Tech Recruiting: How to Attract Top Tech Talent To Your Company
Attracting and retaining top talent is a hiring challenge. Unemployment rates in the US and parts of Europe are at record lows, and talented candidates are beginning to understand that the power is in their hands. This phenomenon is most pronounced in industries where there’s a growing skills shortage, like the tech field.
In this context, companies can no longer assume that advertising a high salary will get them the best applicants. Businesses have to give proper care and attention to their recruiting if they want to attract the top talent. Especially in tech, getting the best talent is essential if you want your firm to scale.
What, then, makes for modern and effective tech recruiting? Read on, and you’ll find out everything you need to know to snare top tech professionals—from how to position your firm to what you must offer candidates. This guide covers it all.
What is Tech Talent?
Tech Talent is a phrase used to describe the highly sought-after workforce with the skills to drive growth and innovation at technology companies. This could include a wide variety of roles including IT professionals, computer science professionals, software developers, engineers, data scientists, and many more emerging positions.
The Challenge of Tech Recruiting
Why are people needed in the technology industry? When the need for highly specialized labor combines with rapid evolution and growth—like in the tech industry—the skilled professionals who can fill those roles naturally experience high demand. In fact, 2018 research by Korn Ferry estimates that the labor skills shortage in the tech sector could reach as high as 4.3 million workers in 2030.
That’s over four million fewer skilled tech workers than firms in the industry will need to employ. It’s a classic example of demand outstripping supply, and while 2030 is still a decade away, tech firms are already feeling the pinch. This has resulted in a situation where companies are competing for the best workers by offering more perks and higher salaries.
Companies need to convince a choosier talent pool to pick their firm over their competitors. That means making the roles they’re offering—and their businesses as a whole—irresistible to tech professionals by developing the best growth strategy.
How to Attract Top Tech Talent
In the following sections, we’ll go over nine top tips for attracting tech talent. They include advice about the recruiting process and ways to make your firm seem irresistible to candidates. Here’s a quick summary of what we’ll cover:
- Investing in technology
- Establishing your presence in the tech scene
- Designing a smart and modern recruitment strategy
- Involving your current team in the recruitment process
- Understanding the value of prospective employees
- Not being limited by geographical borders
- Tailoring work schedules & compensation packages to individuals
- Offering interesting career paths
- Thinking of your marketing as part of the recruitment process
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Invest in Technology
As well as being highly skilled, top tech professionals have something else in common: They’re usually passionate and knowledgeable about technology. You might not be able to afford the latest cutting-edge equipment, but if your company isn’t offering at least the same level of tech your candidates are using at home, you can expect to suffer.
Tech candidates look critically at the technology your company uses for multiple reasons. Those reasons range from pure self-interest to more philosophical and practical beliefs about how companies use technology.
To start, for someone who is passionate about technology, working with the best gear is enjoyable and exciting, and an organization often has the purchasing power to buy the gear they can’t afford to use at home. There’s also security in the knowledge that using what’s current to the industry means their skills are staying current. And finally, there are bragging rights involved—nobody wants to feel inferior to their industry peers and tech-savvy friends.
Those are far from the only reasons. Tech workers also know, for example, how outdated technology harms productivity and morale, often from personal experience. They tend to view technology as a value statement the company is making about its employees—almost as a form of additional compensation.
And last, but perhaps most importantly, they think that a tech firm should be invested in current technology because that’s what a good tech firm should do on principle. Like a car manufacturer providing its own vehicles as company cars, investing in technology is a way of saying you stand behind not only your own products, but the industry as a whole.
It stands to reason that investing in technology for your firm is key to your tech recruiting strategy. If you’re going to hire the best people, give them what they need to perform at their best. And make sure your tech is current from the first touches: That means fully embracing things like video interviews and mobile hiring tools that show your company is fully up to speed, and having rock-solid confidence in your applicant tracking system so the hiring experience is smooth and seamless from application to offer letter.
