Thu Aug 03 2023

How to Hire for Tech Roles in a Tight Market

Maryam Khurram
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To stay competitive, companies are in a constant race to hire skilled tech workers, with demand for software engineering, data management, platform design, analytics-based automation, customer experience design, and cybersecurity growing rapidly.

Unfortunately, many global senior executives report needing to prepare to address the digital skills shortage, exacerbated by the pandemic's effects on remote work and e-commerce. This is incredibly challenging for non-tech companies.

However, recent research from MGI and McKinsey's People & Organizational Performance Practice suggests that companies may be able to hire based on potential rather than a perfect match.

The research demonstrates how work experience adds value to human capital over time and quantifies the skill differences associated with specific job changes.

Moreover, the data shows that many people successfully transition into tech from other fields, with significant changes in skills and specialization.

This article will delve into some of the most effective strategies for hiring tech professionals and insights from industry leaders.

Effective Strategies for Cultivating Tech Talent

Effective Strategies for Cultivating Tech Talent

Companies not digital natives routinely find themselves outbid for tech talent or bypassed by highly experienced candidates.

That indicates that they need a fundamentally different approach to hiring, retaining, and enabling the talent they need—one that moves away from insisting on narrow specialization and takes a broader view of the potential within people.

1. Look Within Your Organization for Potential Job Switches

Many organizations categorize employees based on their current job roles and overlook their potential to switch to other organizational roles.

Studies have shown that a large percentage of role changes involve employees leaving their current employer for a new one, even though individuals who want to reinvent themselves may be able to do so within the organization.

While organizations often pay a premium for external talent, it is important to assess the capabilities of existing employees before looking for external candidates.

Creating internal mobility opportunities that allow employees to gain new skills and experience can help keep them motivated and prevent attrition.

In addition, employers should consider offering lateral moves with more specialized tech roles to help employees broaden their experience.

The June 2021 Gallup survey revealed that 61% of U.S. workers consider the opportunity to learn new skills an important factor in their decision to stay at their current job.

Organizations should invest in learning and development opportunities for proven employees who know the business and have growth potential.

While it may be tempting to let competent employees continue in their current roles, helping them gain new experience and skills can benefit both the employee and the organization.

Internal mobility can also help organizations identify untapped potential and prevent the need for external hiring.

2. Plan Ahead

Getting rid of your skills gap takes time, and you must stay positive and motivated. A well-designed plan, complete with clear steps and deadlines, will help you maintain focus and keep track of your progress. A SMART goal can be useful for career planning, especially if you are new to the process.

SMART goals Image Source: Indeed Career Guide

3. Be Bold in Your Hiring Decisions to Find Tech Talent

Although tech talent can come from various backgrounds, many employers are still cautious when it comes to hiring. However, caution can be self-defeating, considering the rapid pace of technological advancements and the high mobility of tech workers.

To select the best candidates, employers need to assess candidates based on their potential to succeed in new roles, not just their past experiences.

Employers should evaluate candidates' transferable skills, intrinsic capabilities, and potential to succeed in new roles, not just their current responsibilities.

Technical skills can be taught, so employers should look for candidates with the relevant mindset and soft skills required for the job.

Digital tools, such as gamified pre-employment testing, can aid this process. Analyzing candidate profiles against performance outcomes can also help refine hiring criteria over time.

Employers can broaden their talent pool by removing strict college degree requirements and considering mid-career workers wanting to change their career trajectory or taking time off for caregiving or sabbaticals.

Data has shown that many workers who transitioned into tech occupations did not have college degrees. Additionally, more than half of the workers in a data set who started in other fields and ended up in tech roles made bold moves later in their careers.

Employers need to have confidence in making bolder hiring decisions and assess candidates based on their potential and not just their past experiences.

By looking beyond traditional requirements and considering candidates with transferable skills, intrinsic capabilities, and relevant soft skills, organizations can tap into broader talent pools and identify candidates with untapped potential for success in tech roles.

