This week I’ve been soaking up the sites at the world’s most popular interactive media conference, SXSW held each year in Austin, Texas. Before the conference I wrote about how recruiters can recruit at conferences like SXSW. Events and sessions that target a very specific niche audience can be extremely effective in building relationships at conferences even those as large as SXSW where 35,000 people descending upon the conference this year.
While there are a growing number of recruiters and HR presence at the conference, I was still disappointed largely because I uncovered an even bigger disconnect between recruiters and managers. Two of the sessions I attended “Rock Stars to Roadies” and “Talent Wars” discussed the topic of attracting and retaining top talent particularly those of the developer, engineer, and coder variety. Even in cities like Austin, which is no Silicon Valley, the war for high tech talent is waging especially since Apple will be adding an addition 3,000 jobs, mostly of the high tech variety. Companies currently residing in the Austin marketplace are scrambling, bracing, strategizing, and anticipating the increased cost and turnover that will happen at their offices. Austin is effectively becoming the Silicon Valley of the South.
The lack of HR and recruiter presence at either of these sessions was appalling. When asked, panelists felt that recruiters were ineffective at attracting top talent at their organizations and even went so far as to say that unless a recruiter can write code, they can’t be a effective recruiter in the current high demand marketplace. While I understand the developers point of view, I believe they are working with the wrong recruiters.
Another interesting tidbit came from the Talent Wars session where an attendee admitted, he avoids LinkedIn altogether. They are bombarded with emails, phone calls, and messages whether they are qualified or not as recruiters scramble to get the inside scoop on who’s in the market for a job. Sessions attendees and panelists agreed that rock star engineer talent avoids these online tools altogether. In fact most in demand developers purposely fail to include employment information or skills and qualifications so that they may avoid the flood of recruiters who come knocking at their door.
Feelings like these among the tech industry when it comes to recruiters and HR are far too common. While their feelings may be justified for pushy recruiters, the lack of consistency or even understanding of the recruiting, hiring and onboarding process only leads to increased turnover or unlawful hiring practices which I’m positive are happening each and every single day.
Only through interactions – either at conferences like SXSW or by tech recruiters themselves who must make an enormous and obvious effort to change the stereotype – will the disconnect move to discussion where building trust and relationships are a priority. Are you with me?
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers. Photo Credit Blogging4Jobs.