Why Tech Hiring is Broken: It’s the Recruiters, Stupid!


Your tech recruiters are killing your company’s chances of hiring All-Star software devs, and they don’t even know it.

Here are 3 reasons why 99% of recruiters are failing companies and teams to find, hire and retain great engineering talent, without them even knowing it.

  1. Chasing Unrealistic Expectations and Seeking Unicorns
  2. Lost in Keywords: Keywords Over Knowledge
  3. The Infinite Game: Filtering Through Mismatched Candidates
Why should you read to what I have to write?

As a software engineer with over 7 years of experience (as of this writing) I have dealt and engaged with over 1000+ (at least) recruiters in all the possible ways when looking to change jobs.

I engaged with both in-house and external recruiters as a hiring decision-maker for my employers and would get stuck with my engineering team for months dealing with recruiters and waiting to receive any suitable candidates from them while wasting weeks screening mismatched applicants. Having worked at start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, I’ve seen it all. In short, I bring a unique 360 degree view on the entire debacle we come to know in tech recruiting today.

That’s why you should read what I’m about to lay out in this blog.

Let’s dive in.

Point #1 – Chasing Unrealistic Expectations and Seeking Unicorns

Recruiters: First Line of Defense or First Point of Failure?

Knowledge is power.

If a Hiring Manager does not get a pushback from a recruiter for their unrealistic candidate expectations, then in the mind of the hiring manager the expectations are realistic since the ‘expert’ did not correct him. Let’s say, HMs trying to save costs and might merge two distinct roles into one. A recruiter with no technical background will not realize that they’re effectively being asked to find, for example, a full-stack developer who’s also a seasoned UI/UX designer — a rare combination. Because the recruiter did not pushback on HMs unrealistic demands, any CV from that point on that does not satisfy those demands will be dismissed, leading to chase a ‘unicorn‘.

As a result, companies risk these consequences:

  • Prolonged hiring processes,
  • Missed opportunities with highly qualified candidates,
  • Tech professionals can be put off by job descriptions that seem disjointed or display a lack of understanding about the role discouraging them to apply,
  • And the perpetual hunt for a non-existent perfect fit, which ultimately hinders their growth and innovation potential.
  • You only get candidates who passed ‘keyword‘ screening test from the recruiter (ie. bad candidates)
Quick Personal Story From Recent Encounter

A Telecommunications company who was looking to hire an SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test) for several months now reached out to us.

At an intake call, HM expected us to find him a senior SDET, who also was very experienced in both frontend and backend development, for a $70k-$85k salary and commute 5 days to office in one of the most expensive cities in the world, New York city. When I told him the truth, which is that they are chasing a pink ‘unicorn‘ and need to lower their expectations, he quickly responded with, “Other recruiting agencies we have spoken to so far have said that they will find us such candidate in less than a month.”

3 months later and the job is still up.

The pattern is all too familiar in the tech industry: overly ambitious requirements, coupled with hollow promises from recruiters, leaving roles unfilled and companies in a constant state of search based on keyword matches over actual knowledge.

Recruiters are killing your company’s chances of hiring All-Star software devs and they don’t even know it.

Point #2 – Lost in Keywords: Keywords Over Knowledge

Keyword Dependent

Recruiters then go on to hunt for that elusive ‘unicorn‘ candidate.

With no actual technical knowledge, how do recruiters sift through and pre-screen to see if the potential candidates are a good fit? They don’t. Which is why recruiters over rely on keywords and buzzwords to do the job for the them that were given to them by the HMs earlier.

As a result, only the CVs that pass the ‘keyword‘ test get forwarded to hiring managers and engineering teams.

Attracting Keyword-Stuffed Resumes

Give it a guess, what kind of candidates stuff their resumes with all the keywords they can?

Type of candidates you wouldn’t want to have on your engineering team. So the Engineering team ends-up wasting their time and filtering out all those unqualified CVs just to get back to the recruiters with, “None of them qualified.”

Cleaning-up after the recruiters and doing the job that they should have done in a perfect world.

Pushing Away Good Candidates

The flip side to this keyword obsession isn’t just about receiving poor-quality resumes.

What about those highly skilled candidates who don’t necessarily fit the mold of keyword-loaded CVs because they craft their resumes to reflect the breadth of their skills, not just buzzwords? Those who skip adding every buzzword or tech jargon on their CVs because they understand the practical aspects of the job. These potential ideal candidates get overlooked merely because their CVs aren’t filled with the ‘right‘ keywords.

It’s a lose-lose situation: companies miss out on top talent, and genuine candidates lose potential opportunities.

Point #3 – The Infinite Game: Filtering Through Mismatched Candidates

Opportunity Costs: What You’re Really Losing

In the rapid world of tech, time equates to more than just money — it represents innovation, growth, and progress.

While tech teams are busy screening and dismissing unsuitable candidates, they’re not building, innovating, or strategizing. Every day a critical role remains vacant, it’s costing the company in terms of salary, overhead, missed opportunities, delayed projects, and overburdening of the current team. The main culprit? Not a lack of available talent, but recruiters’ inefficiency in spotting the right fit.

According to a Limeade research, 40% of employees who left their job cited burnout as the main reason, much of which can be attributed to excessive workloads due to unfilled positions.

The Vicious Cycle of Bad Screening

Let’s get this straight: It’s not just about finding a candidate. It’s about finding the right candidate.

