How I became a Talent Expert

I am an internet/e-commerce enthusiast where scalable/distributed/high availability applications are built and I look for technology/product folks in this industry for whom I believe that I can help find great places to work.

Before I moved to product hiring, I was hiring sales & engagement managers for IT Services companies. I found myself enjoying speaking with engagement managers because they had an interesting job description. They study the current status of business and understand the status of various processes and map them with optimum/best standards that they can apply through their experience which they then combine into an advisory or blueprint for development.

Sales managers on the other hand are focussed on quotas and pushing deals through. In due course I learnt that large services companies like Accenture/CG/Infosys predominantly have engagement managers and very few ‘sales’ managers. I wanted to replicate this idea into the recruitment process. I did not want to become a sales guy trying to compel/gauge a candidate for a possible fitment for the job I have at hand but rather understand what the candidate is good at and what the candidate needs and then map it with the open jobs that I have.

The first problem I faced was ­ How do I gain a candidate’s trust? Given the general perception about recruiters, it was hard to get candidates to open up in the detail required to make an effective match. Over the years I have learnt 2 mantras to implement this:

  1. Always know what relevant questions to ask before you pick up the phone
  2. Persevere till the candidate gives you the information you need (remember I’m just trying to gather his needs and not to sell a job)

I have found that my ratios of number of candidates I have conversations with to the number of candidates I help get new jobs have gotten significantly better since I made the change.

To start moving to being an ‘advisor’, you should start by working on a couple of exciting gigs where you have a lot of information about the roles and company.

Questions that will immediately arise when you start here:

  1. How do I identify “qualified” folks that can be added to my pool?
  2. How do I communicate with an “active” candidate who is looking for job? (Ask right questions/present a prospective job in a structured way)
  3. How do I engage with passive candidates?

I’ll be answering these individually in my coming posts.

There is also great advice available online, here’s a great conversation on Quora that I was a part of:­­are­the­characteristics­of­great­engineering­recruiters/

Raghu Tenneti

About the Author

Raghu Tenneti is an Advisor at TalentExperts. He believes speaking/connecting with candidates is not always about selling a job on hand but rather understanding their needs and helping them find some place that makes them tick. You can reach him at