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    [Webinar] “State of Software Engineers: Using Data Insights to Meet Your 2021 Recruiting Goals”

    In our recent panel-style webinar, “State of Software Engineers: Using Data Insights to Meet Your 2021 Recruiting Goals,” we featured industry leaders from Amazon and General Assembly, and Hired. During the webinar, Rob Stevenson, Head of Hired’s podcast Talk Talent to Me, spoke with Erin Ford, Sr. Manager, Student Experience & Career Services at General Assembly, about the importance of hiring for skills, not labels, and how this broadens your talent pool and promotes diversity in your pipeline. The webinar also featured exclusive advice and recruiting tips from  Jonathan Kidder, Technical Recruiter II at Amazon (and creator of Wizard Sourcer) as well as insights from the hiring manager perspective from Dave Walters, Hired’s very own CTO. The panelists shared valuable strategies on how to use data from our 2021 State of Software Engineers Report to define and attract the most in-demand tech talent in 2021.
    Discussion Topics
    Industry trends and insights from our SoSE Report   
    What engineers want in their next role
    The power of skills-based hiring 
    How to leverage data in your hiring processes
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    How to Smash Lockdown Recruiting and Retention

    For all of us involved in scaling a business, having the right team is an essential ingredient.  The second half of that is to retain them.  When lockdown first hit businesses, many people looked with horror at both those challenges.  Some are still struggling.  I set out to find the expert secrets of the people who are triumphing.
    Finding people to recruit
    Jimmy Williams is the CEO of the Urban Jungle, which provides insurance to generation rent and millennials.  They doubled their team in 2020 and anticipate doing the same this year. Jimmy finds they are swamped with applications, but not necessarily people with the right qualifications, so they plan to improve their filtering.  They find Zoom works for interviewing, but they like to do practical tests, so they also plan to develop these in exploding formats to prevent sharing between applicants.
    Jimmy says that it is “harder is getting to someone’s personality, so we often ask more direct questions about that. It’s not like anyone has any out of work interests at the moment, so we have to get it out of them!”
    Donald Lindsay is People Operations Director at the hugely successful FreeAgent, which makes award-winning cloud accounting software for small businesses and their accountants. While FreeAgent has had low turnover, when Donald has needed to recruit, he too found a great pool of motivated talent in the market last year and expects to see much the same this.
    Natalie Lewis of Dynamic HR Services also feels that with so many good people who will be made redundant, the talent pool will be large in 2021, but the key will be in the selection.  The choice is even more comprehensive than before. Entrepreneurs worldwide are no longer restricted to employing people locally or even nationally.  A global company in San Francisco might be hiring someone who lives in a remote Cornish cottage.  But pulling precisely the right fish out of a worldwide ocean will challenge everyone in the business of recruitment in 2021.
    Integration post recruiting:
    Both Jimmy and Natalie agree, the biggest challenge is often not the recruitment but integrating them remotely.  “It’s not like it can happen by osmosis or down the pub,” Jimmy points out.  Urban Jungle encourages everyone in their team to bring their personality to work, but Jimmy admits it is hard to do.
    Companies have to create that crucial buy-in to vision, mission, and culture, and this has the crux of the lockdown challenge, which Natalie describes as behavior onboarding.  “Previously, with people in an office together, it was much easier for newbies to pick it the culture and internalize it from the people around them, what they hear and see, embodied in the physical room.”  Without it happening naturally, leaders have to create it.
    Natalie believes it is the companies that have been open to change and adapting that are thriving and cites Gitlab as a perfect example.  They have a flat structure, high accountability, and responsibility.  Natalie believes that even post-pandemic, companies like this will retain hybrid working.
    FreeAgent moved the whole company to remote work in March last year and quickly adapted to virtual recruitment.  Donald says this meant both updating their range of interview guides and processes so they cover online settings and upskilling their staff so they could properly manage and lead this work.
    “Even before the pandemic,” Donald adds, “we were looking at how we could strengthen the employee experience at FreeAgent. 2021 will see us building on these strong foundations.”
    Creating culture and retention from day one
    I asked all three of my experts for their top tips, practices that they find work best to build and retain great teams in new times:
    Jimmy’s top tips:
    Jimmy says that they work “very hard to keep the team both productive and happy.  “We’re trying to maintain our usual levels of transparency, despite being in a physically different space, which makes that difficult.”  One thing they do to maintain transparency is that some of their senior team members now have ‘open 1-2-1s’ with their direct reports so that more junior team members can eavesdrop on what is going on like they would in the office.”
    The second Wednesday in the month is “Workmate Wednesday,” which is just to have non-work chats with colleagues.
    They also use their social budget to send people little treats in the post and include some remote socials. “Remote cocktail making for the Christmas party was brilliant,” Jimmy adds.  In addition, having found that around 20% of their team were suffering from their mental health after lockdowns started in 2020, they replaced their social budget for a mental health fund, offering counseling and yoga session in place of after-work drinks. This does seem to have helped and the team is coping better with this lockdown.”
    Donald’s top tips are:
    Donald believes that “flexible working arrangements will become the new normal going forward when it comes to future recruitment with fewer roles requiring to be based full-time in our HQ.   There will be more of a hybrid split between office-based and remote working from home.”  He believes this kind of flexibility is likely to be an important factor for many applicants in the future, so it’s vital to adapt and meet these expectations as quickly as possible.
    Donald also plans to strengthen FreeAgent’s progression and personal development.  They will offer people the chance to upskill and also to explore other careers within FreeAgent.
    They will also aim to improve things like salary bands, inter-departmental movement, flexible working arrangements, and succession planning “so that employees feel properly valued and nurtured.”
    FreeAgent is also continually reviewing staff benefits packages to ensure they are as strong as possible.  Donald believes that “if our people don’t feel they have a voice or are valued, we simply won’t be able to retain the amazing talent we have here.”
    Natalie’s top tips are:
    For Natalie, it is all about building culture.  One tip is that everyone on a remote team to have google hangouts open all day.  People being able to see each other makes a crucial difference to isolation.  They can always mute for an important call.
    She recommends enforcing virtual coffee meetings a couple of times a day.  Her experience is that people embrace it at first and then lose interest, so you need to really encourage it until they see the benefits – which are huge.
    Natalie says that to retain teams, a culture of compassion and flexibility will be the absolute key in the future.   Many people have to juggle work and family responsibilities in these lockdowns, and they need understanding and flexibility to remain committed and happy.
    Guided by the experts, I conclude that selecting the right talent will be the challenge for 2021 from a vast global pool.  Integration is critical for culture.  And when it comes to retention, the keywords are flexibility, transparency, compassion, and showing you value your team in every way possible.  Just as they have always been, but much more so.
    Jan Cavelle has several decades of founding micro and SME’s behind her and is now a freelance writer and author. Throughout her career, she has worked on various campaigns to support and encourage other entrepreneurs.   Her first book is Scale for Success: Expert Insights into Growing Your Business, Bloomsbury Business, 2021.