But here’s where things take a turn for the worse: many recruiters, in their desperation to fill a role or meet KPIs, flood hiring managers and teams with candidates who just don’t fit. As discussed earlier, these candidates usually pass the ‘keyword‘ test but fail miserably when it comes to actual skills and compatibility with the team’s culture. The result? Companies end up spending endless hours, often engaging their best engineers to interview and subsequently reject candidates who should never have made the shortlist in the first place. Inefficiencies in the hiring process have a tangible impact on a company’s bottom line. By not filtering out mismatched candidates early on, companies risk enormous, unnecessary costs.

For instance, one report from the CEO of Link Humans, the cost of a bad hire can cost companies upwards of $240,000 in expenses related to hiring, retaining, and eventually parting with the wrong individual.

The Ripple Effect on the Company

Each unfilled role creates a void that often requires existing team members to pick up the slack.

Engineers and developers find themselves overburdened, working longer hours, facing increased stress, and leads to decreased morale and job satisfaction. Over time, if not addressed, this can result in a higher attrition rate, creating even more vacancies and perpetuating the hiring challenge. Apart from all the issues mentioned, eventually it leads to disengagement from your best engineers. And when your best employees are tuning out, it’s a very dangerous place to be in as a company.

For instance, according to Gallup research, actively disengaged employees alone cost the U.S. between $450-$550 billion per year in lost productivity, negatively influence co-workers, and drive customers away.

Conclusion: A Way Out of the Recruiting Quagmire

To sum it up, the extensive time spent on hiring the right candidate and the hours wasted on screening mismatches aren’t just operational inefficiencies.

They represent a strategic failure, a missed opportunity, and a clear sign that the recruitment process is broken. In the competitive world of tech, time is innovation. And it’s high time companies realize that they can’t afford to let it slip through their fingers because of subpar recruiting strategies. Listen, we’ve walked you through the pitfalls, the inefficiencies, and the downright frustrating elements of the recruiting process. At its core, many of these issues stem from the recruiters themselves – their lack of technical understanding, their over-reliance on keywords, and their failure to push back against unrealistic demands. Tech recruiters are killing company’s chances of hiring amazing software devs, and they don’t even know it.

But there’s a silver lining.

Option 1: Let BlueBridge Solutions Light the Way

Having been in the software engineering trenches for combined of 15 years, having felt the pain points from both sides of the hiring equation, and seeing the 360 degree mess of the recruiting world. We didn’t just stand there shaking our heads, though; we did something about it. That’s how BlueBridge Solutions was born.

At BlueBridge Solutions, we’re not just another recruitment agency. We’re the bridge between the technical world and the hiring needs of companies. Our unique experience as software engineers gives us the ability to:

  • Understand exactly the type of engineer your company needs.
  • Craft and refine job descriptions that resonate with genuine talent.
  • Pre-vet and pre-screen applicants so that only the cream of the crop reaches your desk.
  • Allow your engineering teams to focus on what they do best, while we handle the recruiting intricacies.
What makes BlueBridge Solutions different? Let’s break it down:
  • Deep Technical Roots: We’re not just recruiters. We’re software engineers first. We speak the language, understand the nuances, and we decipher what others will miss.
  • Precision-Tailored Matches: We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all. Every company is unique, and so are its needs. We delve deep to understand your company culture, your specific tech requirements, and the dynamics of your teams. This isn’t about just filling a vacancy; it’s about finding someone who’ll thrive and drive innovation within your environment.
  • Efficiency Meets Expertise: We handle the heavy lifting – from crafting resonant job descriptions to meticulous pre-vetting. Say goodbye to those endless piles of mismatched CVs. With us, you get quality, not quantity.
  • The Partnership Ethos: At BlueBridge, you’re not getting an external agency; you’re gaining allies, advocates, and partners. We’re invested in your success. Because when you win, so do we.

To book a call via Calendly link with me (Co-Founder): https://calendly.com/blue-bridge-quick-call/30mins?

For email inquiry: Tommy@bluebridge-way.com

My LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-techrecruiter/

Option 2: Tighten Your In-house Process

Now, if for any reason, partnering with us isn’t on the cards, there are still measures you can implement to enhance your recruitment process:

  • Involve Your Engineers: Getting one or two dedicated devs into the hiring process can make a world of difference. Their technical perspective will counter-balance recruiters’ lack of knowledge.
  • Vet Your External Recruiters: If you’re working with third-party recruiting agencies, do your homework. Check their track record, get references, and ensure they specialize in your industry.
  • Seek Expert Guidance: If you’re aware there are issues in your recruitment process but feel lost about how to address them, reach out to us. We offer complimentary consultation calls, sharing insights and guidance to help you navigate the recruiting maze.

As we reflect on the nuances of the recruiting landscape, we’re reminded of the significant challenges that companies face.

Hours are wasted on unsuitable candidates and the frustrations mount when recruiters don’t understand the tech specifics. But it’s more than just operational hiccups; it’s about fueling your company’s growth. Whether you choose us, the BlueBridge Solutions, or decide to fortify your in-house recruitment methods, always prioritize clarity. In tech, the errors of a flawed recruitment process go far beyond just hiring. It impacts innovation, productivity, and overall company morale.

Because at the end of the day, the right talent isn’t just out there – it’s waiting for the right opportunity to shine.

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