Why S̶o̶f̶t̶w̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶E̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶s̶ Recruiters Quit

Yasar Ahmad
5 min readJul 25, 2021


̶#̶m̶a̶n̶a̶g̶e̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶#̶a̶g̶i̶l̶e̶ #Recruitment #TalentAcquisition

Inspired by Ömer Karahan “Why Software Engineers Quit”, fellow MAT member. P.s this is no way reflected of my own experience. I felt the need to see if I changed the word software engineer to recruiter would this article apply. I think it does!

In the last 10 years, I worked ̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶o̶f̶t̶w̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶ in talent acquisition across different companies. With each team change, I learned more and more about the motivating reasons of a ̶s̶o̶f̶t̶w̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶ talent acquisition partner. ̶T̶h̶e̶ ̶l̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶p̶a̶n̶y̶ ̶I̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶e̶d̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶l̶e̶f̶t̶ ̶r̶e̶c̶e̶n̶t̶l̶y̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶e̶-̶c̶o̶m̶m̶e̶r̶c̶e̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶p̶a̶n̶y̶.̶ ̶E̶v̶e̶n̶ ̶i̶f̶ ̶I̶ ̶e̶n̶j̶o̶y̶e̶d̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶q̶u̶i̶t̶e̶ ̶a̶ ̶l̶o̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶e̶,̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶w̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶s̶o̶n̶s̶ ̶w̶h̶y̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶j̶o̶b̶ ̶d̶e̶m̶o̶t̶i̶v̶a̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶m̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶l̶e̶a̶d̶ ̶f̶i̶n̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶r̶e̶s̶i̶g̶n̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶.̶. In this post, I want to share some reasons why most ̶s̶o̶f̶t̶w̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶s̶ talent acquisition partners quit their jobs.

Unmet Salary Expectations

Of course, salary is one of the main drivers for accepting or rejecting an offer. It is also kind of an appreciation for the skills and the effort of an ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶ recruiter. Meeting the salary expectations is mandatory but it is not sufficient to make them stay. It is also less significant to motivate ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶ on a daily basis. Further, if you reach a certain compensation level it becomes less important. We want to focus here on the aspects besides salary which has a major impact on the motivation of an ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ talent acquisition team.

No Clear Purpose

Before moving on to the other reasons I want to point out the most important factor in an ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶’s talent acquisition partners life. If you are new to ̶s̶o̶f̶t̶w̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ you may only be interested in the ̶c̶o̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ stakeholder part. In a healthy team, the purpose of the team is a ‘must have’. Ask yourself why are you doing this job? Who are your customers? How does your daily work contribute to the overall goals of your company? Try to answer these questions with your ̶p̶r̶o̶d̶u̶c̶t̶ manager and your ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ skip manager. It will not only help to motivate you it will also ensure that you focus also on the right problems and avoid working on things that don’t matter. If ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶s̶ talent acquisition partners can’t connect their daily work with a higher goal, they might quit.

Lack of Involvement

̶P̶r̶o̶d̶u̶c̶t̶ ̶d̶e̶v̶e̶l̶o̶p̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ Talent Acquisition is a long process, starting from the ̶i̶d̶e̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ reach out phase and ending with the ̶r̶e̶l̶e̶a̶s̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ onboarding of the ̶u̶s̶e̶r̶s̶ new employee. ̶M̶o̶s̶t̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶p̶a̶n̶i̶e̶s̶ ̶a̶p̶p̶l̶y̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶m̶e̶t̶h̶o̶d̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶A̶g̶i̶l̶e̶ ̶d̶e̶v̶e̶l̶o̶p̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶o̶n̶l̶y̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶i̶m̶p̶l̶e̶m̶e̶n̶t̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶p̶h̶a̶s̶e̶ ̶w̶h̶i̶c̶h̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶o̶n̶l̶y̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶m̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶c̶e̶s̶s̶.̶ ̶B̶y̶ ̶d̶o̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶m̶i̶s̶s̶ ̶s̶o̶m̶e̶ ̶a̶d̶v̶a̶n̶t̶a̶g̶e̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶A̶g̶i̶l̶e̶ ̶m̶e̶t̶h̶o̶d̶o̶l̶o̶g̶y̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶v̶i̶d̶e̶s̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶t̶e̶a̶m̶ ̶e̶m̶p̶o̶w̶e̶r̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶r̶i̶s̶k̶ ̶m̶i̶t̶i̶g̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶.̶ ̶W̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶t̶e̶a̶m̶ ̶e̶m̶p̶o̶w̶e̶r̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶I̶ ̶m̶e̶a̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶e̶a̶r̶l̶y̶ ̶i̶n̶v̶o̶l̶v̶e̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶i̶n̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶d̶u̶c̶t̶ ̶d̶e̶v̶e̶l̶o̶p̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶l̶i̶f̶e̶c̶y̶c̶l̶e̶ ̶w̶h̶i̶c̶h̶ ̶b̶r̶i̶n̶g̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶o̶l̶l̶o̶w̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶b̶e̶n̶e̶f̶i̶t̶s̶:̶ Most companies apply some standardisation of their recruitment process. Rarely visited yearly and only when the process starts to crack. More forward thinking TA teams are focussing on a more agile approach. Involving their teams early and following more agile methodologies. Empowering their teams. I mean the early involvement of talent acquisition partners into the recruitment lifecycle which will bring the following benefits;