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    5 Messaging Mistakes Tech Recruiters Cannot Afford to Make (+ How to Prevent Them)

    Without strong communication skills, recruiters, especially those in tech, don’t stand a chance when it comes to capturing the attention of in-demand candidates. The tech industry remains highly competitive, making recruiters’ job of attracting top tech talent all the more complicated and communication all the more critical.
    When it comes to connecting with top tech talent, sometimes you only get one shot to shoot – and it better be a good one. To help it stick, we’ve put together a list of what you should – and shouldn’t do – when communicating with these candidates.
    Want to learn the top messaging mistakes tech recruiters make and how to prevent them?
    Download the guide. More

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    4 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Tech Talent Better Than Your Competition

    One of the big lessons learned in 2020 was to be prepared for the unprepared. With so much uncertainty still in the market, employers should proceed the recruiting landscape in 2021 with caution. Doing so means learning how to enhance and improve relationships with tech talent – prospective candidates and current employees alike. Tech talent is always in-demand, and as such, attraction and retention will be more important than ever before.
    With that in mind, we’re here to offer strategies that will position you as the employer of choice for top tech talent, from your initial interaction through to the final offer.
    Want to find out how to source and attract top tech talent and edge out the competition?
    Download the guide  More

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    5 Ways Recruiting Leaders Can Help their Teams Beat WFH Fatigue

