hierarchies that they aren't even able to copy & re-apply what visibly works for others ... The best summary I can come up with is this quote:

"Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival."

W. Edwards Deming

Photo by Walter Callet