Ruben is a recruiter with the Parisian recruitment firm Getpro. He specialises in the recruitment of tech profiles, with particularly prized skills. Today, he shares with us his methods and recruitment advice for sourcing and recruiting the best profiles.
What are the daily tasks of a tech recruiter at Getpro?
My job is to find strategic talent for companies that are struggling to recruit in specific professions – in this case, so-called “shortage” professions because they are highly penurious.
In order to find these rare talents, I start by meeting the client (these are mostly tech startups). This first exchange allows me to understand the company’s needs, its activity, its problems, its values… Then, the “hunt” can begin. In other words, I start to “source” potential candidates who might be interested in a specific position. I select the best ones after a first interview and then submit them to my clients.
My ultimate goal is to place the right candidate with the right client to fill a recruitment need. Once the candidate has been recruited, I ensure a certain amount of follow-up, in particular by making sure that the candidates are properly integrated during their trial period. I can also intervene before the employment contract is signed, to negotiate the candidate’s salary.
What are the challenges you face on a daily basis?
- A recruiter’s challenges can vary depending on the specialities, the sectors… For my part, I intervene for players in the tech sector. My issues are specific to Tech Recruiters, but not only.
- Like any headhunter, I help companies with very hard-to-fill recruitment needs. When I contact a tech talent, I know I’m dealing with a highly sought after candidate. This means I’m going to be in direct competition with other companies… I have to be extra inventive to try and get the talent for my client. So recruitment is never ‘given’.
Another difficulty, which this time is common to many recruiters, is that I do a job in which many human factors are intertwined. Factors that I cannot always control.
- Will the candidate I contact be in tune with the market? Will the offer I make appeal to them and correspond to their more personal life plans? Beyond the candidate’s technical skills, will the client like their personality? Will there be a human fit?
- All these questions arise during recruitment, and there is often a degree of randomness that escapes me.
And then of course, sometimes the difficulty lies in the search itself. Some searches are more complicated than others, as some tech skills are more penal than others. Remember that not all developers work on the same programming languages. Depending on technological trends and developments, some languages are more in demand than others, or rarer than others. This is the case with Ruby on Rails, which is particularly in demand. And of course, the scarcity of a skill can make my search more difficult.
- Another challenge we don’t always think about is keeping clients motivated and responsive! Even if, by definition, a client who uses a recruitment agency is prepared to invest a lot in recruiting their talent, this does not mean that they will dedicate time to it. To recruit effectively, I need the client to be responsive when I submit profiles.
- My job is also to ensure that I get feedback quickly, because developers are in great demand. With these talents, everything has to go fast. It’s also the best way to ensure an optimal candidate experience.
In the end, being a recruiter requires a lot of diplomacy…
Exactly. A good recruiter knows how to be diplomatic. They have to learn to defend the interests of the company, but also of the candidates, when they see their potential. To give you an idea, one of the most beautiful closings I’ve done to date involved a candidate who my client didn’t like at first. Without even meeting her, my client didn’t particularly like the candidate, based on her CV. I was convinced that she was perfect for the job. I had to convince my client to offer her a first phone call. After the phone call, my client was convinced. Today, the collaboration between them is very good.
As a recruiting talent, I have to be convinced of the value and relevance of the profiles I propose to my clients. It’s up to me to promote the candidates to the company, to underline their positive points and their suitability for the position… It’s a very commercial job, after all!
Recruitment is almost a gut feeling, so… How did you spot the candidate’s potential?
The candidate in question had experience that matched perfectly with what the client was looking for. When I called her before selecting her, I was able to assess her level of discourse, her level of motivation, her capacity for analysis when she talked about the different issues she had faced in the past… All the things you can’t always detect by reading a CV. At my level, I knew it was a good match.
Is corporate culture important when recruiting for startups?
For a startup, company culture is as important as technical skills. I once almost recruited a candidate who was very technically gifted. She was a graduate of a top engineering school and had surpassed the technical test that had been proposed by my client. But there was one problem: her culture fit was not good. Despite her technical excellence, the candidate was not selected.
Which is understandable, after all. What a company wants above all is to hire a person with whom it will enjoy working. For me, interpersonal skills are just as important as technical skills.
Did covid raise any particular challenges in your work?
My relationship with COVID-19 is very special. I started my experience with the recruitment agency in May 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. My onboarding was done entirely from home. Personally, this did not bother me, on the contrary. Teleworking allowed me to move at my own pace, to have time to learn and to familiarise myself with the company…
The only real change has been on the client side. Normally, I meet clients face to face, I get to know their company, their world… In the space of a year, I have met practically all my clients by videoconference, which is quite unprecedented.
