You don’t know how to hire Senior Engineers. That’s the first assumption you should make. You might be friendly, charming, easy going, but social skills will work against you.
What’s the best way to approach a Senior Engineer? Here are 5 tips, based on my own experience interacting with recruiters.
1) Be upfront about compensation and role: Senior Engineers know the market well; they know how much other colleagues are being paid. It would be best if you decided whether to compete with compensation or role. If you are not paying above the average (>USD70k, ), offer a better position, perhaps Principal Engineer, or Architect.
2) Don’t offer a call or throw your calendar with options: Senior Engineers are busy; the last thing they want is to talk to you. Get their attention with something meaningful first (see advice #1.)
3) Don’t ask open questions: “what are you looking for?”, “what is your expected compensation?” That’s not a good way to start a conversation. Go straight to the offer, if they are interested they will respond.
4) Don’t offer multiple positions: the last thing you want is to make a Senior Engineer feel generic. “Here are 5 positions that you would like, pick one” That’s a horrible way to say: “I don’t care what you choose while I get my commission.”
5) Don’t sell the company’s dream: Senior Engineers are living their dream already, they get to code, all day. They don’t care if you try to change the world; they care about making more money, upgrading their roles, learning new technologies and technical challenges. The company you are recruiting for should be the last thing you talk about.
Bonus advise: learn Python. You don’t need to become an engineer, but you need to be able to show technical knowledge; otherwise, you will become just a middle man, instead of someone who understands the need of the person you are trying to hire.
Use the interviews with the Senior Engineers to learn even more. Bring technical subjects to the calls. That’s a powerful tool to gain a Senior Engineer trust.
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