Contributed by Artur Meyster
The tech industry poses unique challenges for hiring managers.
Many companies are not familiar with the exact technology that makes sense for their organization’s business goals. Not surprisingly, many hiring managers aren’t sure what competencies to list on a job description, what questions to ask candidates, or what skills to test during the application process.
Given these weaknesses, management often falls into a trap of hiring based on personality rather than competence. Bad hires can linger for years, sometimes without management even realizing the extent of the loss to their company from making an uninformed hiring decision.
To help you hire more effectively, this guide will lead you through 7 principles for hiring and retaining tech talent at your organization.
1. Define Your Goals
Since you may not be a software developer or a data scientist yourself, you may not know the exact job requirements for the employees you’re hiring. One of the best ways to go about writing job descriptions is to consult with other technical experts who can help outline the role that you should look for.
When consulting, let them know the details of your project, your goals, and the software or tools you already own. For instance, if you are looking for an iOS mobile app developer, you’d want someone who is proficient in Swift or Objective-C, rather than Java.
Once you’ve identified the list of relevant technical skills, you will be able to filter through applications and focus on reviewing the right candidates.
2. Salary Isn’t Everything
This is a huge mistake that many hiring managers make when recruiting tech talent—they only offer a good salary without taking into account other aspects of the job.
Roles in tech are typically compensated well. Online searches easily allow applicants to find the average salaries for their skill level, title, and location.
You can differentiate your company from other employers by sharing your company’s vision, workplace culture, and potential growth. After you make the hire, an employee who connects with your company’s vision and values will be more likely to stay motivated to produce good work for the long term.
3. Work with Specialized Technical Recruiters
It can be frustrating for applicants to read a vague job description written by someone who can’t clearly define the role. Having someone unfamiliar with technology choose the best candidate can also lead to poor selection.
If you don’t have much experience in recruiting individuals to fill tech positions, you might consider hiring a recruiter who specializes in tech. Alternatively, you can upskill your existing HR staff with tech fundamentals.
4. Test Applicants with Real-Life Challenges
It’s good to scrutinize technical resumes to see what kind of experiences and education your applicants have. However, it is also important to test your applicants’ technical skills.
An easy way to approach this is to look up a generic test online. In many cases though, a generic test won’t match the technical or problem-solving skills you’re looking for. The best way to ensure your new hire can succeed in their job role is to formulate a test that mirrors the challenges they’d face in the role they’re applying for.
5. Reduce Hiring Bias With Blind Hiring
Blind hiring can make sure you’re hiring the best candidate for the job without letting any unconscious bias creep into the hiring process. Though it may not be intentional, biases against a candidate’s gender, race, educational level, religion or other identity factors can get in the way of a fair interview.
You can introduce blind hiring into your processes by taking steps to obscure candidate information from the hiring manager. You can do this by using anonymous forms to conduct initial screenings rather than resumes, allowing candidates to input only necessary information. You can also do a screening interview via web chat or email, reducing any biases that could occur in the initial stages of hiring.
By taking steps to work blind hiring into your company, you can ensure you’re hiring the right candidate for your opening and avoid an employee pool that all look, think and act the same way. Your results will thank you for it.
6. Talk to the Tech Community
Tech communities are a great resource for finding talent. People who are passionate about tech can make great candidates themselves, or they can refer people who will make excellent candidates.
7. Partner with Coding Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps are great resources for fresh talent. This is largely because bootcamps already have a great filtering system:
- Students usually have some tech industry experience prior to enrolling in a camp. They often enroll in an effort to increase their knowledge.
- Most bootcamps require students to pass a test or an interview before they can enroll.
- Bootcamp graduates usually leave the camp with targeted, professional grade skills in addition to creative, communication, and problem solving skills.
8. Be Understanding and Flexible
To retain your existing tech talent, you need to understand the importance of their roles. A lot of a business’s success lies in the quality of their developers.
To keep a positive working relationship:
- Provide tech talent with the latest tools. Ask what hardware, software, or ergonomic equipment will make their work easier so that they can work comfortably and efficiently.
- Build a foundation of trust. Allow developers some permission to be creative at work, especially when exploring different solutions and methods.
- Challenge them! Don’t be afraid to challenge your team with big projects. Keep finding opportunities for your team members to continue developing their abilities.
- Recognize and reward developers. When someone hits their goal, make sure to acknowledge it!
Remember that employees who feel ignored or underestimated tend to lose engagement or look for new work opportunities. It’s up to you to earn your employees’ ongoing engagement.
Hiring the right tech talent can result in amazing outcomes for your company — automated processes, efficient tasks, and real business results.
Your business deserves people who are passionate, smart, efficient, and able to connect with the company’s vision. Take the time to find the right people.