Recruiting for Software Companies: 5 Lessons Learned
I’ve learned a lot helping OpenView’s portfolio companies find the best candidates and build out their teams. Below are five specific lessons that can be put to good use both inside and outside the world of recruiting.
1) Passion is Often Better than Experience
More often than not, people who are passionate will be more even successful than people with more experience/skills. What kind of lesson does that teach us? As an employee, you need to seek about a career or industry you can be passionate about — that’s where you will be most likely to succeed. As a recruiter or hiring manager, don’t be afraid to take a chance on someone a little greener, but who has true drive — that is the type of person who will put in extra time and effort, propose unique ideas, and really make a difference. They will be more effective because they truly care.
2) Trust Your Instincts
A lot of recruiting is trusting your instincts. I have the best BS detector in town, and that’s thanks to my job. Yes, instincts are intuitive, but recruiting can hone them even further. It is a great skill to learn when someone is exaggerating, or even straight up lying. What’s the secret? It mostly comes down to learning how to ask direct questions, follow those up with some direct questions, and then capping those off with a few more direct questions. Sure, it can be awkward, but it’s necessary if you want to get to the bottom of things and uncover some truths.
3) Networking is Critical
Networking — it’s a broad term that’s often overused, both in business and in particular with recruiting. Creating relationships with people, whether for professional or personal means, is something you can really benefit from. You never know when relationships will help in your professional life. Being genuinely open to meeting new people will not only help you develop a broad support system, it will also make you feel more fulfilled.
4) Be Articulate
No one wants to speak with a recruiter who “um’s” and “ah’s” his or her way through a job spec or company description. If that is how you handle calls, you can’t expect the person on the other end to give you much credibility. Being a recruiter has helped me learn how to effectively articulate value propositions of companies and job opportunities, but also how to think on my feet in a professional manner. I don’t know all of the answers in interviews, but I have learned to conduct myself in an eloquent manner no matter what is asked of me. Expressing yourself in the proper way is a great asset for your career and can help you in your personal life, as well.
5) The Grass is Not Always Greener (But You Should Always Take a Gander)
I am a recruiter, and my job is to actually show people the other side of the grass. Believe it or not, not everyone is interested in taking a peek. I’m always surprised when someone isn’t open to hearing about a targeted opportunity that meets his or her career path and qualifications. Sure, there are certainly times during an interview when one or both parties agree the opportunity is not the best fit. However, I can’t tell you how many times candidates accept offers when they previously explained they were “perfectly happy” at their company.
The grass may not in fact always be greener, but how can you not look at it first in order to decide? I always recommend exploring other options (exploring being the key word). Either it will help you confirm you’re in the right current position, or it will help you think about switching things up. Also, let’s not forget Lesson #3 — networking is never a bad thing.
Have you had experience recruiting or being a hiring manager for a software company? What lessons have you learned?