How to make sure you get only the most relevant tech candidates from agencies you work with
We at Toughbyte help companies find the best candidates for their developer positions. While presenting suitable profiles is a responsibility of the recruitment agency, finding and identifying them is hardly possible without the company being involved in the process from the very beginning. In this blog post, we’ll explain what you can do on your side as a client to get only the most relevant tech candidates from the external recruiters you’re working with in order to save your time and close the position faster.
Define your company’s tech needs and requirements clearly
First and foremost, you should identify the specific tech skills required for the role you’re hiring for to narrow down the search. Make a clear list of must-have & nice-to-have skills needed for the position and define the level of experience your company is looking for: entry-level or junior (less than two years of experience), mid-level (two to five years of experience), senior or higher (five years or more).
Next, determine any non-technical requirements and qualities that are important for the role, such as communication skills and team fit. It’s also crucial that you have an understanding of your company culture in order to make a clear picture of the type of candidate that would thrive in that environment. For example, if you’ve started a company recently, the ideal candidate might benefit from having experience working at a startup and being able to quickly adapt to changes. Note down such things as well.
Communicate your needs and expectations to the tech recruiters
Once you’ve identified your needs and requirements, make sure to communicate them to the recruiters you’re working with. Create a detailed job description with a list of required skills, experience, work duties, compensation and benefits. Check out our guide on how to write a good developer job ad for more details. If you already have such a description, make sure to share it with the recruiters along with any materials you think might be useful to the candidates in order to better understand your company and offer.
Let the recruiters know about any other requests or preferences you have towards candidate profiles, such as the desired salary range for the position, the locations you want them to source from and whether you’re open to relocating candidates from abroad or not.
Establish a thorough and consistent vetting process
When you start receiving candidate profiles from a tech recruitment agency, you should aim for quality over quantity. It is better to get a smaller number of high-quality resumes that are more likely to be a good fit for the position. However, since external recruiters cannot read your mind, it’s crucial that you set up a good process with them from the start. If you need some advice on that, our blog post on how to build a constructive collaboration with external recruiters can help.
A key component of vetting the candidates efficiently is understanding what external recruiters can easily screen for by themselves and what not. Here are the main areas they can cover during the first interview:
- Candidate’s experience: what projects and technologies has the candidate worked with?
- Motivation: why does the candidate want to work at your company and why is he interested in the position?
- Willingness to relocate: if there is an option to relocate, is the candidate ready to do it?
- Communication skills: does the candidate communicate in a clear and concise manner?
- Cultural fit: does the candidate have specific qualities to adapt to your company’s values and collective behaviors, such as product mindset, readiness to work at a startup or corporate environment, etc.?
You should also be able to provide a list of additional screening questions you want external recruiters to ask. The answers to these questions could be provided to you together with the candidate’s CVs or be used to reject candidates earlier in the process.
Review the CVs and check that they include all the necessary info. If you’re unsure about technical skills and experience, ask your tech colleague to take a look. Let the recruiters know if the skills or experience you’re looking for are missing from the CVs you’ve reviewed. That way they could present only the candidates that do have this experience, providing the information in a separate note if it’s not available in the CV.
Ask the recruiters to provide a cover letter together with the candidate’s CV. It should include the most relevant experience and explain why the candidate fits your specific requirements. You can find an example of the cover letter template below.
CANDIDATE'S FULL NAME
PROFILE with X years of experience
Location: CITY, COUNTRY
Salary expectations: X euros gross
LinkedIn (LINK), GitHub (LINK)
TITLE at COMPANY for the last X years
Working on: PROJECT
Actively looking to change job / Not looking to change job actively
Notice period: X weeks / X months
FREE FORM NOTES
In addition to reviewing the CV and the cover letter, ask for examples of the projects the candidate has worked on. Those can be in the form of links to their GitHub repositories, portfolio, personal website or links to projects they took part in that aren’t under NDA.
It may be tempting to have the agency give candidates a technical test or home assignment before presenting them to you, or even have them run their own assessment. However, having the agency run their own assessment is likely to be redundant as you will need to confirm their results in your own technical interview anyway. Giving a test or home assignment right at the beginning of the process will also not work for the more experienced candidates as they simply won't start the process with you. If you want to know more about testing the candidate’s technical chops, we’ve covered the best practices in our blog post on how to effectively assess coding skills.
Provide feedback on the candidates
Providing constructive and actionable feedback on the candidates is an integral part of a successful recruitment campaign. If you’re not satisfied with the quality of the candidates you’re getting, let the recruiters know as soon as possible so that they could adjust the search criteria and present better profiles going forward. Doing a call to review multiple profiles at once could be helpful since it will take less of your time than writing multiple emails. When sharing your feedback on the rejected candidates with the recruiters, pick a reason why they didn’t fit. Below are the most common reasons we use with our clients. You can also provide a more detailed explanation in an open-ended form.
- Not interested - The candidate was not motivated enough to join the company for various reasons, such as the tech stack used, work conditions, availability or others.
- Underqualified - The candidate didn’t have the required skills or level of experience needed. Make sure to explain which skills were lacking.
- Location: the candidate is not interested in relocating or isn’t good enough to relocate.
- Team fit: the candidate didn’t match the team culture.
- Overpriced: the candidate's salary expectations are higher than what can be offered given their level of experience. Make sure to confirm them on the call as they may change during the interview process and keep in mind that some candidates may not want to disclose them too early in the process.
- Overqualified: the candidate has far more experience than is needed and will not find the job interesting.
- Language: the candidate doesn’t have sufficient English or other required language skills.
- Already known: the candidate has recently been in the process for the position in question.
Once you’ve started working with a tech recruitment agency, finding the right candidates for your developer positions becomes a collaborative effort. Here’s what you can do on your end:
- Define your needs & expectations in detail and share them with external recruiters before they start the search.
- Have a proper vetting process in place: prepare a list of questions you want the recruiters to ask during the interview, carefully review CVs and cover letters, and ask for examples of the candidate’s projects if needed.
- Avoid asking the agency to test the candidates’ technical skills and don’t give test assignments to experienced candidates at the beginning of the process.
- Always provide constructive feedback on the candidates so that the recruiters could improve the quality of the candidates if you’re not satisfied with the profiles you’re receiving.
Overall, staying in close contact with your tech recruitment partners through the entire hiring process is key to finding the most relevant candidates out there and, as a result, making a successful hire as quickly as possible.