    For the majority of the UK workforce, December now marks almost eight months of continuously working from home, for thousands of us this has been a shock to the system and a real shift from the norm.
    The balance between a healthy home and work life, for some, may have been blurred and now Google trends data suggests searches for ‘burnout’ peaking as the UK entered a second national lockdown earlier in November and with no respite to the working from home guidance as of yet, this trend is likely to increase.
    So with more people now experiencing a form of ‘work from home fatigue’, Sam Hill, Head of People and Culture at BizSpace shares tips on how business leaders can help to combat this unique form of burnout.
    1. COMMUNICATION IS KEY TO MAINTAINING A CULTURE
    Communication is a vital part of this strategy – with every element of running a business or managing a team, communication is the key to success in morale and for recruiters, a pivotal part in the day-to-day job. Many office workers across the country may be living alone, in shared accommodation, or having to juggle the added pressures of being at home more often, like childcare for example.
    All of this can lead to feeling a sense of isolation from the team and the company, something that can come as a shock to the system. Especially when concerned with the recruitment industry, where camaraderie and an office environment where feeling a sense of striving for targets is instilled and allows employees to excel. While many won’t have a choice but to be working from home, team leaders could encourage the use of instant messaging like Slack and Google Chat. While daily huddles and weekly catch-ups with a line manager/mentor using a mixture of video and voice calls help to keep updated and on top of targets, with managers offering a steer and guidance. Keeping this constant open door to communication can replicate that feeling of being in the office where teams can so easily communicate and celebrate wins.
    2. TRUST YOUR TEAM AND PROVE IT THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS
    Recruiters can work sporadic hours day-to-day but with working hours now no longer ‘normal’, this can lead to many feeling like they need to prove they’re doing the work, leading to overworking and in turn, burnout. Thousands of us are defined by the 9-5, taking lunch at the same time each day and having a physical presence in front of colleagues to prove we are actually working. At home, we don’t have this way of ‘proving’ ourselves.
    So team leads must show that they trust their team, they can do this by being flexible and less formal, where meetings are required, keeping these streamlined and avoiding typical lunch hours or times early in the morning where some may be taking advantage of the new hours. Setting attainable and broad deadlines with a lot of notice will allow flexibility and give enough time to be met.
    3. DEFINING THE PURPOSE FOR EVERY TEAM MEMBER
    Despite many recruiters and talent acquisition specialists having a clearly defined goal and working towards a commission-based salary, the peculiar times we’re living in can still see many questioning their purpose. It is vital that every member of the team is aware of what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, aside from simply logging the hours and getting through the day. Senior management, team leaders, and line managers must be communicating this from the top down through the likes of company-wide communication, keeping teams updated on business progress, any wins, challenges, and opportunities.
    This communication then needs to filter down through the hierarchy with each level of the team being aware of how their work contributes to the overall goal of the company. No role in a team is obsolete and everyone contributes to the success of the overall goal and defining this purpose, more now than ever before, is vital to give your team a sense of purpose and being.
    4. BE CLEAR ON THE PRIORITIES
    When delegating work, be absolutely clear of the deadlines and what the top priorities are. For the more inexperienced members of the team, being in the office has a monumental impact on their progression and will allow them to pick up skills and lean on peers for guidance. As a team leader or manager, making workload priorities explicit from the offset and checking in once a week on progress can help to guide the workload without micromanaging and guide those that may need more of a steer.
    5. ENCOURAGE MOVEMENT AND GET EVERYONE INVOLVED
    Taking a break from the dining room table or home office is key to keeping a clear and focussed mind throughout the day. Workers are likely to be spending more time at their screens with no need to leave the house, whereas heading out to get lunch is the norm when in an office setting. With longer nights, we must get the most out of the short amount of daylight we have. But how do you ensure your team is not neglecting their own need for fresh air and daylight?
    Using instant messaging, a social chat can be an escape for many employees to talk about everything that isn’t work. Encouraging a weekly thread where the team can share photos of their week and something they have done might be a nice way to encourage people to do more other than stay in the house. Apps like Strava that track exercise can also be a great team-building activity that encourages movement. Creating a leaderboard for the number of miles each person logs in exercise outside should encourage competition amongst the team. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise either, so whether they’re walking or in a wheelchair, riding or running, it encourages the team to get outside and spend time away from the screen.
    Sam Hill has been with BizSpace since 2017 and is the Head of People and Culture. She has over 10 years’ experience in HR roles and previously worked at The Football Association, Produban (a part of Santander), and Ascential PLC. Sam is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

