Author Archives: Ashley Alfred

10 Steps to Become a Great Technical Recruiter

Step 1: KYC!
The first step to becoming a good recruiter is knowing your customer! You can’t find a person if you don’t know what type of person you’re looking for. Learn about the company, culture, technologies, processes and methodologies, find out how often they release code and what their deployments look like, how big their teams are, room for advancement, what this person is going to be doing (get detailed); basically, every question you could possibly ask about their environment, culture and the position, you should ask.

Step 2: Understand the Tech:
Ok, so you don’t need to be a programmer to recruit programmers (though, it does help), but you should (at min) understand the terms, various languages, what they’re used for, the difference between frontend and backend software development, what the SDLC is, how to use GitHub and anything else you might read on a software engineer’s LinkedIn profile.

Step 3: Don’t Rush!
You need to find this person fast, but you also need to do a good job. I’ve been sourcing software engineers for over 10 years and I’ve found that I do my best work when I slow down. Take the time to read people’s profiles in detail before reaching out in order to make sure they’re the right fit for the job. This builds trust in the community and is the first step to building solid relationships with top-tier engineers. Also, don’t skimp on the search! A good full search takes me at least one full day just for sourcing the profiles. Doing a good job takes time.

Step 4: Don’t Spam!
Ok, so you’ve spent time building a list of people to reach out to and they’re all great matches for the job, but how do you get them to respond? Try sending a catered email to the individual backed by research. For this to work, you must ensure the candidate will relate to the position. You need to get them interested enough to reply! That means, researching their interests, ensuring the job lines up with said interests and then communicating this in a clear and effective manner. It’s not easy, but it is that simple 😉

Step 5: Follow up!
Most people don’t answer on the first email, many don’t even see it. Email again, pick up the phone, find a way to get in touch. If getting in touch with the best candidates was easy, they’d be talking to everyone. Recruiting is hard work, put in the effort and you’re more likely to be successful.

Step 6: Learn to Interview
Believe it or not, most technical recruiters have no idea how to conduct a technical interview. I don’t blame them because this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn (outside of how to program, which is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever learned!). In order to give an effective technical interview, you must know a lot more than just the lingo. I would recommend taking an intro to coding or computer science course, or a training program focused on technical recruitment. I recommend Harvard CS50 b/c it teaches you the fundamentals and it’s comprehensive.

Step 7: Listen!
(Paraphrasing) Buhda said that if your mouth is open, you’re not learning. Your job is to learn about the companies you’re hiring for and the candidates you’re representing, which is done by asking questions and listening to the answer. Hearing someone is different from really listening, which is why I recommend that you study the field of listening to ensure you’re really understanding and taking in what the person is saying.

IMPORTANT: Google is your friend! I always advise googling everything you don’t understand that’s on a candidate resume BEFORE you speak with them. Also, Google for interview questions you can ask the candidate based on their experience (just make sure you know what the right answer should be!).

Step 8: Be Courteous
Treating people fairly is not a new concept, it’s just undervalued and often forgotten. Choose ethics over money and you will always be rich! Remember that you’re in the service industry and it’s your job to treat everyone like you would your best friend (even if they’re ignoring your texts!).

Step 9: Be Ethical
Do the right thing! Never forget that your reputation is worth more than any deal you could close. You’re never going to please everyone, but if you feel good about your decisions and experiences at the end of the day, then you know you’re doing a good job.

Step 10: Be Responsive Give Feedback!
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of recruiting but also one of the most important. Build a process that ensures you are accountable for providing feedback and declining candidates. Also, make sure your client is willing to give feedback to candidates. In fact, make this a requirement before you even agree to work with them. This will ensure strong, long-lasting relationships with people that will choose to work with you again and again.

So how do you know if you’re being a good recruiter?

Well, that’s easy, people will tell you. You get 5-star reviews from candidates that didn’t get the job. Your clients praise you and thank you regularly. People literally tell you that you’re a good recruiter and they appreciate the hard work you’re putting in to ensure their career development. This is also the type of stuff that makes this job fun and keeps you invested for the long term.

I hope this has helped someone, somehow. Thanks for reading!

Still Working with Multiple Recruiters?

I’ve been a recruiter for 10 years in the emerging technology space. That means I place software engineers and engineering leaders across Canada. We work with our clients on an exclusive basis and one of the first questions our clients ask is why they should work with only one recruiter. My answer is simple: you get my full attention and I ensure the role is filled. However, after contemplation, I realized there are a host of other reasons and thought I would share my thoughts to help everyone understand what the recruitment process really looks like.

Is more always better?

