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The Coders Connect Project

The Coders Connect project was personal, a good friend admired my career in recruitment and wanted to start a venture. He has a physics background and is a serial entrepreneur, having sold start-ups in Florida and London.

Up until September 2019 my role was as an advisor, after Coders Connect won it's first Embedded Talent Solution (RPO) contract, I was responsible for discovery and implementation of talent team and strategy. I was then involved in multiple pitches for further onsite embedded talent solutions. From January 2020 I went full-time with Coders Connect to help drive Coders Connect international.

Building a start up talent attraction business has been a fascinating project, I was able to draw upon my previous in-house and agency experiences. This is a blog of my research, approach, findings, conclusions and reflections of these experiences - hopefully if you are thinking about doing something similar it proves helpful.

IMHO the modern recruiter is fast becoming, if not already the recruitment marketeer. Understanding your market space has never been more important, with my background it made sense that Coders Connect target audience would be tech talent for start-ups.

With a network very London focused and a growing number of tech firms considering distributed teams (remote), one of Coders Connect key strategies was to expand it's global candidate network. Coders Connect then identified numerous key tech hubs (cities) across the globe and grew its networks. Today Coders Connect operates in 14 cities and growing, our approach was to grow a candidate network of software engineers before going to market. We initially started with contingency hires vs our embedded talent solution, but over time we've interviewed and hired interim onsite local recruiters for RPO projects.

Building any start-up you need to effectively utilize your team, there is so much to do!!! Working smart was a key attribute, we spent countless hours researching and trialing platforms and tools. If you haven't tried this, this is gold - email drip campaigns. One of my biggest regrets over my career was the hard work and effort into sourcing candidates, taking time to customize reach outs and then hardly ever following up for the sheer lack of time. We decided on Trinsly this app supercharges your sourcing outreaches and majorly increases your response rates, in a way that doesn't look like its comes from a CRM. Few things to consider when using a tool like Trinsly, use the filters in the subject line this will help you bypass spam filters with unique subject lines for each email. Give your follow up reach outs some real thought, so personality and put yourself in your audience shoes - all your hard work can go to waste with thoughtless dull reach outs. This tool is powerful in so many ways for us recruiters, business development reach outs campaign responses were incredible as well.

Over my time sourcing tech talent (software engineers mostly) you tend to discover cool hacks, Octohunt has been a great way to bypass the need to manually input usernames on Github's API to obtain email addresses. However I led the Coders Connect team towards the research of web scrapping and profile aggregation platforms. There are dozens of options available on the market but we opted to trial Amazing Hiring and Hiretual. Both tools are superb for sourcing tech folk and obtaining public facing emails. Best finding here is as superb as these tools are they do not substitute the Recruiter, there is no silver bullet - sorry if I am breaking hearts here!

ROI has been incredible so far with a team of eight, these tools cost approximately £2k per month - sound investment as far as I am concerned. Few conclusions; Hire Right! OMG please hire right, my nativity was definitely exposed. Hiring the first ten recruiters can make or break you, we tried several approaches - onsite, remote, freelance, permanent, junior, experienced - here's my thoughts aptitude over skill - cliché I know but never a truer cliché. There is only so much you can teach, the rest comes from the resilience and dedication us recruiter rehearse on a daily basis - Hoorah!

Another cool things we did was a re-brand, v1 on our website was a DIY job and wow it sucked, it was alright for a DIY effort but the re-brand was so much better! The whole experience was an education. We worked with a specialist recruitment web design agency, Highrise Digital the entire process help us articulate and consolidate our MVP, principles and values.

Working with distributed teams requires healthy communication channels, Slack was a great tool, Whereby was a useful tool for video call and screen sharing sessions - both have free versions. Final bit of advice is avoid digital banks (at the moment) we along with 3 to 4 thousand other customers had a few hairy moments when our bank account with 90% of our revenue frozen for tech issue with the digital bank, until their is more stability avoid the temptation for modern banking and go traditional for now.

Effectively, I have helped a good friend setup and grow a well run tech talent business making a bit of a name for themselves. The business is profitable and still has great potential, this project gave me the lab environment I have always craved, it's given me so much autonomy to test some of my ideas. Future projects include a dedicated Slack community, a dedicated hiring platform and so many more crazy ideas that includes a tender board for outsource technology firms to offer services instead of hiring individual candidates to start-ups but there I go again running before I can walk, look thanks so much for the visit and read, have a wonderful blessed day!

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