As the pace of technological advancements increases, organizations around the world are recognizing the crucial importance of tech talent recruitment.
With new technology comes more opportunities for businesses to thrive and build successful ventures for the future.
Ensuring you have the right talent to navigate this digital landscape is key to maintaining your competitive edge.
But the technical recruitment process can be fraught with challenges. There are so many nuanced differences between technical and non-technical roles, that businesses need to create an entirely new hiring framework to succeed.
Engineers, data scientists, software developers, and analysts all have individual requirements and recruitment criteria. This resource serves as your guide to understanding and tackling the unique challenges associated with hiring for these specialized roles.
The Technology Landscape Is Rapidly Evolving
Globally, we're seeing a rise in demand for roles that specialize in data science, cybersecurity, and cloud computing, to name a few.
Every state in the country experienced net growth in tech careers over the past year, and new tech hubs are popping up to fill the demand.
We’re seeing roles and job titles that simply did not exist five years ago. CompTIA reports that “Just over 30% of all tech job postings were for occupations related to emerging technologies or for positions that required emerging tech skills.”
As a result, technology hiring managers should keep an eye on emerging technologies and prioritize candidates who possess the necessary skills in these areas, as the industry continues to evolve rapidly.
By staying ahead of the curve and embracing the changing landscape of technology careers, hiring managers can ensure they attract top talent and meet the needs of their organizations in this dynamic and competitive market.
Unique Challenges Of Hiring For Highly Technical Roles
The pace of technological change means the skills required for tech roles are constantly evolving, making it challenging to find qualified candidates with the right skill set.
This difficulty is compounded by a common issue where many recruiters may lack a deep understanding of the technical intricacies of the roles they are hiring for, potentially leading to the misjudgment of an applicant’s suitability.
Adding to these challenges is the highly competitive market condition; the demand for tech talent far outweighs the supply, resulting in intense competition for top-tier candidates.
Let’s look at the unique challenges a technical recruiter might face when trying to fill highly specialized technical roles.
Struggling to Stand Out in a Competitive Market
The current tech landscape faces a supply-demand imbalance, with the demand for skilled professionals far outweighing the available talent pool. This imbalance creates an intensely competitive market for top talent, where organizations must vie against each other for the best candidates.
To stand out in this fierce competition, companies need to offer more than just competitive salaries. They need to showcase opportunities for career advancement, continuous learning, meaningful work, and positive company culture. A strong employer brand that communicates these attributes can make a significant difference in attracting and retaining top-tier tech talent.
In fact, MSH conducted a survey about candidate experience and found that 37 percent of Americans say that feeling valued and respected has the greatest impact on their hiring experience. while 30 percent believe how quickly a company follows up is the most important factor.
Dealing With Less Technical Knowledge Than the Candidate
Understanding the intricate technical details of the role to be filled can be daunting for many hiring managers, especially if they personally don't have a strong tech background. When hiring for technical roles, managers often find themselves in situations where they have less technical expertise than the candidates they are interviewing. This can make it challenging to evaluate the depth of a candidate's technical knowledge effectively.
To mitigate this, hiring managers should consider leveraging the expertise from within their organization. Collaborating with technical team members, or even arranging peer interviews, can help in obtaining a more accurate assessment of a candidate's skills.
Additionally, employing technical assessment tools or platforms can also be valuable to objectively evaluate a candidate's capabilities.
Handling Geographic Constraints and Remote Work Challenges
In the past, one challenge for hiring tech talent was geographic constraints. However, with the shift towards remote work, companies can now tap into a global talent pool. While this presents a fantastic opportunity, it also introduces new challenges. These include managing time zone differences, facilitating effective remote collaboration, ensuring clear communication, and maintaining company culture in a remote environment.
Addressing these challenges requires careful planning, robust systems for remote work, and a commitment to maintaining regular communication and team-building activities.
Dealing with Limited Social Media Engagement From Tech Talent
Compared to other industries, tech professionals may not be as active on traditional social media platforms. Tech roles garner attention from a more reclusive crowd than something like a sales position does. You’re unlikely to find as many engineers and data scientists active on typical social media sites. Instead, they often prefer platforms that cater specifically to their field, like GitHub or Stack Overflow.
This presents a unique challenge to hiring managers who are accustomed to leveraging platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook for recruitment. To overcome this, recruiters should consider expanding their search and engagement efforts to tech-focused platforms.