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    Why the Recruiting Industry May Never Be the Same

    2020 has presented recruiters and job seekers with unimaginable circumstances and significant societal challenges, leading to the transition of key processes toward more virtual recruiting. As a result, this shift has created a profound change in industry concerns, challenges, and investments of recruiters, with many believing that recruiting may never be the same.
    These industry concerns were recently revealed in a new survey by Jobvite, which includes responses from more than 800 recruiters and HR professionals from hundreds of companies. It provides an in-depth look at the state of recruiting today and the challenges and opportunities facing recruiters as they continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic.
    Many professionals surveyed believe that these shifts brought forth this year – from investments and priorities to virtual interviewing and onboarding methods – are here to stay, and need to be considered by talent acquisition teams as they begin planning for the new year.
    Industry challenges, priorities, and investments
    Since the onset of the pandemic, stress levels at work have increased for the majority of recruiters, with one in five reporting a drastic increase in stress, according to Jobvite’s 2020 Recruiter Nation Survey. The impact of COVID-19 has also led to diminished headcount and hiring for about one-third of organizations, adding to the stress level.
    Beyond that, recruiting priorities have also changed, with growing the talent pipeline and improving time-to-hire fading and quality of hires growing in importance. Seventy-one percent of recruiters also revealed their recruiting priorities for the next 12 months are different from those they had in the past year.
    Regarding investments, nearly 80% of recruiters said social media is the area most likely to see increased financial investments in the next 12 months. No surprise, since social media has risen over the last three years for recruiting purposes. Untraditional social media channels such as TikTok and Snapchat have also been added to the recruiting mix, presumably for roles that might appeal to younger candidates.
    All in all, these industry insights are valuable and help recruiters understand that conditions are changing, so the strategy should too. Recruiters need to start outlining areas of priorities and financial investments for the upcoming year, so they can confidently navigate this new reality, gain job seekers’ attention, and hire highly-skilled talent the right way.
    Interviews will never be remotely the same
    Three-quarters of surveyed recruiters still believe in-person interviews are the most effective interview mode. However, recruiters have had to adapt with social distancing being enforced across the globe, especially as COVID-19 cases begin to see an uptick in many areas. Currently, the majority of recruiters conduct 50% or more of their interviews via video, and 40% believe virtual interviews will be the default moving forward.
    To some recruiters, video conferencing may seem more casual, but they should always be prepared and trained to properly conduct a professional video interview to ensure a positive candidate experience – the same as if it was conducted in-person.
    Any interview via video should be organized and well-planned, with a quiet space and professional appearance. The 2020 Recruiter Nation Survey also revealed that the biggest video interview mistakes made by candidates are poor connectivity, inappropriate attire, and poor eye contact, so recruiters should not develop the same negative habits.
    Diversity and inclusion initiatives gaining in importance
    With this year prompting many Americans to reflect on what is important to them and what their values are, it is fitting that those beliefs and priorities are being brought into the job search. One major shift is the increased importance of an organizations’ diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives, as one-third of recruiters reported that job seekers are inquiring about these initiatives more than they did last year.
    Companies are embracing this by placing a higher emphasis on developing D&I strategies, with it being listed as a top recruiting priority, according to the report. This is primarily in respect to race/ethnicity and gender, but also as it relates to age, veteran status, and other factors.
    While this shows the value for talent acquisition teams to have D&I initiatives in place, it’s important to remember that accomplishing these goals is a journey, not a destination. It requires people, process, and technology to work together to mitigate conscious and unconscious bias where possible, create opportunities for underrepresented communities, and build strong teams based on talent wherever it is found.
    To start or continue this journey, talent teams should work to revisit their existing strategies and implement technology and services where necessary, that are designed to attract and engage more diverse job seekers. Organizations are being held to higher standards for how they source, recruit, hire, and employ with increased diversity, so recruiters should use technology to reduce unconscious bias during the candidate resume review process. They should also track and measure progress within their D&I recruitment marketing initiatives.
    Looking forward to 2021
    Every year comes a new set of challenges for recruiters. While the recruiting industry reacted to dramatic changes in markets brought on by a worldwide crisis, it’s evident that these shifts will only continue to accelerate and represent the current reality of the industry. By following these best practices and making a concise effort to be nimble in the new year, talent acquisition teams will be able to further adapt to future complexities with ease and meet candidates where they are.
    Jeffrey K. Rohrs is the Chief Marketing Officer of Jobvite, the leading end-to-end talent acquisition suite provider. With more than 15 years of SaaS marketing experience, Jeffrey previously served as CMO of Yext during a period of rapid growth and a successful initial public offering in 2017. He also served as VP of Marketing Insights for Salesforce and VP of Marketing at ExactTarget during their IPO and acquisition by Salesforce in 2013.

