Finding, recruiting, and hiring for technical positions can be challenging. Sourcing qualified and engaged candidates takes research, persistence, and an understanding of the roles and skills you’re hiring for.
DevOps engineers, data security analysts, cloud architects, and software programers and developers are among the most highly sought-after tech talent. While there is plenty of demand to hire for these positions, specialists can be harder to find and hire in an extraordinarily competitive recruitment landscape.
Challenges of technical recruiting
In a competitive environment where candidates are often fielding interest from different organizations, it can be difficult to stand out from the competition. Additionally, recruiting tech talent to fill urgent openings can prove to be a lengthier process than average.
The nuances of technical hiring are born out by corresponding time to hire data. According to recent LinkedIn research, the median time to hire for engineering and IT roles is 49 and 44 days, respectively. Software engineering roles have also been identified as the positions with some of the longest interview processes.
Solid recruiting strategies for technical positions will be more important than ever, as companies worldwide face skills and talent gaps for these critical roles. So, how can talent acquisition managers and recruiters find and attract qualified and engaged candidates?
Start with candidate experience
If a streamlined, efficient, and inclusive candidate experience isn’t part of your recruitment strategy, it’s time to head back to the drawing board. From the introduction message to the offer letter, these initial impressions and interactions can influence how a candidate views your organization, whether they are willing to engage with tasks and exercises, and whether they recommend your company to others in their professional network.
Employee review sites like Glassdoor are often the first destination for candidates looking to gain insights on what they can expect from the interview process. According to Stack Overflow, 69% of candidates turn to these sites when researching an organization. A candidate with a bad experience may leave a negative public review, which could influence the perception of other potential candidates.
Optimizing candidate experience
A candidate’s experience can be influenced by many factors. But, generally speaking, talent acquisition specialists should keep their ears to the ground for recurring candidate feedback that may indicate poor processes, lags in communication, or other hiring roadblocks.
Here’s what to consider when optimizing candidate experience.
Transparency and communication
Transparency regarding interview length and process, tasks, and next steps can go a long way. Painting a clear picture of what a candidate can expect builds trust from the very beginning and limits feelings of being ushered along in a neverending interview process.
Making the right hire for a technical position often requires multiple rounds of interviews and assessments. That’s to be expected. One way to show you value a candidate’s time is by identifying areas of the interview processes that can be streamlined.
For example, if a candidate is interviewing with multiple team members or leads, see how many of those interviews can be conducted over the course of a single day. This prevents the candidate from having to take off on multiple days or wait days for feedback in between interviews.
Creating a process to elicit and receive feedback is one way to find out exactly what part of your candidate experience needs improvement. For example, are you noticing that an inordinate amount of candidates keep dropping out after their third interview round? Eliciting feedback can help identify the cause of this roadblock and build a stronger process overall. Even when candidates are successful, getting feedback on their experience can give you the information needed to address shortcomings or areas for improvement.
Sourcing through tech communities and platforms
If you’re camped out in their LinkedIn inbox, chances are that half a dozen other companies are courting them there as well. Exploring other platforms, groups, and sourcing techniques can diversify your candidate pool and lead to a stronger pipeline and deeper bench of prospects.
When it comes to recruiting strategies for technical positions, websites like Stack Overflow and GitHub can be one way to discover talent where they are. Here, you can learn about a prospect’s skill set, availability, side projects, location, and more. Stack Overflow talent, in particular, is one way to build up your employer brand within this community, place ads, and engage with candidates.
Technology-specific communities and Slack groups can also be a great place to find diverse, location-specific, or specialist talent. Great for networking, these groups are often hubs for tech talent to share their experiences, projects, and build connections in their field. Meetups and events are also common in these spaces, offering valuable opportunities to find and grow your network as a technical recruiter.
Reconsidering perks and benefits
Attracting and recruiting top tech talent is not just about tracking down professionals who have the skills you’re looking for. It’s also about putting together a benefits package that meets their needs and enables them to manage stress and grow as professionals.
So, what do people in technical roles want out of workplace benefits and perks? With so many knowledge workers transitioning to long-term remote and distributed working models, ping-pong tables and office craft beer selections are officially out as top perks.
Aside from compensation, one survey found that tech workers prioritized flex work, remote working, and professional development as benefits that would make them choose one opportunity over another.
Giving employees greater autonomy over their work hours has been linked to greater productivity levels and can expand more opportunities to working parents and caregivers.
Health and wellness
Private health and dental care are often desirable benefits. When paired with additional programs like counseling services, wellness allowances, and even paid parental leave, workers have more opportunities to look after their health, maintain a good work-life balance, and actively manage the issues that lead to stress and burnout.
Learning and development
Learning and development remain a top priority as workers race to upskill, refocus their career paths, and move forward in their specialties. For Gen Z and millennial workers, management and leadership training is a top learning and development priority. However, developing skills in engineering and coding are also high-demand areas.
Engagement and retention tend to be higher at companies that offer L&D opportunities, meaning that attracting and retaining top technical talent will involve creating opportunities for growth and professional development.
Compensation is often the leading factor for candidates going after technical roles. Skills shortages and greater competition for talent mean that staying on top of compensation data for the region, roles, and experience level you’re hiring for is critical.
Don’t forget your internal recruitment strategy
HR and recruitment professionals are setting their sights on internal recruitment as a way to address talent shortages, with 73% in one 2020 survey saying that it is becoming more and more important to their company.
Oftentimes, the skills and competencies needed for a specific role can already be found within your organization, either through gained experience or upskilling and reskilling. With any luck, your organization’s learning and development efforts may equip existing employees with the tools they need to transition into and succeed in new internal roles.
Sourcing and recruiting tech talent may be a high priority, but internal mobility of existing talent should be top of mind as well—both as a retention and employee satisfaction strategy.
Adopt a global approach to recruiting tech talent
Top talent isn’t always local and the best hire for a technical role may not be located in what is considered a “traditional” talent hub like Silicon Valley, New York, or Toronto. As more global tech hot spots emerge and the competition for talent intensifies, recruitment professionals are increasingly looking beyond geographical borders and limitations.
Global recruitment as a tool to reach a broader and more diverse talent pool can create opportunities for both employers and candidates. Employers can scale with the help of global employees and contractors and even fill short-term and project-based roles with talent from anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, global knowledge workers can see their career prospects grow without needing to undergo complex and costly relocation efforts.
Want to learn more about recruiting and hiring tech talent? Read our ebook on attracting and retaining top talent.
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