Recruiting for any position can be tricky – but technical recruiting brings its own unique challenges.
Embedded recruiting for technical positions can help a startup or growth-stage company create a foundational interview process for scaling while attracting the right software engineers, data scientists, product managers and other technical candidates.
What is technical recruiting?
Technical recruiting is the process of sourcing, screening, and selecting candidates for technical roles, including software engineers, developers, data scientists, data engineers, product managers, product designers, and other related positions.
Challenges of technical recruiting
Technical recruiting can be particularly challenging for several reasons:
There is a widespread shortage of candidates for technical roles, from software developers, to engineers, to cybersecurity specialists. This shortage has resulted in an increase in competition for qualified candidates among hiring companies, driving salaries higher and extending the time it takes to fill an open position.
Only 16% of developers are actively looking for a new job, but 60% are interested in hearing about new opportunities. Accessing the best candidates means tapping into this resource, and reaching the people that are not actively looking at job boards and applying to jobs. This requires talented recruiting specialists and a well-designed recruiting process.
It can be just as difficult to hire a top-quality technical recruiter as it is to hire top technology talent. This is because a technical recruiter must excel in several different areas to be effective: communication, organization, creativity and time management – all the aspects of a great recruiter – with the added complexity of technical comprehension, so they are able to speak knowledgeably about technology with the people they are interviewing, and to evaluate technical candidates accurately.
Improving technical recruiting
If your company is currently experiencing difficulty recruiting top technical talent, there are a few areas that can be explored to improve time to hire, offer acceptance rate and quality of candidates – the big three measures of success in technical recruiting.
Review the descriptions for all open technology positions, and make sure that the qualifications and requirements are up to date and specific. Analyze job descriptions and determine which skills are essential and which are ‘nice to have’, also which are necessary for a candidate to have from day one, and which can be added through training and development. This will help clarify the picture of the ideal candidate, against which real-life candidates can be measured.
Job postings should be reviewed to make sure that the qualifications are accurate, and also to ensure that postings are unbiased, to promote diversity and inclusion. For technology positions, it can also be helpful to include information about the company’s tech stack: a highly-qualified technology candidate may be intrigued (or put off) by certain elements of the tech stack. Even if the reaction is negative, it’s better to know that from the start than discover it after hours have been invested in interviews and evaluation processes.
Advancements in recruitment technology can help to improve the initial candidate evaluation process, to reduce the time it takes to evaluate resumes and applications and improve the overall quality of candidates that make it to the interview stage. This technology includes applicant tracking systems (ATS), sourcing tools and assessment or testing platforms which can be used to review resumes, screen candidates, help facilitate and track interview tests, and automate communications to candidates to keep them informed and engaged throughout the process.
A top technical recruiter has a combination of recruiting skills, interpersonal and organizational skills, and technology skills. While many recruiters have some of these skills, there are usually areas where one aspect or another can be strengthened and improved. There are many courses and trainings available to improve recruiting and interpersonal skills: but finding the right technical training course may be challenging. Look for one that is targeted to recruiters: specifically to improve recruiter assessment of technical candidates, rather than a course designed to provide people with actual technical skills.
Creating a strong employer brand is a great way to get top candidates, by making your workplace attractive to your ideal candidates. This involves two steps: one, understanding what appeals to the candidates you want to attract and two, building an employer brand that incorporates these elements.
For instance, are the candidates you want to attract more influenced by corporate social responsibility, compensation, or flexible work schedules? Do they value teamwork over independence? A mission-driven organization, or one with more concrete financial goals? Figure out what your audience is looking for.
Then, ensure that your employer brand emphasizes those things that are most important to potential candidates. Employer brand can be communicated through job postings, through your website and marketing materials, and through your social media posts and interactions.
Read our blog post: 7 Top Tips for Hiring Managers
Many businesses that are looking to improve recruiting partner with an agency for additional support. This is especially true in technical recruiting, where an agency can bring both the recruiting and technology skills to help improve results. However, a traditional agency has several shortcomings: they are not dedicated to a single client, but instead serve multiple clients at once – possibly including your competitors. Tech recruiting agencies are not aligned with their client goals: their objective is to work with multiple clients to place a candidate and get a commission, which can lead to less than optimal matches and can actually create competition for clients.
The challenges associated with staffing agencies led us to develop our embedded recruiting model – where recruiters are placed at a client’s company and embedded into their HR team, for total alignment with their culture and their goals. Embedded recruiting is an ideal solution for tech startups and growth-stage companies that need to scale their recruiting processes for fast results and engage top technical talent.