Engaging and recruiting tech talent can be demanding. Learn what makes a good tech candidate, the challenge, and our best tips on tech talent hiring.
The recent global pandemic has not only impacted the way we live, interact, and work. It has also been the biggest catalyst for digital transformation in history. Remote work has become a new standard and is unlikely to return to pre-COVID levels. Shops and stores being closed over longer periods of time has also increased online purchases across a wide variety of goods. E-commerce has soared – by 16.5% globally, 21.5% in central and eastern Europe, and 10.3% in Germany. As a result of the increased need and speed for digitalization, organization’s IT budgets and tech investments have been bumped up by unprecedented rates – 29% globally and across sectors.
To turn this budget into results and to drive both digital transformation and growth, highly skilled developers and programmers are key. At the same time, tech talent is scarce and the competition for this talent increases. As a result, attracting and hiring top talent before they are scooped up by the competition is more critical than ever.
The Challenge in Hiring Tech Talent
Depending on where organizations look to hire and deploy these talents, they may be faced with 2 different scenarios:
- Few applicants – due to many factors such as tech talent shortage in the region, little-known employer brand, and location or budget challenges.
- An overabundance of applicants – in markets flush with tech talent (often of varying skill levels), strong brand names or EVPs (think Google, Amazon, or well-known B2C businesses and consumer brands), desirable locations, reputations, deep pockets, et cetera.
However, independent of the scenario, the key success factors in recruiting top tech talent remain the same:
- Use a valid, comprehensive, and rounded set of criteria, to define top talent and evaluate against these
- Increase diversity and reach to increase your potential pool of the best tech talents
- Provide an engaging candidate experience, to keep candidates interested and immersed in your recruitment process
- Automate as much of the process as possible, to remove bias, make better decisions, and to be faster than your competition in making employment offers.
Let’s take a closer look at how to achieve this.
How to Recruit Top Tech Talent
#1—What makes great tech talent for your organization
First on the list of criteria are, of course, hard skills like programming and development skills. They will determine if new staff members can successfully write the programs and code needed to help digitize the business. However, next to this come other factors, such as competencies and soft skills that enable continued success in a more digital world. An example of these criteria could be the following set of competencies:
Also, if you are looking for your tech talent to lead and manage others, leadership potential or the alignment to your organization’s values can be key criteria. It is the right combination of hard and soft skills that will determine success.
#2—How to increase diversity and reach
In order to find the best talent, you will want to ensure the funnel of applicants is as broad as possible, allowing for a wide array of talent to apply that may fit the above criteria for success in your organization. Digital application processes with low entry barriers can help with that. In addition, less focus on formal requirements and “just the right university or educational degrees” will give you more talent to choose from, which can then be evaluated against your key criteria.
#3—How to keep candidates engaged
Improved candidate experience is key in many application processes for a multitude of reasons. You don’t want to lose good candidates due to bad experiences or long and clunky processes, and in many cases, candidates are also potential customers. Hence, a clearly defined, easy to navigate, state of the art, immersive and fast-flowing digital application and selection process that empowers candidates and provides the opportunity for feedback on their performance is key to retain top candidates and potential customers alike.
#4—How automation removes bias and improves speed and decision quality
Once key success criteria, both on hard and soft skills, are defined, assessing against these criteria as quickly, objectively, and validly as possible is the key to success. Using valid tools and processes removes bias and therefore supports fairness, improves the decision quality, and speeds up the process. As an example: Online coding tests are already available to assess a candidate’s ability to demonstrate their ability to write code. Introducing AI that can automatically check for minor syntax errors that prevent the code from compiling correctly will eliminate binary “code compiles/does not compile” results with qualitative evaluation of the code. This in turn leads to reducing false negative ratings and identifying more suitable talents. Furthermore, assessing the organizational fit or leadership potential in a standardized and automated way will improve efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately, also candidate experience – a clear process with clear decision criteria and opportunity for feedback, executed in a timely manner.
The measures above will give an organization a competitive edge when recruiting talents to drive their business success. It is important to note that this will not replace but enhance the human decision-making process – a larger pool of diverse and engaged candidates, shortlisted based on skill and fit, for the hiring manager to make the final recruitment decision based on data about skill and potential on one side, and team, organizational, and even personal fit on the other.
Recruiting tech talent can be challenging, regardless of which situation you are in. And knowing how to identify candidates’ technical skills and compatibility is not an easy task. Therefore, it is important for a company to invest in the right resources and efforts to attract the right pool of candidates.
Rhian is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and Principal Consultant at SHL, specializing in Talent Management. She has been partnering with organizations for over 15 years to help them better understand and leverage their greatest asset, their people. She uses her expertise in leadership development and coaching to realize her passion for connecting people with their purpose, helping individuals find meaning and belonging in their work.