Challenges in recruiting tech talent
Finding and hiring ideal job candidates, especially tech talent candidates, is one of the biggest recruiting challenges today. Recruiters and HR professionals in companies all around the world are struggling with tech recruiting.
According to Indeed’s survey, almost 9 in 10 respondents (86%) said they find it challenging to find and hire technical talent.
Why is it so hard to find and hire tech talent?
The main reason is a global shortage of tech talent.
You’ve heard that there’s a tech talent shortage. But that shortage may be even bigger than you’d expected, according to Monster.
Here are some interesting statistics about the talent shortage in the US and European countries.
Tech talent shortage in the US
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that by 2020 in the US alone there will be over one million computer science-based jobs without qualified college graduates to fill them.
The current tech unemployment rate in the US is already below 2%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For the past nine years, software engineers have been at the top of the hardest to fill jobs in the United States.
Tech talent shortage in the European countries
According to research, only 11% of UK employers are not expecting a shortage of skilled technology professionals over the next 12 months.
There is a tech talent shortage in Nordics, too. Finland, Sweden and Denmark are also coming short of software developers.
The good news about recruiting tech talent
The above tech talent shortage statistics are quite scary.
Luckily, there is an upside to this story! 🙂
Stack Overflow recently published the world’s largest and most comprehensive developer survey - The Global Developer Hiring Landscape 2018. In this survey, they asked more than 100,000 developers from around the world about their job seeking status.
They find out that only 16% of developers are actively looking for a job, but an overwhelming 75% of developers are interested in hearing about new job opportunities! 🙌
How to successfully recruit tech talent?
The majority of tech talent are so-called passive candidates. It means that the best tech candidates aren’t actively looking for a job. They already have a job, so you won’t find them on job boards.
Luckily, there are many effective ways to approach passive candidates.
Here are my best tips for recruiting tech talent that will help you find and attract the top tech candidates!
Tech recruiting tip #1: Understand the tech position you are looking to fill
The first problem for many HR professionals and recruiters is understanding tech positions.
HR professionals and recruiters who don’t have a tech background often struggle with understanding which skills are essential for a specific tech position they are looking to fill.
For example, do you need a back-end, front-end, or full-stack developer? What are the most important skills this developer should have?
As the recruiter, you must know exactly which skills and experience you are looking for in your ideal candidate.
To help you out, we created a cheat sheet of the most important skills for different tech roles. This cheat sheets will help you identify the right skills for tech roles.
Once you’ve defined the most important skills for your open tech position, you need to write a perfect job description. To help you save time, we created more than 100 different Information Technology (IT) job descriptions templates.
Tech recruiting tip #2: Understand tech talent
To be successful in finding, attracting and hiring the best tech talent, you have to understand them. What is your ideal candidate like?
You will find that out in the process of defining your candidate persona.
➡️ For more details about how to create your candidate persona, download our Guide on How to Create a Candidate Persona.
Here is some additional information you might find useful!
According to Stack Overflow’s Global Survey:
- Over 90% of tech talent is male
- About 3/4ths of professional developers are younger than 35
- Almost 90% of developers said they have taught themselves a new language outside of their formal education
- 57% of developers have less than 5 years of professional coding experience.
- Almost 90% of developers check in their code via Git
- Over 90% of developers are employed at least part-time
- Frequent job changes for developers are the norm - about half of developers have taken a new job within the past 2 years.
Tech talent tips #3: Understand what tech talent wants
Now that you’ve outlined your ideal tech talent job candidate, it’s time to dive in deeper. You need to find out what makes tech talent tick!
What drives them? What motivates them the most? What are their wants and needs? And what is a deal breaker for them when it comes to work?
Stack Overflow’s Global Survey offers some great insights into how tech talent assesses the potential new job:
- Overall, tech talent’s top priorities in a new job are the compensation and benefits offered, followed by the specific technologies that they’ll work with.
- When developers are assessing a potential job, they care most about their salary and/or bonuses. They care less about things like fitness benefits and company provided meals.
Tech recruiting tip #4: Learn how to speak in tech talent’s language
If you really want to understand tech talent and build a meaningful relationship with your candidates, you have to learn how to speak their language.
Eric Brown, a Consultant at ThoughtSynth, LLC, sums this up well, saying:
Don’t worry - you don’t need to be an expert at coding to recruit tech talent. However, you do need to know the basics of the programming technologies you’re recruiting for.
If you’re not very familiar with tech language in general, we can help! 🙂
➡️ Check out our Technology Glossary for Human Resource (HR) Professionals written for recruiters and HR managers.
