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Top 5 Learnings on Recruiting with Engineering Managers

Tech recruiters wear a lot of hats when it comes to the recruiting process. Not only are they responsible for finding candidates that align with their company’s values and needs – but also building a reputable talent brand by positioning the company as an attractive place to work. No big deal, right?

Juggling the responsibilities of a technical recruiter is a delicate balance.

One of the most important foundations for a successful technical recruiting organization is its alignment with the engineering org. Using data from a survey of over 1,000 technical recruiters and hiring managers, we’ve compiled actionable advice in the new Tech Recruiter’s Guide to Smarter Hiring, a comprehensive guide to current trends for the savvy tech recruiter.

To commemorate the launch of our new guide, we published a cliff note version. Read the full guide here

1. Lay the groundwork to build trust

Even though hiring managers share the same goals as technical recruiters, the path to achieve them look very different. Hiring managers just don’t have the same set of priorities as tech recruiters. While hiring managers focus on quality of skills/fit, future performance, and retention, tech recruiters focus on quality of skills/fit, time to close, and retention, in that order.

But having different goals doesn’t have to mean a discrepancy in alignment. Focusing on the tech recruiter/hiring manager relationship can help both parties understand each others priorities, and —ultimately — build trust, despite their different goals. And more trust paves the way for better preparation, clearer processes, and seamless communication.

See page 5 for more detailed tips on how to lay the groundwork with your hiring managers.

2. Get inside the mind of an engineer

When you step into the hiring managers’ shoes, it’s clear they have a tough gig: not only do they have to support the hiring process, but also adhere to a stringent product roadmap. Hiring managers need all the time they can get…and chances are recruiting is not the #1 priority at all times.

This is where technical recruiters come in. One of the most important keys to thinking like an engineer is setting data-driven expectations.


You have lots of institutional knowledge and access to data. Discuss relevant insights such as number of candidates at each stage based on similar past hires. Give them an idea of what’s possible based on the market, the budget, and the timeline. Engineers like numbers, so give them some. For example, show them how many candidates you sourced and the percentages at each stage.

3. Speak engineers’ language (authentically) 

Most engineers communicate in a way that’s logical, data-driven, and technically well-informed. When technical recruiters immerse themselves in the world of developers – keeping tabs on new technologies, watching talent pool trends, and the like – it makes communication much easier.

And when there’s a communication discrepancy? A tech recruiter’s best bet is to stick to the facts. Generally speaking, engineers can be averse to emotionally-charged language, but respond to facts and data. Of course, that doesn’t go for all engineers, but it’s a good place to start troubleshooting in case of a communication error.

See page 6 for more detailed tips on how to ask the right questions to your hiring managers.

4. Tech recruiters: Own the pace of the recruiting process

When asked what the biggest hurdle is in their relationship with hiring managers, “timely feedback” was number one. Hiring managers, on the other hand, see it as a lesser priority, ranking as their third largest hurdle.

Since technical recruiters are generally measured by time-to-hire and retention, it’s only natural that they’re more focused on closing speed.

Make no mistake: aligning on skills and expectations is the most important aspect of the recruiting process. But, once a good group of candidates surface, technical recruiters need to set the pace. It’s on recruiters to push the process forward, and to facilitate a quick close once the team agrees on a candidate.

See page 8  for more detailed tips on how to own the process.

5. Strategic standardization helps teams scale faster

Most people know that standardizing your screening process is one surefire way to reduce bias in the hiring process—if everyone is evaluated on the same questions, there’s a more even playing field as opposed to ad hoc whiteboard interviews. But what most people don’t realize is standardization can also help expedite recruiting.

How? Most technical recruiters clearly don’t have time to learn to code amidst their myriad of recruiting responsibilities—nor should they be expected to. Tech recruiters rely on engineers to evaluate candidates’ skills, which takes up valuable chunks of their coding time.

So, to shrink time spent on evaluating candidates, skills assessments can create a sort of “shortcut” by standardizing the entire process. By setting a pre-determined benchmark on skill evaluation, they can identify the most qualified applicants in very little time, and with minimal oversight, ensuring that your engineers are only moving forward with candidates who have the right skills. It makes scaling engineering teams a lot less painful, especially for companies in hypergrowth.

This is just one of the several different proven tactics on how to improve your relationship with hiring managers and win tech talent faster.

NEXT: Tech Recruiter’s Guide to Smarter Hiring.

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