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    How to Hire a Data Engineer

    Data Engineering is one of the fastest-growing job roles in the tech industry with LinkedIn Talent Insights categorizing demand for these roles as ‘very high’. This means that it’s harder than ever for firms to attract and retain talent in this pivotal role. Estimates on the number of unfilled positions last year range from as much as 33-50%.
    One of the reasons for the shortage is the rate at which the discipline is moving, with tools and technologies emerging and evolving rapidly. This leads to the absence of a standardized toolset and means that the definition of the role can be dramatically different across companies.
    Based on research with 50 Data Engineers, and in conversation with Dani Solà Lagares (Director of Data at Simply Business) research from technology recruiting firm Stott and May reveals what Data Engineers are looking for, and what potential employers can be doing to increase their chances of snagging top talent. Here are the four top tips to come out of the research.
    1. Give them a clearly defined role.
    When looking for a new role, Data Engineers need to see a detailed and realistic job description. 72% testified that this was the most important factor in whether or not they will apply. If an employer doesn’t have this nailed down, then Data Engineers will pass up the opportunity in favor of an employer who has a clear idea of what needs to be done. ‘Give candidates a sense of the projects they will be working on and the stakeholders they will be engaging with,’ says Dani Sola. ‘Even more importantly, provide some narrative on the type of impact you expect key initiatives to make.’
    2. Provide the right technology stack.
    48% of Data Engineers stated that the technology stack they will be working with is the most important consideration in accepting a role. Because the technology stack has so much to do with what their day-to-day work will look like, it’s important that the fit is right. ‘Technical skillsets could vary dramatically from Kafka, Kafka Streams, Scala, Kotlin knowledge, advanced SQL, data warehousing skills, Python, the list goes on,’ says Dani. ‘It is important, however, to paint a picture of your requirements without asking candidates to tick every skillset that’s ever existed in data engineering.’
    3. Benchmark to ensure you’re offering a competitive salary.
    According to the research, 42% of Data Engineers say they are most likely to jump ship because their salary and benefits are below market rate. It’s important to make sure you are benchmarking your salaries against your competitors, and offering a competitive compensation package if you want to retain in-demand talent. ‘In my view, one of the major reasons engineers move on is that the initial value proposition of the role in that organization has not lived up to expectations,’ says Dani. ‘Don’t sell a dream and deliver a nightmare. If you’re authentic and invest in your team’s personal development that can go a long way.’
    4. Don’t wear them out with excessive interview steps.
    Data Engineers’ time is very important, so if they are being asked to jump through too many hoops, they are liable to simply look elsewhere. If you’re looking to recruit a Data Engineer, try to streamline the recruitment process as much as possible so that you can make an assessment of their fit without losing momentum. ‘Keep talent engaged during the hiring process,’ says Dani. ‘Create a sense of your culture and values. Make great first impressions as a potential employer. Interviewing should be about making the candidate feel at ease and creating an environment where they can show themselves at their best.’
    David Struth is Head of Marketing at Stott and May.

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    A-Players Sourcing Guide: 11 Steps to Landing the Industry’s Top-Performers

    The most talented people build the best companies. It’s that simple. No successful business was built purely on market fit and a ton of investments. People are the #1 asset of any company, its biggest strength or weakness. The concentration of talent per square foot determines the chances for a business to skyrocket. That’s why having as many A-Players in a team as possible is crucial for any company.
    Who are A-Players, and why are they so valuable?

    An A-Player is an employee who has a 90% chance of performing in the top 10%.