  • More creative ideas
  • Early risk mitigation
  • Raising ownership feeling of ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶s̶ talent acquisition partners

The worst thing you can do is hiring creative people but don’t make use of them. If you treat your ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶s̶ talent acquisition partners like ‘ ̶c̶o̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ recruiting monkeys’ you will not get all the benefits from them. If ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶s̶ talent acquisition partners feel like mercenaries instead of missionaries they might quit.


How free is your team to make their own decisions? Autonomy is rather a scale than a binary measure. It has to do with the trust of the management in the ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ talent acquisition team. It is also wrong to take trust for granted, it has to be gained. If an ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ talent acquisition team delivers results in time ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶b̶u̶i̶l̶d̶s̶ ̶s̶t̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶f̶e̶a̶t̶u̶r̶e̶s̶ the trust of the management in that team will increase. If the management is seeing the competency of the team, they will give more freedom to the team to make their own decisions. This is the normal process.

But some bad managers can not trust their teams even if the team proved that they are capable. In the end, it was also the managers who approved the hiring of the individuals, so why not trust your hiring process?

Lack of trust will move managers to interfere in the decision-making process of the ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ talent acquisition team. If the management interferes too much the team will feel micromanaged. Micromanagement is the opposite of autonomy. It will demotivate an ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ talent acquisition team in the long term. ̶E̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶s̶ Talent acquisition partners are smart people who want to face problems and solve them in a smart way. If decisions are taken from them, they will feel useless and might quit.

Increasing ̶t̶e̶c̶h̶n̶i̶c̶a̶l̶ Process Debt

̶T̶e̶c̶h̶n̶i̶c̶a̶l̶ Process debt belongs to the life of a ̶s̶o̶f̶t̶w̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶ talent acquisition partner. Sometimes you take the debt consciously, sometimes you didn’t know better before. The demotivating part of ̶t̶e̶c̶h̶n̶i̶c̶a̶l̶ process debt is when it starts to really slow you down and you work in an environment that is really unattractive. Slow and unattractive are really subjective feelings. Each team has to decide on their own what is manageable ̶t̶e̶c̶h̶n̶i̶c̶a̶l̶ process debt and when it starts to disrupt the daily life of an ̶e̶n̶g̶i̶n̶e̶e̶r̶ talent acquisition partner.

One of the problems with t̶e̶c̶h̶n̶i̶c̶a̶l̶ process debt is also that it can not be measured in an accurate way which makes it hard to convince your managers to take the time to get rid of that debt. If you find yourself in an environment where you always add new ̶f̶e̶a̶t̶u̶r̶e̶s̶ processes which increase ̶t̶e̶c̶h̶n̶i̶c̶a̶l̶ process debt and it is becoming hell to ̶a̶d̶d̶ ̶a̶ ̶n̶e̶w̶ ̶f̶e̶a̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ do your job, you should do something about it. If your boss doesn’t react then maybe it’s time to quit.




Yasar Ahmad

Vice President of Talent at HelloFresh a passion for Human Shaped Experiences and Diversity & Inclusion. www.yasarahmad.com