Tips for recruiters

Submitted by Darren Oh on

I get offers almost every day from recruiters looking for Drupal talent. I appreciate sincere offers, but most fail in ways that are obvious to me as a candidate. I used to write a response to every offer, but that took too much time. Now I delete most offers as soon as I receive them. If you are a recruiter, this may baffle you. Why would I ignore your offer if I’m open to work? For recruiters who have been waiting to hear back from me, consider this my response. For recruiters who want to do better, here are some suggestions.

Know your target candidate

An experienced engineer who has been in a position for a long time has no reason to respond to a short term offer at an entry level pay rate. An entry level developer cannot meet requirements for years of experience with multiple versions of Drupal. You have to choose which kind of talent to recruit, or you will not reach anyone.

The most experienced candidates are usually well established in their jobs. If you want to recruit them, you need to understand what it takes for your job to be better than the one they already have. If you want to pay entry level rates, you need to offer candidates a path to obtaining the experience you require.

Blasting out a message with “Urgent” in the title and a long list of requirements shows high expectations, but I can’t imagine how it is supposed to attract either experienced or entry level candidates. Even worse is offering entry level pay but requiring qualifications that only an experienced candidate can meet. I will not be flattered that you think my experience is an exact match for your needs.

Be clear about what you are offering

Most of the offers I see completely fail to say what they are offering. Any decent offer starts with reasonable pay. I no longer respond to offers that do not include a target pay range. Disclosing a pay range does not weaken your negotiating position. You do not automatically have to pay the top of the range just because the candidate knows what it is. You and the candidate negotiate what the candidate will bring to the job to justify the top rate. If what the candidate offers does not justify being paid in the upper part of the pay range, you would pay in the lower part of the range.

If you contract with an agency you will have to pay about US$150 per hour for Drupal work. If you want to contract directly with an experienced developer, expect to pay at least US$80 per hour. If you are recruiting an established developer with a salary of US$150,000 per year with benefits, you need to offer more.

Money is not the only form of compensation that matters. Highlighting other forms of compensation helps your offer to stand out. These could include

  • Time off
  • Working remotely
  • A supportive office culture
  • Work-life balance
  • Time to work on personal projects
  • A clear plan for career advancement

Provide a path for entry level candidates

If the top of your pay range is US$60,000 a year, you need to open the position to entry level candidates. Instead of expecting candidates to show up with qualifications and experience, think about offering a path for them to obtain qualifications and experience. The need may be immediate, but wishing for experienced candidates who will work for entry level pay won’t make them appear. How can you provide a path to experience for entry level candidates?

The best way for a new candidate to obtain experience is to partner with a mentor.

  • The Drupal community has an active mentorship program for new contributors. Some mentors may be willing to work with your candidates.
  • If your company has experienced developers, assign them to mentor new candidates.
  • Work with candidates from a company that provides training, such as DrupalEasy, Debug Academy, or EvolvingWeb.

Other ways you can give new candidates experience:

  • Sponsor them to work on projects for non-profit organizations.
  • Sponsor their contributions to open source projects related to their work.

Artificial intelligence is at a point where it can help developers boost their skills quickly. Providing access to artificial intelligence will help entry level candidates improve their productivity, but they need to know enough to check their work, find documentation, and collaborate with other developers. When access to code has to be protected, developers may not be able to use artificial intelligence.

Understand the role

Most job offers I see are getting better at this. Drupal work encompasses information architecture, site building, and front and back end coding. To get really good, most people have to focus on of these. The mythical full stack expert who does a complex, highly customized project all on his own in a short period of time is usually not available. If you cannot be specific about the type of work, you may not be ready to recruit candidates.

The project matters

It’s not just the work that matters, but what the project is and who it is for. Would I be proud to be working on this project? Do I respect the company? This is where you can really make your offer stand out from the rest.

  • Is the company is a leader in their field?
  • Will the project have a positive impact on my community?
  • Will I be working with colleagues whose past work is widely respected?
  • Is it an opportunity for me to apply my skills in a new field?

The personal touch

If you have done everything I have discussed so far, I am really going to be impressed with your offer. I may even pass it along to my talent network. If that was your goal, you can stop now. But if you want to guarantee that I will not only be impressed but also personally respond to your offer, there is one more thing you can do. Give it the personal touch.

What could make the job personally meaningful to me?

  • Are there people I have worked with before who want to work with me again?
  • Is the work closer to my area of interest than my current job?
  • Does it support a cause I believe in?
  • Is there any existing connection to me or my family?
  • Does the company know about and want to support work I’ve been doing on my own?

If you add the personal touch to a good offer, you will definitely hear back from me, and I will give serious consideration to your offer.

If you need help implementing any of my suggestions for a position you are trying to fill, please contact me and I will do my best to help.