    Brad & Geoff Smart
    A-Players bring an ownership mindset, self-awareness, intellect, depth, and curiosity to any organization. An A-Player is someone who would be enthusiastically rehired by previous employers. But the chances to find and hire one are slim: they comprise only up to 10% of the labor market in their industry. For an amateur to find an A-Player is a matter of luck, but for a professional sourcer, it’s a result of a defined strategy.
    The reality is that your team most likely consists of a mix of A, B, and C-players. But is it possible to create a team where 90% of staff are A-Players? Sounds like a daring dream, but applying the right sourcing strategy, it’s achievable. I would like to share an 11-step guide on how to do it properly.
    Step 1. Develop and customize a sourcing strategy for every role
    Create and share with the team a document with a sourcing strategy for every role. It should contain:
    a job description,
    Q&A and keywords for the role,
    a list of target companies, meetups, and organizations,
    search strings,
    possible role titles,
    useful search hints.
    Describe the steps you take to source potential candidates, but customize it for every individual case. Don’t let this document just sit there. Keep brainstorming with your team on new sources and add updated information.
    Step 2. Start your research before meeting a client or hiring manager
    Start working on the position before meeting the client or hiring manager. Study the job description and define gaps to ask the person in charge. Thoroughly research the tech stack. Tools like GlossaryTech will be beneficial for this purpose. Find 3-5 relevant candidates to calibrate your search better, and ask for feedback on them from the client. Prepare a list of questions and draft a plan for the meeting. It will help you have a fruitful conversation instead of just nodding along and returning with more and more questions afterward.
    Step 3. Schedule an intake meeting with the client or hiring manager
    After doing background research, schedule an intake meeting with hiring managers and decision-makers in the company. Ask all kinds of questions, starting from basic (job location, requirements, perfect candidate profiles, companies to source from) to advanced ones (value to a candidate, culture uniqueness, expected outcomes for a new employee). It’s your chance to clarify any confusion, so don’t hesitate to do so. Also, discuss profiles you have sourced for the meeting. A good tip would also be to ask a client or hiring manager how they would describe themself if they were looking for the job in question. It’s a great way to gather relevant keywords and get a sense of the natural language used by candidates.
    Step 4. Identify an A-Player
    A-Players can be identified by several markers, described below. Of course, not everyone can create a perfect LinkedIn profile or describe their strongest features. Most A-Players don’t even identify themselves as such. That’s why I recommend reaching out to any candidates who meet two or more of the criteria listed below.
    Product-focused description in their profile. A-Players don’t just list technologies they work with but point out their impact and contribution to the business.
    Entrepreneurship experience. Starting a company requires a healthy ownership mindset, self-motivation, and self-organization. People who started their own companies understand how business works as a whole and will be a good fit, no matter their business outcomes.
    Current or recent employers that hire top performers. With experience, you’ll get a sense of companies that have high hiring standards. Keep track of them on the list, and you’ll get a database of companies you can source from.
    Promotions. A-Players are performance-driven, motivated, innovative, and effective. They believe in self-development and maintain exceptionally high expectations of themselves and others. Hence, they are more likely to be promoted within a company.
    Three recent employments lasted at least 1,5 years. A-Players must make an impact within a company, and it always takes time. Also, their time commitment to an employer shows that they choose companies with a clear mission and vision, a problem-solving product, and values that coincide with their own.
    Open source experience. An innate need drives the growth of top performers. They have at least one area of expertise they know profoundly and share their knowledge.
    Good references. Top-performers love what they do and make an exponential impact on the business and the team. They also know how to build and keep relationships and are likely to receive good references from their employers and colleagues.
    Volunteer or mentorship experience. A-Players are interested in the success of the group more than their own. Volunteer or mentorship experience is a good indicator of a proactive community-oriented person who will sacrifice their own time or benefit for the success of a team.
    Step 5. Brainstorm sourcing ideas
    Create lists of target Companies, Schools, Meetups, and Organizations to source from and update them every day. Having a ready-to-go list will dramatically speed up the search process. You could use Owler, Google Search, or tech companies guides to identify target companies. A good lifehack: check-out relevant conferences and their sponsors who are usually companies interested in a particular industry.
    Step 6. Make a list of relevant keywords