4. Provide Interesting and Stimulating Work

Providing interesting and stimulating work is essential for keeping I.T. workers motivated and engaged. When employees are given a chance to work on challenging and meaningful projects, they are more likely to be invested in their work and committed to the organization's success.

Moreover, providing stimulating work can help attract top talent and retain experienced employees.

One way to ensure that I.T. workers are given engaging and challenging tasks is to avoid assigning a single employee to take on all new work.

By dividing tasks across multiple workers, CIOs can provide opportunities for employees to build their careers and gain valuable experience. This can also prevent burnout and ensure that workloads are distributed fairly.

It's important to note that providing interesting and stimulating work is not just about keeping employees happy - it's also a key factor in driving business success.

Employees engaged in their work are more productive, creative, and likely to go above and beyond to achieve organizational goals.

Moreover, in today's fast-paced and competitive business environment, organizations that can attract and retain top I.T. talent will have a significant advantage in driving innovation and staying ahead of the competition.

5. Enhance the Employee Experience

Enhancing the employee experience is crucial for attracting and retaining top I.T. talent. Focus on creating a positive workplace culture that empowers team members to do their best. A supportive environment is key, with approachable managers who offer guidance when needed.

Flexibility is also essential, with remote work options, flexible schedules, and the ability to take time off as needed. This is especially important in the post-pandemic world, where employees have become accustomed to the freedom of working from home.

In addition, building diverse and inclusive teams is essential for creating a welcoming workplace culture. Prioritize hiring employees from diverse backgrounds and create an environment where everyone feels included and valued.

Clear communication around worker performance and evaluation is another important aspect of enhancing the employee experience. Employees need to know what is expected of them and how their work will be evaluated. This helps to ensure that they can stay on track and feel that they are making progress in their careers.

Finally, public recognition and rewards can go a long way in making employees feel valued and appreciated. You should celebrate your team members' successes and offer rewards such as bonuses or promotions to show that they are valued team members.

6. Retain by Training

The mobility of tech workers means employers must offer employees more than just a paycheck to retain them. One of the most critical factors is the opportunity to learn, and companies that invest in employee training and development can improve productivity, innovation, and retention rates.

Learning can take various forms, such as structured in-person courses or digital content modules, but hands-on experience and coaching are invaluable. Frontline and middle managers must possess both teaching and learning skills.

Even companies that are still catching up with digital transformation can utilize technology training resources, such as outside classes, boot camps, or online courses.

Employers who encourage lifelong learning for all employees are the most sought-after. Bridging digital skill gaps is an ongoing process, and even high-level experts must continuously learn and adapt to the ever-changing tech industry.

Allowing all employees to access training programs, especially those looking to reinvent themselves is a smart tactic to engage and retain talent while staying competitive.

7. Ensure Internal Mobility and Growth

Internal mobility and growth opportunities are essential for I.T. workers to feel engaged and motivated. By providing these opportunities, you can retain their top performers and build a strong workforce with deep expertise in various technologies.

Cross-training programs are an effective way to develop employee skills while building a strong team. By providing training in different areas of I.T., workers can become more versatile and take on new challenges.

Lateral moves are another way to promote internal mobility, as they allow employees to move into different roles within the company. This approach can keep workers engaged and motivated while preventing them from stagnating in their current roles.

Formal career development programs are also crucial for attracting and retaining I.T. talent. These programs can be designed to meet employees' unique needs and provide a clear path for growth within the company.

For example, a company might offer a mentorship program where junior employees are paired with senior mentors who provide guidance and support as they navigate their career paths.

You can also partner with boot camps and training centers to develop a wider talent pool. These programs can effectively provide employees with the latest skills and knowledge, ensuring that they remain competitive in the job market.

Recruiting for Technology Jobs: 14 Experts Reveal Their Best Hiring Strategies

Best hiring strategies

The field of software development and programming is increasingly popular as more individuals enter the market through both traditional college programs and coding boot camps.

