How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days…

lost loveSorry. Really. You’ve made it this far expecting something entertaining about recruiting and matchmaking, but this isn’t a post about an old Kate Hudson / Matthew McConaughey movie. That’s just to get you thinking. So shift gears from romantic comedy and get ready to play in the wonderful world of technical recruiting. This is “How to lose an engineering candidate in 10 days…”

Losing qualified, scarce engineering candidates is not hard — painful for sure, but not hard. Companies do it every day — and not just the fly-by-night, here-today-gone-tomorrow ones. Not just the “other guys.” Without good training and great technical mentors on your recruiting team, anti-candidate behavior could sneak its way into your organization, too.

PREMIUM RESEARCH: Engineering Staffing Growth Update

With the economy stabilizing and the demand for experienced engineers continuing to increase, one misstep by your recruiting team can cause you thousands of dollars in both placements and follow-on referrals.

So, without the ubiquitous drumroll, following are 10 ways you can lose your qualified, experienced engineering candidates — from the candidate’s perspective:

  1. Have a recruiter call me who knows nothing whatsoever about engineering. It takes more than the ability to pick up a phone to recruit me. I have little patience for people who don’t know what version of a software the project is on or the scope of the technical requirement. At least give your recruiters some basic technical training before unleashing them on me.
  2. Only leave a message. My résumé is out there. I get multiple calls per week, sometimes per day. If I don’t know you, and you just leave a message, you’ll get deleted or ignored. Also, I’m a tech-savvy candidate. Just a voice mail? You have my email and my cell phone. If the position is that great, I want to know about it first, so call me, email me, text me, find me via social media — just find me.
  3. Assume that I’m going to call you back after a single voice mail. Ever. See point 2.
  4. Don’t answer my call (or email or text ) immediately. Calling you back took effort from me, after hours, during my “me” time. If you don’t answer my call or call me back, I will remember.
  5. Give a job description instead of describing a career opportunity. I can get a job from many people. I know you make your money off of my work, and frankly, I’m somewhat skeptical about this whole contracting business. Offer me something I want. Introduce me to the career opportunity.
  6. Refuse to tell me anything about the job in detail. Hey. You reached out to me. Why are you getting all skittish when I ask where the job is located or how much it pays?
  7. Don’t follow up with me after submitting me for an opportunity or after an interview. If I’m valuable enough to recruit initially, why don’t you want to keep me engaged throughout the entire hiring process? Don’t leave me hanging!
  8. Don’t tell me the job was already filled. If I have to call the customer I interviewed with to get the information I need, I will. I can handle the truth. What I won’t handle is silence.
  9. Forget to ask me the right questions. I may have other offers, need to work from home on Fridays, be unwilling to drive more than 10 miles from my house, or be unable to work on Sundays. If you don’t ask, I might not tell you, and you might be wasting your valuable time.
  10. Call me too often. Please, don’t call me every single time you get an open stress analyst position. Two different recruiters from your company have already called me about this same job this week. Who is running your office?

And, as if these 10 aren’t reason enough, I couldn’t resist commenting on my all-time favorite:

BONUS #11: Call my current employer for a reference. And you call yourself a professional engineering recruiter. You’ll never hear from me again.

If you and your recruiting team can avoid these common pitfalls, you will have a fighting chance to win (hire and retain) great engineering candidates.

MORE: Cultivating Client and Consultant Relationships


Leigh Ann Pagnard

Leigh Ann Pagnard
Leigh Ann Pagnard helps companies grow and increase their profitability. As founder and president of Crescendo, she currently serves as a strategic consultant to the staffing industry.

Leigh Ann Pagnard

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