Last week, Caissa was happy to be a part of Talent in Tech, an annual recruitment forum organised by Mindspace. In one of the event’s blocks, "Tech Professionals vs. Recruiters: How Software Engineers experience recruitment in Berlin," our Tech Recruiter Ewelina Kuzmicz spoke to three talented Senior Software Engineers about their experience of being recruited by tech companies in Berlin.
The discussion was inspired by our last year’s survey findings. This year, we are doing the survey again, so feel free to share your experience of getting a job in Berlin here: http://bit.ly/CaissaSurvey2019.
Below is a brief recap of the conversation between Ewelina, the audience and the panel speakers:
What can you tell us about messages you’ve received from recruiters?
→ A lot of messages are generic; they lack essential information and context.
→ Know what the hiring company is makes the first call with a recruiter more meaningful.
→ Marking yourself as “not looking for work” on LinkedIn doesn’t guarantee that you stop getting tons of messages from recruiters.
→ Even when most recruiters’ messages are relevant in terms of technology, they are often irrelevant in terms of location or other things.
What channels do recruiters use to contact you?
→ LinkedIn and email are the two main channels of reaching out to engineers.
→ In some countries, recruiters call your phone number and demand to speak to you about the roles they have.
→ In other countries, Skype used to be massively overused by recruiters.
→ Sometimes, recruiters even contact engineers at their work emails. (And this is outrageous!)
Can you always tell the difference between messages from agency recruiters and messages from in-house recruiters?
→ In Germany, it’s mostly agency recruiters who approach people about jobs.
→ Internal recruiters tend to give more details about the company in the initial message.
→ Agency recruiters often talk about having “a number of new opportunities”.
What kind of message should it be that you reply to it and agree to have that first call?
→ It should give you an idea about the company and what they do.
→ It has to provide details about the role: technologies that are used and expectations from the potential employee.
→ It’s ideal when you have a link to the company’s tech blog, so that you can do your research.
What makes the recruitment process successful in your eyes?
→ The hiring process should not take too long.
→ The steps should logically follow one another.
→ Actionable, honest and timely feedback is essential to a great process.
What feels too little in terms of steps? And what feels too much?
→ 3 to 5 steps are usually OK, as long as they are not an eternity apart.
→ Every stage of the process should serve a purpose and not be redundant.
→ Each step should bring value to the job applicant, not just the company.
→ Necessary steps are: HR interview, tech assignment, office visit, talk with the tech team and managers.
What conclusions can you make from different tech assignments that companies give you?
→ Based on the types of assignments, you learn about who the company is really looking for.
→ Whiteboard interviews are too academical and not usually related to real-life problems. That’s why there is not much to learn from them.
→ You can learn a lot from the feedback you get after completing a tech assignment. If they didn’t approve it just because you didn’t solve the problem their way, it’s not a good sign.
→ You learn a lot about the company’s practicality from what’s in the assignment.
Is it OK for you to solve an actual company’s problem without knowing if they’ll hire you or not?
→ An actual problem both feels relevant and is more interesting than standard/academic challenges.
→ It doesn’t have to be a current problem the company’s trying to solve. It can be the one they have tackled in the past. It will be very interesting if the engineering candidate offers a completely different solution.
How do you know if the company really cares about you?
→ The hiring team sticks to the schedule and process.
→ The screening call takes place from somewhere where you can hear the interviewer well.
→ The recruiter/HR/hiring manager tries to find out more things about you and your experience.
→ The recruiter listens to you and supports you throughout the process.
How important is salary when you decide to accept a job offer?
→ It’s essential that the salary is decent and does not go much below your expectations.
→ Overall, salary is not as important as other factors (e.g. colleagues you can learn from, interesting and challenging tasks, great culture and a smooth hiring process).
Recruiters usually set some expectations for the job. In your experience, were these expectations met?
→ Really good recruiters should not keep job applicants’ expectations too high.
→ Transparent and honest communication with the hiring team is what helps you manage your expectations and keep them realistic.
How important is the “aftercare” from recruiters?
→ It’s good to have a partner relationship with your recruiter and hear from them even after some time in a new position.
→ It helps to have someone you can talk to about your current challenges and doubts, especially if you’ve just relocated from another country.
→ Receiving a welcome card or a fruit basket from the person who helped you get a new job can certainly make your day.
You’ve all walked in candidates’ shoes and now you are all hiring at your companies. How has your candidate experience influenced your recruitment practices?
→ After having been in the candidate’s shoes, you fully understand the importance of giving good and timely feedback.
→ You also realise how hard (and essential) it is to be unbiased towards people.
→ It’s not enough to have strong tech skills. Soft skills are just as important. People should be able to communicate and express themselves.
And stay tuned for more discussions from Caissa! We’re certainly going to talk more about tech professionals’ recruitment journeys in Berlin.
(The first 3 photos used here are taken and kindly provided by the Mindspace Team)