3 Tips for Sourcing Engineering Talent


Sourcing and engaging engineering talent in a competitive marketplace is no easy task. The engineers who you’re reaching out to have likely heard the same pitch from a handful of other recruiters, making none of your companies really stand out. But Squarespace, a website management system, approaches the tech playing field differently. And as a result, it has been successful time and time again at attracting top engineering talent.

So, what is this magical thing that enables Squarespace to take its talent acquisition to the next level? We’re glad you asked. The company leverages a handful of unique platforms—platforms that most tech recruiters probably aren’t even thinking about.

In our latest Hiring Hacks webinar, self-proclaimed Technical Recruiter/Sourcer/Level 2 Super Genius Steven Wood of Squarespace introduces us to a handful of hacks that aren’t typically leveraged when it comes to sourcing...but should be. For all you recruiters out there, it’s time to think beyond LinkedIn. There are more innovative ways to source talented engineers, so let’s go outside the box, if you will, and find them!

Here are 3 hacks to implement today so that you can locate stellar engineering talent before your competitors do:

1. Channel Surf on Slack

Slack is an internal messaging tool that propels team collaboration and one-on-one communication. Developers commonly belong to a variety of Slack channels, which essentially are unique groups that users with similar interests belong to. Some channels are open and viewable to the public, whereas other channels are private, meaning you either have to request access or pay to be apart of them.

Use Slack to your advantage. Research and find the most popular (and not-so-popular) developer channels, join them, and follow the conversations. As a start, check out #FrontEndDeveloper, #Nomads, and #Tech404.

Being a part of these groups is a great opportunity to discover new talent, observe whether they exhibit qualities your company is looking for, and make the move to establish a relationship with them.

Helpful Hint: Once you’ve discovered some channels that give you the insight you’re looking for, also take a look at the team directory, which is located on the upper right-hand side. Here you’ll find a user’s photo, title, current company, and email address. From there, Steven recommends connecting with them outside of Slack. (If you try to connect with them through Slack, you could get blocked or blacklisted from the group since you may be perceived as a spammer).

And here’s another useful tip: If you can’t find a user’s email address, try to reverse image search the photo and see whether an email address pop up. Trust us, we’ve seen this work!

2. Explore Goodreads

Programmers like reading books; there’s no question about that! So, why not go straight to the source? Steven takes talent acquisition to an entirely new level when he introduces a fresh sourcing technique: finding candidates through Goodreads.

With Goodreads, recruiters can search popular engineering books like JavaScript: The Good Parts and scroll through their reviews. Many of these reviews are from engineers themselves. Bingo!—Recruiters have a new way of not only finding engineers, but of finding engineers who are revealing their opinions and preferences, their expertise, and even their personality, all there, right on the page, ready for recruiters’ consumption. Here, recruiters can easily see what these engineers are thinking about and what’s important to them. This is a novel way to source engineers—and it's likely they’ll appreciate the time you took to understand them!

Helpful Hint: Once you’ve found an engineer who you think may be a solid fit for your open role, click on their profile to also gain access to their list of friends on the site. This is a great opportunity to obtain additional leads who are probably of high quality, too. Go ahead—send them an email and introduce yourself!

3. Watch Company Video Testimonials

Oftentimes, companies will produce company testimonial videos and publish them on their website. And they will feature their engineers in them as a way to reach a broader audience. The selected employees are those who mesh well with their company’s culture and serve as company advocates. These are exactly the types of talent you want on your team, too.

So, create a list of companies whose culture matches yours. Then, surf these companies’ websites in search of employee testimonial videos. Once you locate and watch them, press pause when employees’ names appear. Now, there you go—you have their name, company, and perhaps their title, too. Look them up and reach out!

All in all, these videos are a great way to find solid engineers that are highly valued at their companies and could be solid assets to your company, too.

Helpful Hint: When you’re seeking out these types of testimonial videos, narrow your search to smaller-sized companies. Why? If a last name isn’t shown in the video, which is sometimes the case, it’ll be easier for you to narrow your search if there’s a smaller employee base to rummage through.

Though these hacks may not get you 100% of your headcount quota, they are resources (and good ones, might we add!) that can help you reach and acquire new talent. So start thinking like an engineer—research, read, engage with others, and start expanding your search on platforms you’re not yet tapping into.

Guess what—we’re not done yet! There are even more engineering talent acquisition hacks for you to learn. Check out our Hiring Hacks webinar “How Squarespace Actively Engages and Sources Engineers” now to hear ‘em all.

Squarespace Actively Engages and Sources Engineers

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Candidate Sourcing