Outdated Practices To Avoid
Now that you’re beginning to see the unique challenges organizations face when filling out technical roles, what are some of the most outdated recruitment practices that are better left in the past?
Overemphasis on Degrees
While degrees can indicate a baseline level of competency, focusing too heavily on formal qualifications may exclude talented self-taught individuals or those with valuable on-the-job experience. You never want to alienate potential candidates simply because they don’t have a degree.
Relying Solely on Interviews
Traditional interviews may not adequately assess a candidate's practical skills and problem-solving abilities. The same is true for candidates who happen to be great at interviewing, but lack real expertise to get the job done.
Cookie-cutter Job Descriptions
Generic job descriptions may not accurately portray the specific skills and competencies needed for the role, leading to an influx of unsuitable candidates. If your job descriptions are low effort, your applicant pool will be too.
How To More Effectively Source, Recruit, and Hire Tech Talent
If you can’t use the same old job descriptions as other companies, and you can’t rely on degrees or even interviews, then how can you truly gauge the worthiness of a potential hire?
1. Co-create The Job Description
Involving a current employee in the same or similar role in crafting the job description can be a game-changer. Not only does this ensure an accurate reflection of the role's requirements, but it also helps to incorporate the practical nuances that may be missed by HR alone. This approach fosters a sense of inclusivity, allowing the current staff to have a say in who their future colleagues might be.
We recognize this issue and have created a tool to help create specialized job descriptions, free of charge.
2. Implement Realistic Interview Assessments
Adopting practical assessments or problem-solving exercises during the interview process can offer a more accurate understanding of a candidate's capabilities. Simulating real-life situations or challenges that the role may frequently encounter will provide valuable insights into their problem-solving approach, adaptability, and potential for growth. This pragmatic approach can often reveal more about a candidate's suitability than a traditional interview might.
3. Go Beyond Traditional Job Sites
Tech professionals often congregate on platforms that align with their interests and skills. If you want a more organic connection with a potential the talent pool, turn to more tech-focused sites instead of conventional job boards. Good examples include:
Dice: This is a straight-to-the point job board focusing on tech talent only. While not at broad as something like LinkedIn, it is a great resource for finding those hidden gems.
Wellfound: Formerly known as Angellist, the place to find competitive candidates for venture-backed startups, Wellfound now takes a broader approach to consolidating the best IT talent.
DevITJobs: This is another tech-focused job board for finding engineers, SysAdmins, QA, and UI/UX designers. You’ll find a highly concentrated network of US-based talent to fill multiple roles here.
LinkedIn: While not necessarily a strictly tech-focused site, LinkedIn is invaluable for getting a bird’s eye view of the resumes and work histories of multiple candidates at once.
Posting your positions on sites like these also sends a message that your organization is in touch with the community, and is invested in finding the ideal talent for the role.
4. Consider Alternative Hiring Methodologies
Alternative hiring methodologies like hackathons or MVP build challenges can help identify passionate, skilled individuals in a dynamic, real-world context. These methods showcase not only the technical abilities of the candidates but also their teamwork, resilience, and innovative thinking under pressure. Such events can be a great branding opportunity, emphasizing your organization as one that values skills and creativity.
5. Offer Flexible Benefits and Compensation
With tech professionals in high demand, they have considerable bargaining power. Anticipating this and being prepared to negotiate benefits and compensation can set your organization apart. Consider offering non-traditional perks like remote working, flexible hours, continuous learning opportunities, or even wellness programs. These signal that you value work-life balance and employee well-being, factors that are increasingly important to today's workforce.
6. Maintain a Talent Pool
Maintaining contact with potential candidates even when there aren't current openings can provide significant long-term benefits. It helps cultivate relationships and keeps your organization fresh in the minds of these professionals. When a role does become available, you then have a pool of qualified individuals who are already familiar with your organization, making the recruitment process smoother and quicker.
The dynamic nature of the work landscape requires ongoing adaptation of sourcing, recruiting, and retention strategies. Embracing innovative approaches and avoiding stagnation is paramount in this highly competitive market for technical talent.
Ready to level up your organization by improving your technical role talent acquisition process?
Schedule a call with our team at MSH and discover how our expertise can aid in efficiently sourcing, recruiting, and retaining the technical talent your organization needs to thrive in today's digital landscape.