Recruiting is a Team Sport

Recruiting a talent takes planning, constant communication, and solid execution.

After joining Facebook, I am fortunate to get fully involved in recruiting 25+ engineers from bootcamp(What’s Bootcamp?) and mentored 12 bootcampers during the past 5 years.

As we are constantly working on filling the head count, I’d like share my learnings on how to recruit bootcampers more effectively, as a team.

Shift the Mindset

With that passive mindset, we all tend to shy away from the new faces sitting in the team pod. On the contrary, people with a more proactive, or an “ownership” mindset will more likely to engage, do the introduction, or just drop a check-in.

This makes a huge difference on bootcampers’ perceived feeling. “Shying away” from them may seem neutral to team members. However, to bootcampers, it can be interpreted as an unwelcoming signal, sub-consciously.

When I was having 1-on-1s with bootcamper as their mentor, I often hear them saying: “I don’t feel I am clicking with that team, everyone is so quiet”. Yes, being quiet do push bootcampers away, as well as pushing away all the effort that everyone put previously.

So, to foster this shifting, manager may:

  • Discuss with each team member, get aligned on the expectation of the involvement of recruiting
  • Create a system that rewards person who contributes more on recruiting. It could be a gift, or a stimulus reflected on the Preformance

It’s important to remind us when bootcampers select team, they are not only picking EM/project/technology, they are also picking the experience.

Formalize the Process

Collect Leads:

Goal: Get bootcampers whom match our team’s preference engaging with us, as many as possible

Actions:

  1. Craft all the introduction materials about the team, mainly mission and strategy
  2. Compose a convincing story that connects the mission, roadmap and on-going projects. If not everyone, at least TLs should be able to tell it fluently
  3. Setup a doc to track all the bootcampers’ basic info and progress. Ensure we know their background and pronounce their names correctly before talking
Tracking Progress

Engage and Qualify:

Goal: Build a deeper understanding of each bootcamper, including technical capability, career goal and social profile. Cease to move forward for not-the-best-fit ones

Actions:

  1. Encourage every team member, including closely collaborating XFN members, to have a conversation with bootcamper
  2. Assign a task with clear expectation and a dedicated PoC
  3. Invite bootcamper to team meeting and lunch. Pick the time with highest attendance
  4. Constantly update the tracking doc with progress and feedback

Close:

Goal: we believe he/she is a good fit for our team. Do whatever it takes to close him/her

Actions:

  1. Identify bootcamper’s needs and concerns, discuss with team members, and get aligned on the strategy
  2. Curate the narrative of future conversations with bootcamper, focusing on addressing these concerns. E.g.:
  • If a bootcamper concerns about the mentorship and onboarding, go get a senior team member signed up to be his/her mentor
  • If a bootcamper concerns about the impact of the team’s work, we could schedule a meeting between the bootcamper and a senior PM or EM in the org. The recognition and appreciation from a senior leader outweigh the selling from ourselves
  • If a bootcamper concerns about the “reputation” of team’s work-life-balance, we could ask some team members to sincerely talk about their working hours and why they choose to perform in that way. Be transparent but focus on initiative/benefits

3. Create some urgency within the follow-up. Tell bootcampers the final date if the team has multiple candidates at hand. Convey a message that “After engaged with multiple candidates, we believe we are the best fit for both of us and you can make a difference here”

4. NEVER bad mouth other teams. Instead, praise them. Say highly about certain aspect of these teams. This will help building an impression that we know what’s going on outside of our org, as well as enhancing the credibility of ours words. Then, show our edges and ask bootcamper why he/she considering joining with us. Let the bootcamper internalize these concerns and convince him/herself that joining us is a rational and correct decision to make

Ending

It’s not just one more engineer to get the job done. It’s a fresh view of our work, a colleague with another set of skills we can learn/leverage from, and a relationship may impact our life. We can hardly find any other single activities in the workplace which are more rewarding, given the time we actually invest on. With that being said, let us all contribute to it.

TechLead @FaceBook