Aug. 16, 2012 SVForum Elaine Wherry Recruiter Honeypot

On August 16, 2012 in Palo Alto at SAP, SVForum’s Engineering Leadership SIG hosted Elaine Wherry’s presentation “The Recruiter Honeypot.” Back in 2005, she co-founded Meebo and worked as Meebo’s Chief Experience Officer and Vice President of Product. Needing recruiters to find the best JavaScript experts, she created an online persona named Pete London.

Wherry learned about the dark side of recruiting. Some recruiters are not always honest with you. They may try to poach your people, even imaginary people. Many of them used to work with car rental agencies. Only one recruiter managed to figure out that Pete London did not exist. I was amazed that nobody checked if a Pete London had ever graduated from Stanford. Doing research takes time and time is money.

Wherry also learned about better recruiting strategies. Don’t try to assemble your own team of superheroes. Find an experienced manager who already knows a bunch of people who understand the technology and can work together. More people will follow a manager with proven leadership than a company with stock options.

Don’t try for an exact match. Be flexible and broaden your search. Good people are constantly moving from project to project to learn new skills. The best candidates may not even be looking.

Join professional organizations and networks. Become an active volunteer and you will have the chance to work with potential candidates before you hire them. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for professional networking. Remove boilerplate from your e-mails. Write a personal message by removing the first person “I” and try using the second person “you” to be more direct. Specific facts about the company and position are better than general adjectives. Keep paragraphs to one sentence. Once you develop a conversation thread, follow through to establish a relationship.

The best leaders tell a story that talented people want to be a part of.

Gary Mantalas of Ryzen and Jeff Richardson of Empowered Alliances spoke about their respective companies. Special thanks to Tom Delora, Sam Hahn, and Ron Lichty.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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