    Compose a list of keywords based on a job description, intake meeting, and surface research. Make sure to include technologies, tools, and natural language phrases. Pay attention to specific words that the candidates use to describe themselves. Come up with as many variations and descriptions as you can, using tools like GlossaryTech or a thesaurus.
    For example, to find a candidate who has participated in some coding challenge and won, the list of keywords would include (programming OR coding) AND (competition OR challenge OR contest OR hackathon) AND (won OR selected OR achieved). Avoid general phrases like self-motivated or competent team players that stand for nothing in particular.
    Step 7. Check your database
    Start your search with the list of former candidates who were among the finalists for past openings but weren’t selected or responsive. Those second-runners, also known as silver and bronze medalists, may have grown enough to be a good fit now. They also may be ready for a change and be more likely to engage this time. Come up with an idea of how to re-engage them. It’s always better to send a message with an update about a company and its product, an invitation for a meetup, or to congratulate the candidate on an achievement. Don’t reach out to those warm contacts out of the blue. Make your message personalized based on the information you already know about the candidate.
    Step 8. Stretch your search to alternative channels
    Now, when you have all the necessary information, you can start your search. Don’t limit yourself to traditional channels like LinkedIn, GitHub, Google, etc. To advance your sourcing strategy and find unique information about a candidate, go further and include social media, articles, and personal websites. You can also use professional tools like TurboHiring or AmazingHiring that provide necessary resources and contacts.
    Information from alternative channels will help you personalize your outreach messages and demonstrate that you genuinely care about the candidate. People appreciate it when recruiters research before sending a message and provide essential points on why the offer would be a perfect match.
    Step 9. Outreach smart
    Compose messages in advance. Prepare one note and two follow-ups to send to a candidate. Be assertive but not annoying. Check your writing using tools like Главред (for Russian) and Grammarly (for English). Don’t trust only your own eyes in this case. Those tools will identify possible mistakes and help you compose a stylistically correct message. They will prevent you from awkward typos that may ruin a connection with a candidate.
    Remember to follow-up. Don’t rely on your memory for that. Set a reminder to write back to the candidate or use an email automation tool like Yesware. It will not only follow-up with non-responsive candidates but will track open and reply rates. This information will be useful when measuring your results.
    Outreach through different channels. Don’t limit yourself to one channel. LinkedIn connection and InMail are reliable alternatives to reach out to a candidate.
    Test your message. Write a couple of variations of the same message, and A/B test them. By measuring and comparing the response rates, you will identify the most effective one and can increase the overall rate in the future.
    Step 10. Source continuously
    The best practice is to create your database of potential A-Players and update it is as soon as you spot a top-performer. Keep looking for A-Players even if you currently don’t have an opening. Because when you do, it will be easier to have a ready pool of talented people and pull relevant ones out of it. To make this internal search faster, mark your candidates as you add them with appropriate tags (e.g., #python, #marketing)
    Step 11. Measure your results
    Measuring your results will help you identify the most effective strategy and, if needed, provide a report about the work done to the client or hiring manager. It’s also useful to reflect on your performance to know how you can improve. Here are a few metrics to keep track of:
    the number of sourced candidates
    open and reply rates
    contact to interest ratio
    interviewed to introduced to a client ratio
    interviewed to hire ratio
    Consider only metrics relevant to your initial inquiry and goal. To determine them, ask yourself what you would like to measure why you need to know it, and how to do it.
    Finding and hiring an A-Player is like mining for gold: it looks like a matter of luck but is, in fact, a guaranteed result if you know where and how to look for it. Following the steps described above and adjusting them to your particular case will result in an A-Player hire. It may seem like a tedious process on the surface, but this strategy saves a lot of time and will increase your effectiveness in the long-term.
    Sourcing A-Players isn’t just about bringing the most experienced people on board. It’s about finding someone who has high standards of work and performance, a sense of ownership, clear values, flexible and critical thinking, curiosity, and a passion for what they do. The quality of the people in the team determines an organization’s capacity to deliver extraordinary value and exceed customers’ expectations.
    Kate Hotsyk is an A-Players Talent Sourcer with more than five years of experience in talent acquisition for start-ups and fast-growing environments. More information at aplayersrecruiting.com.

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