5 Sales Techniques Every Technical Recruiter Should Master

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Everybody knows it: Hiring talented developers is one of the biggest challenges tech companies face nowadays. I’ve spent most part of my professional life working within very talented sales teams before joining CodinGame and specializing in the tech recruitment industry. Therefore, I had the chance to discover tech HR teams from every kind of company around the world, going from dynamic startups to very big corporations. Through these experiences, I realized that no matter the money and efforts invested in trying to attract the best talent, most companies are still struggling in finding the perfect developer. It also made me realize that we’ve been blaming the shortage of tech talent and the high salaries (i.e. the average salary for a Java developer in the US is $94,908) for the lack of results in terms of HR strategy. However, even though there are more open positions than talented developers, the shortage is not the only reason for this poor result. Here is a series of tips to help you overcome the developer shortage.



5 Sales Techniques Every Technical Recruiter Should Master

Historically, in the tech industry, HR people had to focus on identifying the right talent. Applicants, from their side, had to demonstrate to HRs why they were the right fit for the role. HRs were the decision makers.
Nowadays in the tech industry, this balance of power is totally reversed. Most of the talented developers are NOT actively looking for a job and the competition between companies is extremely high.
Just like salespeople, Tech Recruiters have to deal with competition and explain to potential candidates why their company is better than the others. However, while sales teams are prepared to seduce potential customers, know how to listen to them, understand their objections and go through it, tech HR teams can quickly feel disarmed.

For this reason, here are 5 sales techniques that every tech recruiter should master:

1. THE 5 WHY’S RULE

One of the main rules a good salesperson knows is that listening is better than talking. Before convincing a prospect, you have to understand which are his/her main pain points. The same rules apply to Tech HR. 
As it is a mistake to presume that only price and quality matters, you should not presume that salary, challenges and location are the only things that matter to potential candidates.
The 5 Why’s rule is a theory based on the fact that in order to understand the root cause of a problem or a decision, you have to ask “why” 5 times. 

By keeping in mind this rule, you will be able to understand what really drives your potential candidate.

The more you listen to your candidates, the more you will understand them and will be able to make a proposal that really fits their requirements.

2. DON’T BE TOO PUSHY - BUILD A RELATIONSHIP

One of the most challenging aspect a salesperson faces in his/her professional life, is convincing a potential buyer without looking too pushy. When it comes to candidates, it is the same. 

Most of Talent Acquisition teams I’ve seen spent their time headhunting via LinkedIn, sending job offers to all their potential candidates. This strategy, not only is time-consuming and provides low answer rates (ask yourself how many developers answer to your LinkedIn Inmails?), but also prevents them from building a strong relationship

Instead of going straight to the point, Talent Acquisition teams should focus on interacting directly with candidates. By inviting them for lunch, organizing tech talks, getting to understand them aspect you will have a better impact on a personal level.

3. WIDEN YOUR SCOPE

As a salesperson, you are told to never dismiss a deal because of presumption and lead qualification is, therefore, the main challenge when it comes to lead generation strategy.

In the same way, a good developer is someone that has a passion for problem solving and for programming, which is not easy to convey through a CV

Companies focus too much on university degrees and working experience instead of focusing on what really matters: talent.
One great example of this is Parrot. Parrot is an awesome tech company because of their team spirit, but also because of their projects. 

Last year, they decided to organize an online Artificial Intelligence competition, called “Games of Drones”. The competition lasted for 2 weeks, brought together more than 2,000 developers and Parrot invited the 50 best participants for a special Open Day at their headquarters, to meet their tech team and also discover the projects they were currently working on. 

Not only did the winner of the competition accept the invitation to participate to the Open Day, but in the end, he accepted to join the R&D team at Parrot. 

Interestingly, the hired developer was a music teacher by profession and programming was only a hobby for him. After a well-managed recruitment path, Parrot knew how to engage with him on a personal level and could convince him to join their R&D team. 

Everyday, we see smart and talented developers dismissed as potential candidates by companies because they don’t have enough professional experience, or because they didn’t graduate from a top university, even though they’ve shown that they are among the brightest programmers.
Sponsoring coding competitions, thus putting programming puzzles at the core of the sourcing process is a great way to benchmark your candidates on a technical (and therefore objective) basis. It also helps you improve your employer brand by showing the developer community that you are a tech-friendly company :)

4. BE INNOVATIVE - GET YOUR TEAM INVOLVED

In order to sell something, you have to understand who your prospects are. In terms of recruitment, the most valuable selling point a company has when hiring developers, is their tech team. By getting your tech team involved in building a relationship with the tech community, your employer brand will get stronger.

As a tech recruiter, you should consider yourself as a fully integrated member of your tech team. By getting to understand your teammates and their way of thinking, you will be able to talk the same language, to fully understand their everyday challenges and therefore to better identify the best-fit candidates for the team.

5. IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT SELLING 

Building a great tech team is not only about hiring bright and talented tech people, it is also about challenging them and making them want to stay.

Even though we all are aware that keeping a low turnover rate is crucial in the tech industry, it can sometimes be hard to identify how to achieve it. 

When it comes to talent, perks do not work.

Keeping a close relationship with every member of your tech team will help you understand everyone’s aspirations and how to better interact with them.


And you, have you perceived this shift from candidates trying to convince the recruiters, to recruiters convincing tech candidates?


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