by Stephen Zafarino

How to attract the top tech professionals through an improved hiring process

Dec 06, 2018
IT LeadershipStaff Management

Discover five effective strategies to overcome the current tech talent gap and help you attract better tech candidates through your hiring process.

Businessman selecting a group of people.
Credit: Thinkstock

By now, we’re all familiar with the growing tech talent gap. Today, there are over 500 million vacant tech roles in the US, and projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics claim there will be a million more roles in computing than qualified candidates to fill them by 2020.

I know firsthand the hiring challenges managers face when it comes to finding experienced tech candidates in an extremely competitive market. However, most hiring managers don’t recognize the obstacles they have built into their hiring processes and prevent them from attracting the high-end experts they’re after. Consider this your guide on how to improve your hiring process to overcome the industry-wide talent shortage and produce the results you need.

1. Start with your culture

While you might want to jump immediately to how to improve job postings or speed up your hiring process, a core element of your company’s ability to attract in-demand talent rests with your culture. Millennials are the largest generation in today’s workforce, and they will make up 75 percent of the workforce come 2030. Catering your culture to the needs, wants, and values of millennials is no longer optional; it’s required if you want to attract highly sought-after, often passive tech candidates.

Get started by investing more in enhanced training, certification sponsorships, and professional development initiatives that tie-in to this demographic’s desire for professional growth and further skills development. Build out engagement surveys for the millennials at your business to gather their input on topics such as –what their ideal work culture is, and what ideas they have to help make that a reality within your company. Once you’ve put in the work, develop a strategy to showcase your culture throughout the hiring process. Set aside time in interviews to speak to your culture and the benefits and differentiators that make you stand out against other employers. Consider having top candidates sit down with a few members of your team or department so they can ask questions about what the day-to-day work life is like and what current employees enjoy most about the culture.

2. Get flexible

Remote positions, flexible work schedules, and increased work-from-home flexibility are some of the top perks for the millennial workforce. While you may be hesitant to consider a fully remote role or having your team work-from-home on a regular basis, offering these benefits and speaking to them in job descriptions will boost the number of qualified applicants as these perks have become some of the most sought-after employment benefits. Being open to remote talent also expands the talent pool you have available, by eliminating the added challenge of having to find high-end, in-demand talent locally or pay for talent to relocate for the role.

3. Connect with passive talent

The talent gap impacts your hiring process in ways you might not realize. For tech professionals specifically, it means that the most in-demand and qualified candidates are likely passive, meaning they are currently employed and aren’t actively looking for new employment — but it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in the right opportunity. The problem with passive tech talent is reaching them because they won’t be found on any job boards.

To connect with this talent group, you need to go where they are and get more active with your candidate recruiting efforts. Invest in targeted social media marketing, attend tech conferences and events to build connections with in-demand, experienced experts, and implement an employee referral process to make the most of your employees’ connections. These are just a few effective strategies to help you better connect with high-end, passive talent and attract qualified candidates you would’ve otherwise missed out on.

4. Sell, sell, sell

The importance of selling your opportunity throughout the hiring process can’t be overstated. Hiring managers make the mistake of focusing only on whether or not the candidate is the right fit for the role, which can turn interviews into interrogations. In a candidate-driven market the power balance shifts to the candidate’s favor. Employers who fail to recognize this will struggle to attract the high-end talent they need as the most qualified applicants you’re interviewing will likely receive multiple offers and will accept the opportunity they are most excited about.

Instead of peppering applicants with questions in the interview, make it conversational. Discuss the ongoing initiatives of your business and your plans for the future. Speak to what you love most about your business like your culture or innovative product plans. Provide information about how the available role fits into long-term goals of the business and any growth opportunities you envision for it. Speaking to these early-on in the job description is an effective way to sell the role to talent immediately and sets you to have these discussions organically throughout the interview process.

5. Partner with an expert

If you’re still struggling to attract the in-demand, highly qualified tech professionals you need or you’re facing an urgent hiring need, consider partnering with a specialized staffing or recruiting agency. These agencies have spent years building exclusive talent networks, which means they already have relationships with passive talent and can connect you with talent that is otherwise unreachable.

Today, the average time to fill rate sits at 50 days for IT roles, with specialized roles like Data Scientists taking even longer with an average time to fill rate of 60 days, according to the latest report from Workable. If you can’t afford the productivity losses and other costs associated with the average length of today’s hiring process, then the urgency and benefits provided by partnering with an external agency could be the solution to your tech hiring needs.