Establish Your Presence in the Tech Scene
There are many cities and areas around the world with thriving tech scenes, where both tech companies and top tech talent congregate. These areas also tend to have an ongoing calendar of conferences, workshops, and social events—events that people who are passionate about all things tech will regularly attend.
If you want to be attractive to tech pros as a prospective employer, you need to establish a presence in the scene, regardless of if you’re looking to hire straight away. That’s because when the time to hire does arrive, you want your target talent pool to immediately think of your firm as a company as an active participant doing interesting work in the tech sector.
There are a few ways to start establishing this kind of presence. Most events will always be grateful for a corporate sponsor that can provide them with the funds necessary to sustain the event. Becoming a sponsor can get your name attached to an event and into the minds of attendees.
If you want to be even more proactive, you could think about staging events. Doing so gives you more control over how prominently you display your name at and around the occasion. It does require more significant effort and expense.
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If neither of those are within your budget, that’s OK; simply showing up is worthwhile. Networking face to face creates an emotional connection to your organization, not only for prospective candidates, but for those in your industry who might recommend your company as a great place to work.
Design a Smart & Modern Recruitment Strategy
There are lots of options as to how to modernize your strategy. Cutting-edge HR software can help with things like applicant tracking. It can also aid your onboarding process and ensure that any new employees get up to speed straight away.
At the core, however, a modern recruiting strategy is a data-driven one. As in many areas, algorithms have started to change the face of HR. They’re able to process and assess vast swathes of data to aid in the hiring process. They can draw data from many different sources, including CVs, application responses, and public information on individual candidates.
By processing all of that data, algorithms can help you get a more well-rounded picture of each candidate—of their strengths, weaknesses, and suitability for the role. That’s precisely what you need when you’re looking to fill a high-level and demanding vacancy in the tech field.
How you assess and test applicants for positions also needs to be smart and modern. Interviews are essential, but a whiteboarding process just doesn’t cut it. Instead, you should think about running a pre-employment assessment designed for the specific role you’re seeking to fill. You can find ATS-compatible assessment applications for practically any tech skill or skillset, or you may even wish to look into specialist tech recruiters to handle the process for you.
Involve Your Current Team in the Recruitment Process
The tech talent you already have at your firm is an invaluable recruiting resource. Too often, business decision-makers fail to utilize the expertise they already have, moving forward with recruitment without considering how they will fit into the team and the demands of the job. This can create redundancy or leave needs unfilled, not to mention the risk to team culture.
Your specialist tech staff will be far better equipped to draw up an accurate job spec. They have a good understanding of the practical elements of the role, and they understand the specific skills and abilities you should look for when hiring. You might not tap them to create the full job description—that’s a task HR should undertake—but you should absolutely tap into their knowledge of tech to ensure your job ads are accurate and have the right tone.
It just makes sense to make use of the knowledge and expertise already at your disposal. What’s more, involving your wider team allows you to benefit from the wisdom of crowds. Decisions are proven to be more accurate and successful when reached by consensus.
Understand the Value of Prospective Employees
Hiring top tech talent is about more than just offering high salaries; that’s been the whole point of this guide so far. What that doesn’t mean, though, is that you can offer low pay and expect to hire the best people.
Before you start recruiting for any role, make sure you know the market value of people in that role. The above map from Business.org shows the highest average tech salaries in certain cities. You need to understand what the going rate is for the top professionals in those jobs. That way, you can ensure that you offer candidates a competitive amount.
Top tech pros don’t necessarily view the salary they’re offered as the be-all and end-all; they take plenty of other things into account when choosing where to work. If you aren’t in a position to compete with other firms in terms of wages, you should look at other ways to attract top talent. For instance, you might change just whom it is you target to fill your tech roles.
Lots of firms like to hire straight out of universities as a way to keep costs down. Hiring new graduates allows you to offer a lower initial salary, as you’re giving inexperienced candidates a valuable introduction to the industry. It also requires attending career fairs and building relationships with institutions, and it means your new hires won’t have the benefit of experience.
