Tech positions are some of the most in-demand roles, with 5 million IT jobs expected to be added to the global market by 2027. Filling these jobs, however, is not easy. By some estimates, the average conversion rate from resume shortlisting to offer is a paltry 2-4 percent for tech roles.
The competition for tech talent is immense, and recruiters are having a difficult time getting the right talent in the right chairs. Companies are wasting valuable recruitment resources on ineffective processes, often hiring candidates who end up not being good fits for their roles. In order for tech companies to find quality workers who can thrive in their cultures, they need to rethink how they go about recruiting.
1. Take Advantage of Tech Communities
It’s important to view recruiting the same way that we view sales. They are essentially the same thing, the only difference being recruiters sell a job rather than a product or service.
As sales is a very social field, so too is recruiting. This is especially true for the tech space, a largely community-driven industry where individuals build their personal brands through relationships with other likeminded pros. News of many tech job openings travels by word of mouth, and recruiters in need of tech talent should use this fact to their advantage.
More than in most industries, techies tend to hang out with other tech people online in communities where they can discuss relevant trends, news, and jobs. Recruiters should enmesh themselves as active participants in these communities. That way, they can build networks of tech pros who can be tapped when a job opens. Moreover, even if no one in the recruiter’s network is suited for the job, these tech pros are likely to know other tech pros who could be great matches.
Social media is also key. Recruiters should leverage the usual suspects — Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, etc. — to promote their tech vacancies. Be sure to also advertise jobs on tech-specific sites, such as AngelList, which is specifically for startups and the people who work at them.
2. Involve Existing Tech Employees in the Process
The best way to jump-start your tech recruiting strategy is to get people with actual tech experience involved in the hiring process.
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but many recruiting teams are hamstrung by a lack of relevant technical knowledge. This makes it hard for the team to cultivate trust with tech candidates. It also hampers attempts to convincingly sell the job and evaluate candidates’ potential fits. By getting a tech employee involved, recruiters can gain access to valuable knowledge that can only be earned through direct experience.
It’s not essential to have a tech worker lead the recruiting team, but they should be involved in every stage of the process from start to finish. If for some reason it isn’t feasible to include tech workers on the recruiting team, you should at the very least get tech workers to write the technical questions for the interview process and coach recruiters on how to ask those questions.
When recruiters unfamiliar with the subject matter are responsible for devising and asking technical questions, a lot can get lost in translation, in terms of both framing the question properly and recording the candidate’s answer. As a result, candidates often feel burnt by gotcha questions.
Furthermore, using in-house tech workers to aid in recruiting can drastically reduce your overhead. Experienced tech workers are much more efficient at parsing information about technical candidates than recruiters who have never worked in the field. Given that the recruitment cost of a single position can reach tens of thousands of dollars, a mere five percent improvement in efficiency can save a company a significant amount of money.
3. Skip the ‘Cultural Confetti’
Culture fit often goes overlooked in tech recruiting, which makes sense when you consider how important candidates’ technical skills are in this field. Still, this oversight is a big mistake.
When recruiters do focus on culture, they often misunderstand what tech workers are looking for. For example, recruiters often emphasize “cultural confetti” — things such as ping-pong tables and free snacks. These minor details fail to accurately convey the company’s culture. Candidates want to know about more than simple perks — they want to know about what the company really stands for.
In fact, one in three developers would decline a job offer if the company’s culture did not align with their personal values. In today’s candidate-centric job market, recruiters and employers cannot afford to ignore this fact.
Good recruiters can expose tech talent to the true company culture — and assess possible fit at the same time — by inviting shortlisted candidates to company events and simply hanging out with them. There is no better way to get to know a candidate than to spend meaningful time with them. You can arrange meetups for developers, host a happy hour, invite prospects to a team-building outing — there are numerous ways to give candidates a glimpse of the company culture.
To put it simply, recruitment is tribal. People want to work at places where they feel safe, places where they feel they can thrive.
This is not the talent market of the ’80s and ’90s. Companies can’t expect tech talent to come to them — they have to go out and get it by providing a positive candidate experience.
There’s simply no excuse for your tech positions to remain unfilled when such roles are in high demand. By using modern solutions to solve modern problems, recruiters can break free of the bottlenecks and funnel strong talent straight to their open roles.
Zack Burt is founder of Code For Cash, a recruiting and executive search firm focused exclusively on software engineering