Did you know there are more than 1 million unfilled tech jobs in the U.S.?
That might come as a shock to you, especially considering more teens and young adults are being pushed toward STEM fields to increase their odds of getting hired out of college. How can a field that’s growing so quickly struggle to fill so many vital roles?
The answer is that the changing landscape of tech makes it difficult for both companies and employees to keep up. This puts recruiters in an especially tough position as they’re tasked with finding unicorn candidates who check all the right boxes.
Understanding the challenge of tech recruiting
Recruiting is challenging enough as it is, but there’s something uniquely difficult about tech recruiting. If you’re recruiting in tech for the first time your usual strategies won’t work. You’ll need to adopt a faster timeline, open your mind to more unusual candidates, and more. Let’s dive into some common tech recruiting struggles and how you can overcome them.
1. There aren’t enough qualified candidates
As a recruiter, you’re probably already aware that this is a candidate favored market. The global talent pool is shrinking with record low unemployment rates. There are now fewer candidates with the skills required for technical positions and this gap is even wider if you’re looking to recruit for the tech industry. That means your recruiting strategy will need to change.
The tech industry is already short 1.1 million workers and by 2030 that number could be as large as 4.3 million. Where do you find qualified candidates when the number of skilled workers seeking new jobs keeps shrinking? The answer isn’t orthodox, but it does work.
Stop looking in college classrooms
Tech giant Apple has already taken the first step in sourcing new talent. Instead of insisting on a four-year degree in a related field, Apple announced they are no longer requiring a college education for job applicants. This has opened up the talent pool to self-taught software developers, people who have taken coding boot camps, and more.
That’s not to say that you should ignore candidates with a college degree, but rather stop ignoring those who don’t. When you limit your scope for who can and can’t be qualified, you limit your potential talent pool.
Look for transferable skills
You might be wondering how you’re supposed to judge candidates’ qualifications without a degree and the answer is by looking at their skills. And not just their specific technical skills, you’ll want to look at their transferable skills as well.
Transferable skills are any skills a person has acquired throughout their life, career, or hobbies that can be applied to different situations. As an employer, finding a job candidate that doesn’t fit the exact job spec can actually be a blessing in disguise. These job candidates can be taught on the job skills needed once they start while bringing unique perspectives and viewpoints to your company.
The runway time for teaching a new employee how to use new software is much shorter than you think. It’s time to start thinking of skills as assets rather than requirements. Don’t count someone out because they worked in customer success for twenty years and are looking to make a career change. Instead, see how their unique skill set might benefit your team.
2. Direct competition from larger companies
A few names probably come to mind when you think of tech giants: Google. Facebook. Apple.
While these juggernauts might not be your competition in business, they are direct competitors for global tech talent. Tech employees have the in-demand skills that these big companies are looking for and given the chance to work for a world-renowned company, most candidates will take the chance.
You’ll need a special strategy to out-recruit the likes of Google or Apple. The good news is that there are a few tricks you can use to seal the deal.
Rely on your employee ambassadors
When it comes to recruiting tech talent, your current employees are an untapped resource. Not only do they understand what it takes to be successful at your company, but studies show that 84% of people trust recommendations from friends or family over any other form of marketing. That means there’s a greater chance of success when you encourage your employees to refer people in their network or share jobs on social media.
Looking to up the ante? Offering your employees a bonus for referring potential candidates. These employee referral programs incentivize your staff to help you recruit new talent while filling the recruitment pipeline with fresh candidates.
Many companies take this a step further by using employee referral software to optimize the process. These solutions allow you to track which employees referred candidates, monitor their place in the recruitment pipeline, and post jobs to internal job boards. Streamlining your applicant tracking process will help you find qualified tech candidates faster. All of the perks with less work!
Offer incentives other than money
There’s a lot of money in tech. If you’re just starting out as a company you might not have the budget to throw at candidates the same way a big three tech giant might. Thankfully, studies show that employees are looking for more than just a paycheck. Flexible working hours, growth opportunities, and better work-life balance are among some of the more sought after perks.
Offering competitive pay is still important, but throwing in the option to work remotely or an extra week of paid vacation could sway them to sign with your company. Remember, there’s always something else you can offer a top tier candidate to seal the deal
3. Candidates expect an accelerated hiring timeline
Are you moving fast enough for top tier candidates? Unless your candidate life cycle is two weeks or less, you might be too slow. Research shows that more than 50% of candidates believe the hiring process should take between one and two weeks, while the actual time to hire hovers around 38 days.
That same study shows that 89% of potential candidates drop out of the recruitment process due to a prolonged timeline. Putting candidates on ice or waiting too long in-between communications is an invitation for them to ditch your company.
And don’t make the mistake of assuming you’ll just lose one candidate when websites like Glassdoor allow candidates to talk about their terrible recruiting experiences. An overly complicated or slow recruiting timeline is bad news for your hiring prospects.
Use technology to speed along the process
Your recruitment process is your first chance to impress high-value job candidates. If you’re using an outdated applicant tracking software (ATS) that slows down the recruitment process, there’s a good chance qualified candidates will just give up. Investing in a state of the art system that automates resume screening and manages all recruiting communications will save you and the job candidate time.
If you want to compete with the titans of your industry, ATS is not an option. There’s been a shift in the last decade in HR departments around the world. Applicant tracking software is no longer optional, it’s necessary to stay competitive. Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft and Tesla, use ATS in their recruitment efforts. You need the right software to keep up with companies pulling from the same talent pool.
Eliminate the stuff that doesn’t matter
If you had to eliminate 80% of your recruitment process, what would you keep? It’s a tough question but it’s one you need to consider. Job candidates are tired of jumping through arbitrary hoops in the hopes of catching your attention.
Ask yourself if you really need to subject a candidate to three in-person interviews with four different team leads or if the same thing can be streamlined with a video conferencing tool. Think about whether or not you need someone to fill about a 40-question personality quiz before uploading their resume. Are these checkpoints truly helpful in deciding on a candidate or are they arbitrary roadblocks?
You might think tasks like these weed out candidates who don’t have the drive or the work ethic but you’d be wrong. How you treat your potential candidates is a direct look into how you treat your employees.
Let’s get technical
Despite all we’ve said in this article, there isn’t a right way to recruit tech talent. You’ll need to take the tips mentioned and put your own spin on them. It’s going to take some trial and error but if you stick to it, you’ll be a tech recruiting titan in no time.