Otherwise, I would say that COVID-19 has contributed to democratising the use of telework within my company, which was not at all a fan of this way of working before the epidemic. Like many French companies, the firm discovered the virtues of remote working in 2020 – and for me, it is a way of working that suits me very well.
Is it possible to create a link with candidates despite the distance?
Yes, most of the interviews with candidates are conducted by video conference. However, I always encourage my clients to offer at least one face-to-face meeting. It can even be a lunch or an informal event… In my opinion, this is essential if you want to measure the culture fit. It’s also an opportunity for candidates to get a feel for the atmosphere within the company, to see what the offices are like, etc. All these things are important for candidates.
Is it necessary to talk about remuneration from the outset when you are a recruiter?
In any case, when I meet my clients, I know the salary range they are prepared to allocate for the profile they are looking for. In the interests of total transparency, I always specify this range to candidates when I first make contact. It’s a simple principle and yet few recruiters apply it, which is a shame.
In the hunting world, everything starts with the first message. This is why, when I contact candidates, I systematically include all the useful information in the subject line of my message. Details that can make a difference. In the subject line, I therefore include the name and type of the company, its district, its sector of activity, the job title, whether there are any remotes and, finally, the salary range.
Everyone saves time when the salary promise is stated up front. If the candidate responds later, it means that the salary offered interests him or her.
Unfortunately, the question of salary remains very taboo in France. Yet it seems obvious: no one accepts a job that pays less than their current job. Exceptions do exist, especially in “passion jobs”, but they are rare.
Is transparency with a recruiter a key asset for you?
For me, transparency and personalization are among the essential qualities that a recruiter must demonstrate. Obviously, sending a personalised message to each candidate is not always easy. To find the rare pearl, a recruiter has to contact a lot of talents… Fortunately, there are now solutions to find the right balance between efficiency and personalization.
For example, my recruitment agency uses an ATS developed in-house. This tool allows me to contact several candidates simultaneously, while personalising the messages sent, thanks to the addition of variables (such as first name, academic background, companies attended, etc). In this way, I can “automate a personalisation”, so to speak.
Does your ATS also allow you to build up a solid pool of candidates?
Yes, it does. All the recruiters in my company use this ATS, so I do very little hunting on LinkedIn. In our ATS, our candidate database is so large that I can go straight to it to source candidates. All I have to do is look at the vacancies already filled by the firm to find a huge pool of candidates.
It’s also more practical to use this database, as it generally contains the candidates’ contact details… In the end, the ATS saves me a lot of time. It’s an incredibly powerful recruitment tool, and it gets more and more effective the more candidates you add to it.
Tech profiles tend to be highly sought-after skills… How do you manage to get the best out of them?
- When I’m dealing with a particularly qualified and in-demand profile, my first instinct is always to warn my client. I draw their attention to the fact that they are about to talk to a highly sought-after profile. Our objective at this stage is no longer to check the candidate’s suitability for the position. We have to convince the talent that the company is the right place for him or her.
- To do this, we both agree on the best arguments to use to attract the talent to the company, on the salary package to offer, the added value of the position, etc. To put all the chances on your side when you are recruiting for a penurious position, you have to know how to present your offer in the best possible way. This brings me to the following point:
By definition, an external recruiter doesn’t work for his clients, but in a firm. But you have to know how to defend the company, its culture and its values, better than anyone else. The recruiter is the company’s main ambassador on the job market.
- To succeed in making a candidate want to join a company, you have to try to immerse yourself as much as possible in its culture, find out about the team the candidate could join, about its working methods… And, of course, be as transparent as possible when it comes to remuneration, once again.
- Personally, when I have a candidate on the phone, I always try to break the codes of the formal job interview. I try to create a bond, a certain warmth with the candidate, by being particularly attentive and friendly – without ever becoming familiar, of course.
- For me, this is essential, because a candidate with whom we have created a relationship always keeps us informed. He is a candidate who will think of contacting us when he is back in the market.
- Needless to say, the candidate experience is paramount today, especially when you are looking to recruit valued candidates. This means, once again, valuing people.
If I had to sum up the essential to-do for any good recruiter, it would be for me:
- Connect with candidates and give them the best possible experience in terms of the recruitment process.
- Give feedback as soon as possible, be transparent about remuneration…
- Having a personalised approach to show the candidate that we have really looked at their profile and what makes them unique.
- Also, be the best possible ambassador for the company, immerse yourself in its culture, the team’s values… And be ready to defend the talent to the client, too! Ambitious tasks in short, but worth all the trouble, because at the end of the day, we feel truly useful. And that’s priceless these days!