What not to focus on when recruiting international tech talent

recruiting international tech talent

Today we sat down with Martin Kelly, an IT recruiter at HubSpot and picked his brain about working with international candidates and attracting Tech Talent. Martin is an IT recruiter with more than 10 years experience recruiting engineers, product designers and product managers and he shared with us his point of view on what are some of the mistakes IT recruiters do and more.

After working several years as a Technical recruiter, you’re now working for HubSpot in Ireland. What are the main challenges you face when attracting Tech Talent?

9 out of 10 of the world’s top technology companies have their European headquarters here in Ireland and attracting technical talent is a challenge when competing against some of the names we’ve grown up with on the internet. It really helps that HubSpot are building a number of it’s core products here in Dublin though. We’re not just a satellite office. 

You studied Computer Applications, Software Engineering. Does it help you with understanding better what developers are looking for?

Having a technical background helps with building relationships with engineers but I don’t think it’s essential. There are plenty of courses that are aimed at building up recruiters technical knowledge. It does mean that I enjoy going to technical meet-ups though and building long term relationships outside of the people I’m trying to hire. Some of my best friends are people I first met at tech events.

We know you used to live in Sydney, and now you are based in Dublin. How would you compare the Tech scene between Ireland and Australia? Is it comparable?

I think the tech scene in Sydney is made up of more indigenous companies than what we have here in Dublin. We tend to attract companies that have already received some funding and chose Ireland as their base to scale-up. It’s nice to see some Irish founded companies expanding internationally though such as Intercom and Stripe.

Which have been the main mistakes you have seen recruiters or HR people make, throughout your career? Which are the ‘don’ts’ that Tech recruiters should keep in mind?

I’ve been recruiting for 10 years now so I’ve both seen and made a bunch of mistakes. I think the most common one is trying to be all things to all people. Recruiters tend to be empathetic by nature and we want to go out of our way to help. It’s better to pick a niche market and provide a better experience to that smaller community. It also means setting expectations at the start when you can’t help.

From a technical recruiting perspective, we need to get less tied up with buzzwords and checking off lists of technologies. For example, we use Java8 as our back-end language here at HubSpot however some of the best engineers we’ve hired have moved from the Microsoft world and haven’t used Java since university. It’s also ok to not be technical. It’s better to be straight up and say that at the start rather than trying to wing it.

How is it working with international candidates? What are the main concerns candidates have, when it comes to relocating?

Changing jobs is a scary thing for most people. Changing jobs and moving country, even more so. When hiring someone who’s moving from over seas, we need to be feeling confident that it’s the right move for both them and for us. That typically means having a few more conversations during the hiring process to make sure there are no surprises when it comes to moving time. We also offer some financial assistance with people relocating to cover costs and provide a Dublin mentor to answer any questions they have.

For candidates relocating to Ireland, they tend to be mostly concerned about the weather here and how often it rains. It’s honestly not as bad as we make it out to be 🙂

You yourself have relocated a few times. Do you have any suggestions or tips for someone who’s thinking about relocating?

My top tip for someone who’s thinking about relocating is to use your network and find someone who’s done it before. I received some great tips for shipping companies, money transfers and even found my apartment that way. There are also some useful recommendations on the Tech/Life Ireland website.

Many thanks Martin for answering our questions. 

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