I’m sure you can agree that more is not always better. More chocolate is great, until you gain weight. More exercise sounds fantastic, until you overexert yourself. More developers on a project could be better, but only if managed properly. So, is more always better when it comes to a recruiter?

Let’s think about this like a recruiter would:

If you’re competing against other agencies in a contingency search, you want to find candidates fast. That means, reducing the amount of time spent getting to know your company and sourcing the easiest candidates to find. These are usually applicants and active candidates that are interviewing with dozens of other companies. These candidates are often unemployed or underemployed and most often, they were laid off.

How is an Exclusive Search Different?

The recruiter knows they don’t need to rush the process so they spend time getting to know the company and the position. They scour the market to find the right fit and end up finding candidates that other recruiters are passing up. They focus on finding passive candidates on platforms like Github or StackOverflow which takes a bit more time to go through. They also focus on candidates that have bare LinkedIn profiles and require research to determine what they’re doing. Best of all, they know you’re relying on them so they work harder and faster to find the right fit.

So, Does it really work?

Sage Recruiting works on an exclusive or retained basis with our clients and the proof is in the pudding! We successfully closed over 90% of our positions in 2019 and retain nearly 100% of the candidates we place. The reviews from our clients and candidates on Google also speak volumes on the success of this method.

So, do you still think more is better?

DIVERSITY OR EXCLUSION?

Diversity. Inclusion. Equity.

All of these words are synonymous with one thing: opportunity. The opportunity to express and be yourself and to be respected for the person you are. The opportunity to thrive in life and be accepted. The opportunity to have the same advantage as the rest of the population regardless of race, gender, religion, status, or sexual orientation.

Over the years we have significantly increased diversity in the workplace. However, the technology sector, in particular, still has a long way to go in order to be truly inclusive. The disparities in place are still overwhelming, especially in larger tech companies like Amazon, which opted to not report their demographics of its tech workforce. Amazon stated that almost 42 percent of its workers were women and almost 42 percent of its US workers were black or Latino ending in 2018. However, those numbers include the vast majority of Amazon’s 647,000 employees and include those that work in its distribution centers, making it hard to determine how many of those employees are working in tech.

Facebook was the winner for diversity growth over the last five years. Their technical workforce is 23 percent female, up from 15 percent in 2014. Their overall racial & ethnicity diversity ratios were the highest growing with 41% of their tech force being a visible minority in 2014 up to 52% in 2019. While we have seen incredible efforts by many companies, other companies are letting us down. Some have gone so far as photoshopping women into pictures, as was the case with a picture from the GQ CEO summit from summer.

Another aspect of diversity that often overlooked and nearly always underrepresented in the tech sector is age. At HubSpot, 64% of the workforce is age 26-35 with only 3% of their staff aged 46+. Considering the 46+ population is the largest in history, these numbers are shocking and appalling.

The Solution?

At Sage, we make it a part of our company’s mission to ensure we recruit for diversity. In 2019, almost 40% of the hires made with the help of Sage were females, and almost 60% were minorities. Our biggest challenge is finding candidates that are over the age of 46, though we have been successful working with several candidates in this age group this year. To hire for diversity takes a concerted effort by the company doing the hiring. More and more STEM programs are starting across the country and more females and visible minorities are getting into these programs than ever before. According to an ongoing study by StatsCan from 2010 through 2015, 44% of first-year STEM students in Canada were women. Despite departures from the program, women still accounted for more than 40% of those who graduated from a STEM program or continued to a sixth year of STEM studies. A large part of attracting a more diverse pool of applicants lies in the branding of your company. More than 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even filling out an application. Recruiting diverse talent alone isn’t enough — there should be an equal focus on creating a culture of inclusion, where employees feel both valued and empowered.

Recruiting for diversity begins with fostering an inclusive environment. The primary way to showcase your commitment to diversity is through your company’s advertisements, job postings, corporate website, and above all else, by your team. Pay attention to the verbiage used in job postings; simple things like the use of masculine pronouns should be replaced with gender-neutral pronouns such as “the person”, or “the candidate. In addition, using extreme language like “expert”, “dominant”, or “compete”. Instead, using words like “motivational”, “tireless”.

As we mentioned in a previous article, acquiring talent is the easy part; retaining them requires hard work. The number one way to foster an inclusive workspace is to diversify your senior and executive teams. A diverse senior leadership team shows promise of opportunity and fosters the promise of growth opportunities that aren’t limited. Another way to encourage a diverse and inclusive environment is to celebrate differences. Small things like a potluck or acknowledging cultural celebrations of coworkers is a great way to not only showcase diversity, but to learn about other groups. If there is an intent made to make this a priority, solicit ideas from your team for activities outside of maintaining diversity statistics & filling seats.

