Finding talent without Linkedin. By: Sven Peters from Manfred

18 May 2022

Do you find the best developers by searching through CV’s on LinkedIn? Probably not.

Some profiles are out of date, others paint a brighter reality, and often a lot of important details are missing. This can lead to frustrations on both sides: Developers get annoyed by receiving job offers that doesn’t fit their skills. Recruiters on the other hand get annoyed by candidates that have overpromised in their profiles. But it’s getting worse because some eager recruiters end up writing tons of messages like “Hey, we offer a great developer role and your experience looks like a perfect match” referring to a technology that the candidate used years ago, or it doesn’t reflect what the developer wants to do next. So these high-in-demand tech workers are starting to ignore communication from recruiters through LinkedIn, even though the offer might fit their desire and would bring them to the next step of their career.

What is a better approach for finding developers? Some recommend looking into online repositories like GitHub, but just a minority of developers are sharing their code or, participate in open source projects. So what is needed to get a full picture of the candidate? How good is the developer in a certain technology? What do they want to do next? Not to forget about their soft skills.

Seven Peters: Developers Advocate at Manfred. Photo credit: Manfred

The answer is something that LinkedIn doesn’t provide:

A personal relationship. That’s why the best way to hire people is through referrals from the hiring company’s own staff. They know former co-workers, friends, and community members that might be a good match for the role and a fit for the company. If a developer refers to a candidate, they are often sharing the whole picture: details of the role, information about the team, technology that’s being used, the company culture & values, and even the potential salary. It’s a much more open process than what candidates often experience when getting approached via LinkedIn.

What does that mean for recruiting? Recruiters need to understand possible candidates better and start building relationships with them and their communities. Developers often don’t reply to messages without enough valuable information about the potential job like salary band, information about the company, product or service they would work on, technology that’s being used, and the possibility to work remotely. There are quite some developer communities on Discord, Slack, and Twitter Communities with job channels. It’s a good way to start a discussion and see if there’s interest in the open role, and provide some background information. These communities are often quite specific, so recruiters should have some knowledge about the technology that they’re hiring for. E.g. if they’re looking for a React Front-End Developer they might also contact JavaScript communities. Starting a discussion thread gives developers the choice to get into the conversation, jump on a 1:1 chat to ask for more information, or simply pass on the opportunity.

At Manfred we’ve started out by building our own community of tech workers that want to enhance their careers. In other words, we started with the candidates and not the open position. We know what the talent wants to do next. Most of our talent scouts have been working in the IT business and understand the technologies, programming languages, and the way developers work. Before proposing a job, we invest some time in understanding the candidate’s ambitions, dream role, and the kind of company for their next career step. This way, we’re building the personal relationship that is missing when finding talents through LinkedIn. It feels like actually referring a Manfred community member to an open position and, isn’t that the best way to hire people?

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