Engineering Recruiting: How do you find great engineers?

Recruiting is a huge part of engineering management, on the order of 50% time for growing teams.

I break down recruiting into two main components: leveraging your network and running an effective recruiting pipeline.

A quick look back at our recruiting in 2014/15:

  • 30% hired from 1st degree network (someone a colleague has worked with before)
  • 20% hired from 2nd degree network (friends of friends)
  • 45% hired from recruiting pipeline (sourcing and advertising)
  • 5% hired from acquisitions

Noticeably, our breakdown for 15+ engineering hires is a 50%/50% split between 1st/2nd degree network contacts and our sourcing/advertising pipeline. There are probably some subtleties around filling specialty roles, or management roles, but in general both network and pipeline are essential components to effective recruiting.

Here are some quick tips for each component:

Effective Network Hiring:

  • Be active in the Open Source community and meeting/conference scene
  • Find ways to grow and activate your network, and your team (i.e. “Write down the 5 best people you’ve ever worked with”)
  • Learn how to determine what someone is really great at, their superpower, even in a few minutes

Effective Pipeline hiring

  • Always run a pipeline, even if you’re 80% there with a candidate. If that candidate doesn’t work out, you could be months behind.
  • Use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and understand the funnel-analysis for each stage of the interview
  • Always respond to every candidate. They might not be a fit now, but will be in 2 years. Build your recruiting brand.