A Practical Guide for Non-Techies to Hire Tech Talent in China
Hands-on tips for tech recruitment especially when you are in China.
After being involved in the tech industry and tech community for several years, I often get inquiries from friends and clients about tech recruitment. How do I reach high-quality developers? Which tech events should I attend? Where do I promote my job ads? How do I evaluate their technical skills if I don’t code myself?
Working with a bunch of nerds everyday, I realized that if you’re a non-engineer trying to communicate with engineers, it can be tricky. In this article, I’ll sum up a few tips I found practical and useful in tech recruitment.
1. Develop your employer brand
Senior level software developers have reported getting contacted 10 to 15 times a week by recruiters regarding new job opportunities. To stand out, you need to develop a strong employer brand. You can start by:
Optimizing your career page, making sure your open positions and company culture are well presented.
Contributing to the open source community, here’s how.
In fewer words, sharing your knowledge and contributing to the open source community makes you a cooler employer.
2. A well written job description definitely helps
Clarify the duties and responsibilities associated with the role.
The level of experience needed: junior, senior, expert?
Be careful with wording. Is a qualification really required or optional? Ask a tech professional to check the terms.
Talk like real people: Skim through our job ads, and you’ll find that we constantly use everyday slang like sh*t, boring, duh!, jack-of-all-trades, a**holes. Instead of merely listing frosty requirements that you usually see in most job descriptions, we want to sound like humans, not robots.
A list of the projects they will be working on once hired.
Comprehensive, concise and to the point.
Highlight the benefits: remote work, work from home, flexible working hours, gym reimbursement etc.
Introduce your company culture and team. Recruitment is a mutual selection, tell them more about you.
3. Best channels to promote your job ads
With tech talent in high demand, understanding the networks where engineers congregate is fundamental.
Start by exploring your network, talk to well-connected tech friends.
Relevant WeChat groups (hey, we live here in China) e.g. HackerNews SH, JS Meetup SH, Cocoaheads SH.
Focus on the user experience when you advertise to developers. They are smart, skeptical, and understand the internet well. Be mindful of privacy issues (IP and cookie tracking), page loading time, intrusive sign-up forms, and SSL compliance.
If you are targeting a certain type of engineer (i.e. iOS developer), it would be more efficient to promote on a specific forum rather than a general tech platform.
Developers check and use GitHub almost everyday, try to leverage it.
4. Accelerate your talent pipeline
At Wiredcraft, we use GitHub for pretty much everything, as well as for recruitment. Combining GitHub with a sprinkle of automation and workflow (Zapier) has drastically improved our HR process; the whole team gets involved, transparently contributing to our recruitment effort, taking part in the negotiating process and helping assess the skills of candidates.
Here’s our typical recruitment workflow:
Step 1.1: Use an online form to collect CV and basic personal information.
Step 2: Following either Step 1.1 or 1.2, an issue with the content of the application will be triggered on GitHub.
Step 3: HR tags labels like frontendShanghaiJunior on the GitHub issue.
Step 4: Tech leads get assigned to related applications.
Step 5: Discussion takes place on the GitHub issue.
Step 6: Candidate get assigned to a task after a short video call on Zoom.
Step 7: Candidate updates the task progress on GitHub issue, tech lead reviews and comments.
Step 8: Upon the completion of assignment, tech lead tags to reject or send an offer.
Step 9: The candidate receives an update email from his inbox.
A few thoughts:
You need to know typical salary expectations for particular tech roles, ask your tech friends or Glassdoor.
Don’t forget to check out their GitHub profiles, where you can see their repositories, activities and code. You can also use the advanced search feature to narrow down a few profiles. Here’s an insightful article about how to source the best engineers through GitHub.
Focus more on real work than background. Many developers are self-taught, so a portfolio of past projects could be more revealing than a list of qualifications.
A candidate’s communication skills are as important as his technical skills especially if you have remote work or WFH policy.
5. Tech headhunter? Job fairs?
In general, we try to avoid headhunters. Simply because good recruiters are rare, and bad recruiters can easily damage your company reputation. We also rarely attend job fairs, as we actually organize our own.
By the way, we are hiring. Check out our open positions or come meet us at our Open Day & Night event on January 17th from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
If you have any thoughts or questions about this article, drop me an email at [email protected]