Tech recruiting tip #5: Give tech talent a challenge
Top tech talent candidates like to be challenged. They enjoy opportunities to test and showcase their skills and wit.
Give them a task they are not quite sure if they can solve, and they’ll jump right on it to try!
On their websites, they offer challenges for eager tech talent. Once the tech talent solves the challenge, they have to submit their solutions via email. It is the only way to find out if their solution is correct.
Tech recruiting tip #6: Make the challenge fun
Not only does tech talent want a challenge, they want that challenge to be fun!
According to Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux:
Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program.
So how can you make your challenge fun?
Try adding a bit of mystery with an element of surprise.
One way to do it is by hiding little gems on your website.
For example, take a look at how Masswerk did it.
Another way to present challenges to tech talent is through your product.
For example, Uber is scouting for potential hires through hacking challenges offered to users during their rides. The challenges are appearing in the Uber app under a heading that reads: "Code on the Road".
Tech recruiting tip #7: Look for tech talent in the right places
Since most of the tech talent are passive candidates, they won’t be browsing job boards or visiting your career site looking for job opportunities.
So where can you find tech talent?
You have to look in the right places, such as:
- Tech community websites (for example GitHub and Stack Overflow)
- Tech community forums
- Talent marketplaces
- Local tech community events.
➡️ For more tips and tricks on finding tech talent check out our blog post Quick tips on how to source IT specialists!
Tech recruiting tip #8: Organize events for tech talent
One of the best ways to attract tech talent is organizing interesting tech talent events.
These events are a great opportunity for you to meet your potential candidates and showcase your existing tech talent and your company culture.
On the other hand, these events are very popular among tech talent because they offer a chance for tech talent to meet, connect, learn from each other and have fun!
There are 2 main types of tech talent events:
- Live events
Organize a live event for your local tech talent community. For example, you can organize a meetup on a specific topic that your candidate persona would be interested. You can also hold a coding challenge or a hackathon.
The best place to organize this type of event is your office. By organizing an event in your office, you will save money and give potential candidates a glimpse into your company culture.
Make sure to introduce your existing tech employees and showcase their work! Highlight interesting projects they work on and emphasize exciting new technologies they use.
- Online events
If you want to expand your reach beyond the local tech community, you could also organize a global, online tech talent events, such as webinars for example.
Here is a great example of a Facebook post by Infinum announcing their tech talent event:
Tech recruiting tip #9: Use employee referral programs
Use your existing talented tech employees to help you find other great tech candidates!
With employee referral programs, companies can find great job candidates through recommendations from their current employees.
Note that just asking your employees to recommend great tech candidates probably won’t get you far.
Instead, you should set up a structured employee referral program. Not implementing a structured employee referral programs is one of the main reasons why many employee referral programs fail. You should also consider rewarding your employees for making referrals with innovative employee referral bonuses.
➡️ For more details and tips on how to set up a great employee referral program, check out our Guide for setting up an employee referral program!
Tech recruiting tip #10: Create a tech talent inviting career site
When you succeed at attracting tech talent’s attention, the first thing they’ll do is to google your company and visit your career site.
According to The Talent Board research, your careers page is the #1 place candidates go to research your company.
This is why you have to make sure that your career site presents your company as a great and attractive place to work - especially for tech talent!
How to do that?
The best practice is to create a specialized landing page for tech talent.
Here are 2 best practice examples:
Make sure you also utilize your company’s career blog.
In this blog post, Bebe Peng, Senior Software Engineer at Pivotal New York, walks a reader through a day in her life. This a great way to give interested candidates a sneak peek into how would working at your company look like!
Check it out:
Tech recruiting tip #11: Contact tech talent through their personal email
According to Stack Overflow’s Global Survey, an overwhelming majority (64%) of tech talent prefers to be contacted about a job through their personal email address.
➡️ If you're wondering how to find someone's email address, check out our list of the best email finders! 😉
Also, note contacting tech talent with a message on a social media site is ranked as their least favorite way to be contacted.
Tech recruiting: Key takeaways
Although only 16% of tech talent is actively looking for a job, an overwhelming 75% is interested in hearing about new job opportunities.
They prefer to be contacted through their personal email, with a salary estimate, an explanation why you think they are a great fit for the job you’re offering and specific details about technologies used at the job.
Use your employer brand to reach and attract talent with tech skills. Once you get their attention, you need to get their email address. To achieve that, you can use a variety of different lead generation ideas, such as organizing tech talent events, providing a tech talent challenge or utilizing an employee referral program.
Using these data-backed insights and creative, innovative ideas will help you find attract and hire the best tech talent!
Want more expert tips for recruiting tech talent?
Download our Definite Guide for Recruiting & Hiring Developers!