Yep, it’s a jungle out there. Technology has slithered into every industry going, if you have a message and an audience to get it to technology is fast becoming the most wanted answer. Now that all sounds great. We all live, work and shop via tablets, phones and all that jazz but that means that brands and companies need to get tech savvy like now. And that is a little harder than it sounds...
Not only is it a pretty big ask for all brands and companies to have an all year-round tech team but finding and bagging tech talent is big time competitive. In fact, tech recruitment is becoming a problem area for employers and recruiters alike. One main difference here is tech hiring is a tricky venture, it’s value is often derived by innovation and unique impact on a project-to-project basis rather than a CV packed with fleeting employers and roles. It’s about trends and real-time successes.
This brings up a flurry of questions;
- Should tech recruitment be different from a blanket recruitment approach?
- Should the interview stage be more about active talent showcasing than CV skimming?
- Is ‘impact’ a new sought after skill?
It’s a melon twister for sure. This has left recruiters asking a pretty important question, a question that has less to do with budgets and speed and more to do with trends and talent - How do I become a smart hirer?
Smart means relevant, on-trend and receptive. How do you ID the right talent? How do you put it to the test and find the right folk for the right challenges? How is ‘talent’ redefined? And how does this ‘smart’ hiring differ from usual recruitment practices?
Find the origin, find the talent.
It’s a well-known recruitment staple, be where the talent are. Usually that would be job sites, niche forums, social media etc, but with tech comes a whole new digital kettle of fish.
Finding the best tech talent involves knowing the tech industry. There’s a supply and demand issue here, remember these tech-heads represent a new recruitment trend - they aren’t looking for the job, the employers are looking for them!
- Look at Uni showcases - Get to them early. This is more about sourcing potential rather than a fully-formed skillset. This doesn’t have to be a meet & recruit opp, it can be recruitment networking. Introduce yourself and give graduates a means of keeping in contact. Do your research and get serious about this.
- Scope out open coding challenges (or host your own) - Open coding events are a fairly new favourite. They are all about tech talent, about challenges, applying skills and exercising vision and creativity. Essentially, this is a taster of their capabilities. Attend other open events or even host your own! Set a theme, establish a prize and don’t come on too keen.
- Target through social media - Cold emails and buzzword-chocca reach outs will do nothing. Tech talent know how this social dance works so go in for the slow burner - engage and build a connection. Know what their interests, visions and challenges are then start a conversation, not a proposition.
A new age in recruitment - Smart hiring & the right questions.
Recruitment has been stereotyped for sure. The old pattern of post on a company site, share on social media, populate job boards and Go! is pretty well established. A good recruiter adapts their process to the industry, position or candidate, and tech recruitment demands this to be effective.
Employers are heading up the tech race, they are zooming towards tech talent with force. It’s a process that requires a savvy perspective and an updating of tools. The ‘bait and bite’ approach doesn’t work with tech talent, there needs to be a new way….
Beyond the skills.
Opt for smart over skills.
- Community - There’s a community around every tech discipline. Infiltrating these is tough but if you can earn your place then you can be privy to a wealth of knowledge and top talent in action. Build your company or brand into this community by creating a tech blog alongside your normal company blog - practice what you preach to make the most impact.
- Mailing lists & meet ups - Getting the recruitment word out there needs to well handled. A monthly mailing with news of discipline-focused meet ups is a better approach than cold, lifeless updates.
- Tools - Strategy and relationship maintenance should be your biggest concerns. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work in finding and bagging the best tech talent. Scoping out trends, keeping in the loop and a reputable name in tech is tough. A revamp of your recruitment strategy will serve you well so get that right from the off, introduce ample time for relationship maintenance and research.
Asking the right Qs.
New talent, new questions. There’s a real-time element here that isn’t as applicable to other talent pools. Actively testing skills and approaches with interview-based coding challenges is one thing but getting to the root of a candidate’s passion for tech is more telling.
- ‘What would you do’ vs. ‘What have you done’ - Assessing how talent would approach a future, real life problem is a better judge of suitability than what they’ve done in the past.
- Be sure to include existing tech employees in the search and interview process. They know more than you do and can spot how good a tech-head can fit into the culture of the company.
- Pay attention to hobbies and interests - A CV in an insight, make use of everything on the page. If they like active, problem solving-esque hobbies chances are they are inquisitive and a self-started by nature - the greatest asset to a tech team.
Retaining tech talent.
This might be the hardest job of all. Competition is fierce so keeping good tech talent is a rare talent in itself. These tech-heads are not motivated by money, it’s about developing and testing their limitations so the culture needs to reflect and embrace that.
Offer them a freedom when it comes to their lifestyle. Gift them extra days off for ‘fun’ activities, this gets them off the machines and into a new environment. Find out if they have a hobby they are trying to develop out of work such as mountain biking or learning a language - pay for them to study or practice this. It’s an incentive to stick around and it demonstrates a level of care.
Most tech talent live for their own projects. Don’t be worried that this will take away from their 9-5 work, instead offer them time during work hours to develop a personal tech-based project, welcoming them to use your resources and collaborators. These will service as a great testament to your company culture and will build your tech team’s skills tenfold.
Coders, programmers and developers are a new breed of candidate. Yes they might be looking for a job but they truly look for the challenge. Culture, flexible work-life capabilities and hoards of opportunities are on their ‘must have’ list.
Keep an eye on the bigger prize by nurturing a talent network around yourself, whether company, brand or recruiter, think like tech talent, act like tech talent and you’ll bag tech talent.
These are just my thoughts on ‘The Tech Recruitment Jungle’, but I’d love to hear yours. Just drop me an email here! Nicholas van Esch