Eric Zhang (CTO at Scalable Press) requested that I write him this article (thanks for the request Eric!).

The tools in this article will help you drop fewer referral candidates and normal candidates; get more applicants for positions for which aren't "open" yet; avoid scheduling hell; and increase your ratio of referrals hires to 40%+ (this is desirable because they are easier to hire).

Open Prospects and Referral Candidates Who Aren't Ready to Apply

An open prospect is someone who has yet to be qualified or disqualified. There are a few kinds of people who are big fans of you and your company, but you probably don't talk to them:

  • Referrals who aren't ready to apply (this is the most important one)
  • People who declined your offer
  • People who applied to be interns years ago (and are now experienced)
  • People from the internet who are amazing, but don't yet know enough about you or who suspect their online application will go into a black whole (as it is with most online applications)
  • People you rejected years ago
  • People from the internet who may or may not be good enough to pass your interviews (yet!)

The idea behind this section is give you some tools to help you start talking to them. We want them to think of you and apply, or educate themselves to the point that they'd pass your interviews.

You can make them feel special and remember you with very little effort by giving all your open prospects access to your CTO…

  1. Email them engineering articles written by your team.
  2. Email them open positions; newly opened positions; and future positions along with your salary ranges. Why include salary for open positions? Because it is valuable to the reader to help them understand their market value. There are many more underpaid but good engineers than you imagine.
  3. Send from your CTO's email

You'll also find this email list useful because right now, each of your referral candidates gets vastly different amounts of information about your company, depending on how much your engineer talks to them. By putting everyone interested in you on this list, you get every candidate to a base level of understanding (and interest) in your company. You'll also get a better feel for your top of funnel.

Tools to Nurture Open Prospects

  • 80% good enough option: Tinyletter.com (free). Since it doesn't do drip emails, you can include links to relevant engineering articles in the confirmation email.
  • Pro option: drip.co. Free for under 100 subscribers. Like Tinyletter, requires permission (a good thing).
  • Pro option: Lever Nurture. Leans towards outreach, but also does nurturing.

Coffee and Scheduling Hell

Every engineer on your team probably gets coffee, lunch, or drinks with people who're interested in working for you. Everyone on your team should have a Calendly.com link (free). Scheduling manually is worse for both your team and your candidate. From a candidate's perspective, scheduling is one of the most low value, time-consuming and annoying parts of the interview process.

Stop Dropping People

Everyone on your team should use a tool that returns emails to their inbox if they don't get a reply. You probably already use an applicant tracking system, but I suspect you still drop candidates.

An email reminder tool will help you avoid the following situations:

  • Candidate expresses interest, but gets dropped by recruiting
  • Engineer refers someone, but they get dropped
  • Referral gets rejected, but engineer never gets told how their referral did (and engineer stops referring people–bad!)
  • Recruiting forgets to reject a candidate, resulting in a bad experience for the candidate

As engineers we tend to be very sensitive about overloading other people's inboxes. This is not the time to be timid about cc'ing the referring engineer on every email. You want to pay the candidate six figures, and you want to pay the referrer their bonus. Archiving an email takes seconds. What's more important?

Tools to Avoid Dropping Candidates

I use Boomerang ($49/year). You may also like Mixmax ($108/year, it does more). On my wish list is a "return every 2 days if no reply" feature. Boomerang has this for more expensive plans. I don't believe Mixmax has this feature (hi Jen & Olof!). If you're too small to use a paid ATS, Streak.com can be a good free option.

You have an SLA for your product, why not for your hiring process?

Offer Letters

Check out Remarq.io ($19-$59/mo). Sending an offer shouldn't mean an exec needs to open Word. Remarq limits the number of unique documents (offers) you can send per month, which might be a problem for you.

Alternatively, Google docs is a good option, as you can insert charts from Google Sheets into into your Google doc. Charts are useful to show growth trajectories and what they mean for the value of the candidate's equity.

Engineering Referrals

Consider Teamable. Teamable prioritizes diverse referrals and helps companies reach 40%+ referral hires. I couldn't find public pricing. If you want a free option, email me and maybe I'll tell you my secrets :)

What tools do you and your engineering team use to make hiring easier? Send me an email :)

Yours,
David
david ått dtrejo.com

PS I've just finished reading Moneyball, which is about how the Oakland A's baseball team bought great players even with very little money. I'll be sending out a book review of it in the next couple days, along with a section on how it applies to engineering hiring (so you can hire better engineers for less).