However, due to the high demand for tech specialists, finding qualified candidates has become challenging.

The tech talent shortage in the United States is significant, with nearly 1 million open I.T. positions available.

To fill these positions, recruiters and hiring managers must go above and beyond to attract and persuade potential candidates and be prepared to invest more time in the recruitment process.

According to a recent iCIMS report, the average time to fill a tech position is around 70 days, which is quite a lengthy period.

To reduce the hiring window, recruiters must devise innovative strategies to recruit and retain top tech talent. In this regard, top recruiters, CEOs, and hiring managers have shared valuable insights on the recruitment process for hard-to-fill tech roles.

"Though helpful, it is not about whether the person was from MIT, Harvard, or Google. The first thing to look out for is a fit. The values of the company and the candidate must align. It is also important to note that companies at different stages (seed, series A, or series B) will have different hiring needs, so consider that too! When sourcing candidates, go beyond your own network. Go global! Lastly, talk to three to five experts in your field to seek advice on what to look out for in a tech talent that best suits your needs."

Desmond Lim

CEO and Co-founder


"In order to hire the best talent, companies need to first take the time to invest in their in-house recruitment teams. It seems simple, but it's a strategic, long-term investment. Recruiters don't go to a university to become a recruiter, they often fall into this role, and they learn on the job. There are a number of core competencies that a recruiter needs to be successful. A recruiter needs to be a brand ambassador for your company, a pipeline (sourcing) expert by understanding how to leverage different types of technologies and software, and to be a business consultant for their hiring managers. A recruiter will understand their industry market conditions and what type of talent is available in those markets. We like to think that people will come for the opportunity at Sprinklr and stay for investment in their learning. We hope tech talent - and every employee - knows that they'll learn and grow professionally and personally when they come to Sprinklr."

Celia Harper-Guerra

Global Vice President of Talent Acquisition


“My tip for recruiting tech talent would be the same for recruiting any other type of talent: Hone in on who you are and what you can offer. Be transparent about the role, the team, and your company. Whether it’s stories from current employees, a clear set of projects they can build, or transparent compensation targets, give people the tools they need to decide if your company is the right place for them.”

Erika Klics

Recruiting Lead


"This is the hottest tech job market we have ever seen, and it's not enough these days to provide competitive compensation. Companies have to woo talent by finding ways to stand out from each other by offering the three things all employees look for impact, development, and being valued for who they are. Potential employees are looking for meaningful work where they can feel their impact on the overall company mission, and career trajectory is also a huge factor. At Zerto, we focus not just on the job you can have now but also on what your career can look like three, five, or ten years from now, with a focus on individual development. Lastly, people want to be valued and treated with respect. At Zerto, we are continuously working on ensuring everyone is aligned with our company values and feels that their teammates are too."

Sofia Kaufman

Chief People Officer


"The number one gap I observe in the market between candidates and employers is the hiring timeline! In an age where strong engineers are on and off the market in literally days, the antiquated system of 3-step interviews over 2 weeks will hurt the hiring process TREMENDOUSLY. The ideal employer has the process nailed down to 1 or 2 steps (one being virtual), and a process implemented so they can make a decision on the decline or offer the same day."

Chris Menendez

Lead I.T. Recruiter

Hays PLC

“Recruiting tech talent in today's market is hard. There is no way around it. My biggest advice is to actually build relationships. I think recruiters, in today's market, try to make a quick dollar and never actually build relationships. The moment you realize that slowing down your business and taking a person to lunch/coffee with actually make you more money in the long run than giving that same person a quick call….you will absolutely transform your business. Always have the mindset of 'people over money.”

