I've received at least a half-dozen requests for help finding people in the last week. So it's certainly time to think about ways to find candidates. (I have a whole chapter on sourcing strategy and examples in Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds).
In the meantime, if you just want to consider technical societies, consider these:
- For developers, try local chapters of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) or IEEE. Here in the Boston area, the GBCACM (Greater Boston Chapter of the ACM) holds 3 days of training in the spring and another 3 days in the fall, along with a variety of meetings. The Boston section of IEEE has a bazillion SIGs (Special Interest Groups), and monthly meetings on almost anything you can think about that's a technical field.
- For process, QA, test, and metrics people, try your local (or relatively local) Software Process Improvement Network (SPIN). The SEI has some resources for getting SPINs started. But once the SPINs start up, they take on the local flavor of the community, and especially the program chair. (I was program chair for Boston SPIN for a few years, and I definitely tilted the program towards more pragmatic approaches to process improvement.) I've spoken at a number of SPINs across the country. Some have more orientation towards process, some have more for testing, some are much more interested in metrics.
- For project managers, try the local chapter of the PMI (Project Management Institute). I've spoken at a number of PMI chapters, so they're not all PMBOK-by-the-book 🙂
- For testers, try the SPIN meetings, possibly some IEEE meetings (depending on the topic), ASQ (American Society for Quality) and QAI (Quality Assurance Institute).
- For writers, try the Society of Technical Communications.
- For support staff people (especially senior staff and managers), try local chapters of the Help Desk Institute
- For specific tools, look for user groups. For example, if you're looking for a configuration management person, (build or release engineer), consider the user group for the tool you're using.
When you network at a local chapter, remember that you'll have more success if you attend a meeting rather than just send/email a position description. And you'll have more success if you attend meetings on a regular basis, rather than just when you need candidates. The more frequently you attend meetings, the more people will remember you and the more likely you are to have other people suggest you as a possible employer.If I've forgotten your favorite technical society, please comment and/or send me email. I'll add it to the list.