To get the experience you need to round out your tech team, you might seek out people at a later stage of their careers. Top tech pros in their 40s or may be more interested in their work-life balance than in pulling down an impressive paycheck, and you can appeal to them by offering them greater flexibility in their role. The exact types of things to think about in this regard are covered in more detail later.
Don’t Be Limited By Geographical Borders
Don’t forget that the best candidate for a particular role doesn’t have to be based in the same city as your headquarters. One of the benefits of technology is that it allows for jobs to be done in an array of different ways, including fully remotely. If you want the very best talent, don’t be limited by geographical borders.
Throw your recruiting net wider, and you may be able to land an even better employee—and possibly at a much better price. What’s more, there’s a school of thought that remote working is more efficient. That’s not to say it’s true, but there are certainly benefits a company can get from remote workers.
Allowing employees to ditch those daily commutes can make them more productive. That, in turn, can help your firm’s productivity and aid your bottom line.
Tailor Work Schedules & Compensation Packages to Individuals
When professionals can be more selective about where they work, they think about lots of things besides pay. For many people, the chance to maintain a better work-life balance is an important factor. Offering work schedules tailored to individual needs and wants can make a lower salary or limited benefits package less of a deterrent to prospective employees.
If you can embrace the idea that the ‘standard’ working week is going extinct, then flexibility is a means of attracting talent. Offering schedules that cater to a candidate’s life needs—whether through flex scheduling or remote working on a permanent or part-time basis—shows them how much you trust their abilities and dedication.
Design a compensation plan that helps your company attract and retain top talent.
Compensation packages are another thing you should tailor wherever you can. You might set yourself apart from your rivals by offering free childcare to a new parent, or by allowing time off for continued education and training for younger employees seeking to bolster their skillsets. The key is to understand what’s important to each individual, not the entire organization, and to leave room in your budget to allow that kind of flexibility.
Offer Interesting Career Paths
Traditional, linear career paths are becoming a thing of the past. Across all industries and talent levels, workers no longer stay in any one job for as long as they used to. Most US workers will have a high number of different jobs in their lifetime.
Non-linear career paths are more common for high-skilled jobs in the tech industry, in part because top tech talent is often more excited about new challenges than traditional promotions. They jump from project to project and firm to firm because it keeps work interesting—and it’s also a proven way to secure a significant pay increase.
What you need to do is try to retain your top employees by creating that excitement and variety internally. Give your top talent the opportunity to vary their roles and the projects they work on, and make more eccentric career paths available within your organization. That way, you can help satisfy their natural wanderlust. On the other hand, don’t forget to review their pay structure against their skillset—no matter how exciting the work, a competing firm can still poach your best employees with a fat signing bonus and a top-tier salary.
Think of Your Marketing as Part of Recruiting
The main aim of your marketing is to attract new customers or clients and to build up the profile and positive view of your brand. But it’s also worth considering how your marketing relates to recruitment.
Popular, higher-profile brands automatically get more interest than competitors when they start a hiring initiative. By advertising your business in the local area, you can create a higher profile that will attract more applicants out of your local talent pool.
You could also consider a more public approach to recruitment. Advertising in the community that you’re hiring shows you’re interested in supporting the local economy, and may well get you some goodwill from competitors who also want to attract more talent to the area.
Tip-Top Tech Talent to Take Your Business Forward
The tech field is an ever-changing and evolving one. For your firm to stay ahead of the curve, you need to employ top tech talent. There aren’t as many high-skilled candidates for each top position as there used to be, which means the best tech pros can be more selective about where they work.
That makes your tech recruiting even more critical. To attract the best candidates, you need to find them before your rivals do and convince them that you’re the firm they want to work for. Doing so takes more than just offering the most money—it takes a holistic approach that includes multiple forms of compensation as well as culture and recruiting practices.
A smart and modern recruitment process should be your starting point. You can then supplement that by positioning your firm as a name within the local tech scene. From there, you need to offer flexible and individual working schedules and compensation packages. That’s the way to make your organization irresistible to top tech talent.
About the Author
Sam O’Brien is the Senior Website Optimisation & User Experience Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a global VOIP systems provider. Sam has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams.