talent January 31, 2020

4 tips for building knowledge in tech recruiting

The increasing demand for developers means recruiters need to up their game. The developers that you’re recruiting don’t expect you to have expertise in the skills that you’re recruiting for. Otherwise, you’d be competing with them for their job. But you do need to know enough to speak to the skill set in the job…
Avatar for Medi Madelen Gwosdz
Content Strategist

The increasing demand for developers means recruiters need to up their game. The developers that you’re recruiting don’t expect you to have expertise in the skills that you’re recruiting for. Otherwise, you’d be competing with them for their job. But you do need to know enough to speak to the skill set in the job requirements. Otherwise, your job postings and candidate communications will not reflect the requirement of the position and fail to attract the candidates you need.

But with a little research, you can get enough familiarity with the tech skills and the engineering mindset to talk to them about the roles you recruit for. Here are 4 tips, that will help you get going.

Know What You Don’t Know

The first step to gaining knowledge is to know what knowledge you lack. At the beginning, it may seem like that includes everything.
And that’s ok! Everyone starts somewhere. The best thing that you can do is not try to hide your ignorance. The more comfortable you are in saying “I don’t know,” the better you’ll be able to gain new information. Developers love to share information about the technology that they love, so not knowing something is an invitation for them to share.

Ask specific questions

On your road to knowledge, you’ll need to ask a lot of questions, especially “What is it?” But whether you’re talking to a candidate about a role or to tech leads looking to round out their team, questions will help you understand the specific requirements and skill involved in the roles you’re filling. Over time, you can make your questions more and more targeted—for example, by asking whether the mystery database they worked on is relational.

Work closely with your in-house developers

Your company’s developers are the experts in the skills that you’re trying to hire for, so lean on them for information about those skills. Keep lines of communication open internally, even informally, and you’ll be able to unravel any mystery tech that comes your way. If you have an internal chat system, lurk in #developers or #engineering to see what they’re talking about.

Keep reference material close by

You don’t need to have every bit of information perfectly memorized and ready to recite on command. But you should have some handy reference materials around for those moments when you come up empty handed. And we even put together a guide to help you out.

Podcast logo The Stack Overflow Podcast is a weekly conversation about working in software development, learning to code, and the art and culture of computer programming.

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