Taylor Desseyn

Sr. Recruiter Advocate


"For us, it's about simple tried-and-true methods of staying organized and putting in the time. Tracking the recruiting project is key; I suggest creating a matrix of important and essential qualifications for the position, which you can cross-reference with candidates who have responded to your outreach. Many searches evolve during the process, so being able to easily review past candidates in light of new parameters makes it easy to recognize qualified candidates and reduces the odds of great candidates falling through the cracks."

Henry Goldbeck


Goldbeck Recruiting

"Recruiting tech talent is about finding the right mixture of technical skill and culture fit. Neither can be sacrificed for the other — you really need both. We use a pilot project that brings candidates into the office for a day or two. This is not a mock test, this is a real project that can have a real impact on customers, and it's paid too. It's like dating before you move in together, and it's worked perfectly for us!"

Marc Boscher

Founder & CEO


"Know your market. Understand how it has changed, how it is changing today, and the direction it is heading. Know who the biggest teams are working with the tech and the smallest teams are working with the tech. What are the challenges facing this position across the industry? Most importantly, understand the growth in that tech space and be able to speak on how your role offers candidates a chance to be part of that growth. This will allow you to bring deeper value into your conversations with tech talent and be a trusted partner in their search for a new career move."

Harry Witzke

Co-Founder & Head of Recruitment

Find Talent

"Most companies focus on hiring superstars for their teams, causing them to overlook high-potential candidates. At Leaseweb, we not only want to hire superstars but also colleagues who can develop themselves and the company. We focus on nurturing and developing our employees – because by investing in our people, we are building a strong culture and creating countless opportunities for growth. Creating an unforgettable candidate experience for those we hire, but also for those who were not the first choice, also helps to promote the Leaseweb brand further while allowing us to engage with new audiences."

Barbara Poveda

Talent Acquisition Lead


“Recruiting tech talent is no different than recruiting any other type of talent. The key is to know your target audience. As a recruiter, you should take the time to review the candidate you are reaching out to – read their profile, check out any personal projects or websites and try to understand what motivates them. My advice is to just be a real person in your outreach; nothing turns off a developer more than to be called a Ninja or to be sent a mass email. Personalize!”

Kristin Hughes

Director of Recruiting

Odyssey Information Services

Bottom Line

Are you searching for a remarkable team of remote developers who can bring your digital vision to life? Remotebase has got you covered!

As a leading provider of top-tier remote developer teams, we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional results that help your business thrive in the rapidly-evolving digital world.

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Our end-to-end product development services offer everything you need to transform your digital aspirations into reality.

But that's not all - our extensive I.T. outsourcing services encompass software development, maintenance, support, and much more.

Whether you need a dedicated engineering team, assistance for a specific project, or ongoing I.T. services, we've got you covered. We strive to help you achieve your goals and stay ahead of the curve.

And the cherry on top? Hiring your ideal engineering team has never been easier. With just a few simple steps, you can outline your requirements, schedule a consultation with our team, and voila! We'll match you with the perfect remote developers to help you build your dream team.

So why delay? Join the tech revolution today and propel your business to the next level with Remotebase!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the skills gap in tech hiring, and how can it be overcome?

The skills gap in tech hiring refers to the mismatch between the skills that employers need and the skills that job seekers possess. It can be overcome by implementing strategies such as upskilling and reskilling current employees, partnering with training programs and universities to develop new talent, and offering competitive compensation and benefits to attract top talent.

What are some common challenges hiring for tech roles in a tight market?

Some common challenges in hiring for tech roles in a tight market include fierce competition for top talent, a shortage of qualified candidates, and high turnover rates due to the demand for specialized skills. Companies may also struggle to keep up with rapidly evolving technology and changing job requirements.

How can a company stand out to attract and retain top tech talent?

To attract and retain top tech talent, a company should provide engaging and challenging work, enhance the employee experience with a supportive and diverse workplace culture, offer internal mobility and growth opportunities, and provide competitive compensation and benefits. Companies can also differentiate themselves by emphasizing their unique selling points, such as a strong company mission or a commitment to innovation.

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