Building an inclusive workforce isn’t an option; it is a responsibility. The benefits that a more diverse team can bring to organizations are instrumental in the success of the teams and the organization. Here’s to many more strides in diversity for 2020!

The True Cost of Hiring

An employee is the most valuable investment made by a company. Hiring someone new is essentially like inviting a stranger to become a part of your family, basing your decision on a series of emails, phone calls, and meetings. The time you spend in hiring adds up to a significant amount of capital spent on each individual you meet. In our previous posts, we’ve discussed some ways to find and retain your top talent. In this post, we will dig into the true cost of hiring an employee. Based on our research and the hundreds of clients we’ve worked with, these numbers can be quite substantial.


Time
When we think of the cost of hiring, we tend to quantify it as a dollar value. However, this is only one of the many costs involved in hiring someone new. The amount of time invested in each hire by various individuals and departments adds up quickly and includes salaries of those interviewing (HR, Hiring managers, team members, executives) and lost opportunity cost (what would these people be doing if they weren’t interviewing?). In addition, there is a lost opportunity cost of not finding someone quick enough or burnout as a result of the team working extra hours to compensate for being understaffed, thereby resulting in additional lost time.

Real-World Example
We engaged with a client that had interviewed 100 people for one of their positions before engaging us. These numbers are actually low; according to Glassdoor it takes small and medium-sized businesses 120 candidates to make a single engineering hire.

Let’s look at the numbers: the first and second-round interviews were being done by the Director of Development & VP Technology & the final was done by the CTO. The Director’s salary is 150K/year, the VP’s salary is 200K/year and the CTO’s salary is 250K/year (hourly rate of the Director is $72, the VP is $96 and the CTO is $120). Each candidate had done one interview and only ½ were brought to the second round. 16 candidates did a final interview with the CTO. No hires were made. Here is the math:

• 100 first-round interviews done by the Director and VP = $16,800
• 50 second-round interviews done by the Director and VP = $8,400
• 1 Final interview by the CTO = $1920

That means the total cost of the companies’ time to hire when looking on their own (minus lost opportunity cost) was $27,120.

Once we engaged with the company, the story gets a little brighter. We sent 4 candidates that each did 1 interview ($672), 2 candidates did a second interview ($336) and one did a final interview with the CTO ($120). That means the cost of time was $1128. Our fee was $18,000.

As you can see, the total cost of hire through Sage Recruiting was $19,028, vs. the cost of the clients’ time interviewing without Sage was $27120. This doesn’t even include the cost of marketing, job boards or lost opportunity cost.

Marketing
SEO on your website, branding, updating your corporate website with relevant jobs & corporate culture & maintaining an ATS are all costs associated with hiring and can add up to tens of thousands of dollars per month. On average, marketing budgets made up 11.1% of total company budgets in 2018 and companies in the B2C product space allocate the largest portion of their total budget to marketing, averaging 16%. That said, nowhere near as large of an expense as job boards to market for candidates.

Job Boards
LinkedIn job postings can cost as much as $495 for a 30-day posting plus the cost of sponsored postings with an additional recommended spend of $200. Monster.ca charges $375 for a 60-day posting and $395 for 90-days. Their rates can run upwards of $999 per month for 5 postings. ZipRecruiter is another popular job board with a meagre price of $249 per month for one user. Although that seems reasonable, the average amount of time it takes to fill a role is 42 days. If you’re using an average of 3 job boards for an average of 2 months, the cost is $3,383.

Lost Opportunity Cost
This is the cost of the work that is not being done as a result of your team spending time interviewing AND as a result of being understaffed. According to LinkedIn Talent Solutions, The cost of calculating an unfilled position is fairly simple and can equal up to $14,463,670.

So what’s the total cost?
If we add together the lost opportunity cost as per LinkedIn, plus marketing, plus the time it took our client to interview the 100 candidates (as shown above), the cost of hiring can easily be over $150,000. That’s an astronomically high number! This really makes you think, is it time to hire cheaper, faster and better with an experienced technical recruiter at an experienced technical recruitment agency?

An Expert in Technical Recruitment:
Sage Recruiting is founded by Ashley Alfred, an Engineering Recruiter veteran with a focus on helping start-ups and SMB’s to grow. Ashley has helped countless startups to save time, costs and effort in hiring over the past 8 years and has relationships with some of the top engineering talent in the GTA. For more information, visit www.sagerecruiting.me and check out our twenty nine 4.9* Google Reviews to read what people say about working with Ashley & the Sage team.

Ready to get started? Contact us today to discuss your hiring needs!

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