This article is Part 3 in a series of “Real Stories from Real Recruiters.” We check in with several Brightwingers to reveal some important lessons for anyone who’s looking either for talent or for opportunities. This story is from Brightwing’s Mike Gourley, Senior Engineering Recruiter.
Recruiting the Purple Squirrel of Automotive Software Engineering
One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in recent years is in my car. How does this relate to hiring, you ask? Well, today’s cars are no longer mechanical at their core. It’s all electrical, with each system communicating to each other through the car’s computer. This fundamental shift means that the automobile industry is hiring software engineers more often than mechanical engineers.
But the right software engineer talent is as hard to find as a needle in a haystack and as rare as a purple squirrel. For every one candidate that exists, there are as many as fifteen jobs available within a 30-mile radius. That means every candidate is being inundated with calls from recruiters at their house, at their office, and even to their mothers! They see countless emails and LinkedIn messages on a daily basis.
So when I was tasked with recruiting a Senior Embedded Software Engineer for my client, I knew it’d be a difficult hunt. It was an extremely hard-to-find skillset, but incredibly I came across the perfect candidate almost immediately. He had broad experience and deep expertise that would enable the client to move fast on their project.
He was such a good candidate that I wondered why he was even still available at all. How had he been overlooked by other recruiters?
The more I talked to him, the more I came to understand that he had grown a mistrust of recruiters. His previous experiences with recruiters had not been positive, and he felt that he’d been treated as a commodity instead of a human being. Those experiences made him stand-offish and hard to open up.
I wasn’t fazed by his quietness and mistrust. Something told me to keep learning about this candidate and seek to understand what motivated him. I kept asking questions and listened to his responses. As I started to understand his career goals, strengths, and needs, I was able to present him an opportunity that I felt matched all three areas. He was just who our client needed, and when I finally presented the offer of employment to him, he was so thankful and even gifted me a box of chocolates! It was truly rewarding.
More than just rewarding, this experience was real insight into the value of relationship-building. Taking the time to really understand a candidate’s motivations and aspirations is so important in making the right match.