Sourcing effectiveness after 1 year at Riot Games hunting for polyglot senior software engineers

Enrico Heidelberg
3 min readJul 18, 2017

A year ago I was asked to help build a new Engineering team in Dublin focused on features and services around League of Legends. An amazing opportunity, especially since Riot is not looking to just fill seats, but where craft, culture, and competencies are equally important.

Perfect timing to see how my numbers add-up from a software engineering sourcing perspective.

To set expectations up front: I consider myself a “hybrid” recruiter. 50% recruiter, managing the process, closing candidates, selecting, interviewing and the other 50% sourcer, head hunter and searcher.

Sourcing senior Software Engineers

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all Software Engineer position, so let me try to clarify the role and focus. I deliberately kept it clean and easy to not miss out on any potential candidates.

  • Current title:

(“developer” OR “dev” OR “programmer” OR “devops” OR “develop” OR “developing” OR “development” OR “developed” OR “developpeur” OR “design” OR “designer” OR “desinger” OR “architect” OR “analyst” OR “coder” OR “coding” OR “contractor” OR “engineer” OR “engineering” OR “entwickler” OR “expert” OR “eng” OR “enginer” OR “enginner” OR “entwicklerin” OR “ingenieur” OR “guru” OR “ninja” OR “ontwikkelaar” OR “program” OR “programator” OR “programmeur” OR “programmierer” OR “programista” OR “software” OR “softwareentwickler” OR “technical lead” OR “utvikler”)

  • Must have skills:


  • Locations:

EU locations that do not require a work permit for Ireland

As I’m not only searching for craft (skilled engineers), I’m also focusing on any affinity with games or eSports. Note: I would also contact prospects without any apparent gaming affinity.

The numbers

Let me walk you through some high level numbers.

Note: Data from July ’16 — July 17th 2017
Note: Data from July ’16 — July 17th 2017

Of the 497 engineers I contacted, 84% responded with either interest or a pass.

I contacted everyone on their direct email addresses except for the 12 that received an InMail. (of which 8 did not give a response). Besides the response rate, Gmail allows email tracking and it is just far more fun finding direct contact details.

The moment you found those contact details

Tactics in reaching out

Generally speaking, I used the following set-up:

  • 1/3 personal. A TL;DR of the role + Tried to make references to their experience, tech exposure, GitHub repositories, the music they like, that we have some amazing bike trials, their (optional) gaming heart etc
  • 2/3 relatively standard where I explained the type of work, how we deal with technology (e.g. language agnostic), what type of people we’re looking for and the challenge waiting for them.
  • Follow-up max. 3 times.

I deliberately added comments about gaming in the top, mid and bottom section of the mail. Generally, I get 3 type of responses (besides the people ignoring it ;-))

  1. Thanks, not interested.
  2. Interesting, let’s have a chat
  3. Engineers who share their list of games they played, the best game they ever played and usually the number of consoles they’ve owned over the years.

Interview %

14% candidates of all contacted prospects (71 in total) progressed to the interview stage (e.g. interview with me, the hiring manager and/or the next steps of the interview process)

With currently 21 still having the status contacted, 16 still in process and 1 hire, the overall hiring conversion % is a staggering…. 0,24%. The hiring conversion % of our interviews is 1,43%.


There are a lot of different benchmark % out there. I will leave it up to you to judge the numbers. In the next blog I will compare these sourcing numbers with other positions I’m working on.