Tue Oct 17 2023
Founders & Tech Leaders

Why Traditional Hiring Fails in Engineering Recruitment

Maryam Khurram
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Companies face an array of challenges in engineering recruitment, requiring them to invest an immense amount of time, effort, and frustration to find reliable and intelligent recruiting assistance.

Many hiring companies find themselves trapped in a cycle of switching from one recruitment company to another, unable to identify the underlying obstacles preventing them from securing effective staffing assistance.

Consequently, they often ponder the factors impeding the establishment of a cohesive relationship with a dependable sales staffing firm.

Some companies may succumb to disillusionment, assuming that every recruiter is incompetent, while others may obsess over their hiring message, choices, or ability to manage new employees.

However, the reality is that the prevailing approach of the majority of recruiting companies is flawed, illogical, and inefficient, leaving the hiring organization blameless.

Despite this reality, the subpar performance of recruiting firms forces companies to reevaluate their modern engineering recruitment strategies, budgets, and competitiveness in the job market. Often, the key to improvement lies in reevaluating the criteria used to select their recruiting partner.

Let's delve deeper into these challenges and explore potential solutions - plenty to discuss!

3 Trends Leading the Way

There have been three consistent significant trends that are making traditional hiring methods obsolete, one of which is the challenge of failing in recruitment methods.

Read More: Staff Augmentation vs. Traditional Hiring: What's Drawing Startups to a New Model of Employment?

- Skills Shortage Looms as Technology Disrupts Job Market

As technological advancements rapidly reshape industries, a looming skills shortage threatens the job market. The swift pace of innovation, from artificial intelligence to advanced automation, demands a workforce with an evolving set of competencies.

This is keenly felt by CTOs who are tasked with aligning strategy with the rapid emergence of new technologies to ensure their operations, services, and solutions are future-ready. Beyond keeping pace, they are at the forefront of spearheading new product development, a responsibility that is immensely challenging.

Consequently, it's unsurprising that spending on digital transformation has surged in recent years, with projections indicating it will reach $2.8 trillion by 2025.

Given this landscape, development teams are in a constant race to upskill and stay relevant. Both employers and employees need to recognize the urgency. Investments in continuous learning, strategic partnerships with educational institutions, and a culture that promotes proactive adaptation are pivotal in this ever-changing digital era.

Additionally, with remote work on the rise, there is increasing uncertainty about which skills will be crucial for current and future jobs, as many tasks are being redesigned or automated.

- The Evolving Talent Landscape: New Sources of Highly Skilled Candidates

Recruiters are finding that their traditional talent pools are becoming outdated. Exceptional candidates can now be discovered beyond the confines of typical talent clusters, such as prominent universities and technical colleges. Individuals increasingly acquire vital skills informally on the job or even in their homes.

The researchers observed that periods of reduced work and layoffs have led to a surge in online learning, empowering workers to independently enhance their skill sets beyond their regular job responsibilities.

- Creating a Compelling Employment Value Proposition in a Selective Candidate Market

Companies must present a compelling "employment value proposition" to attract top-tier candidates as the job market becomes increasingly competitive.

This proposition encompasses a wide range of factors, including competitive compensation and benefits, career development opportunities and a reputation for outstanding management.

High-level candidates evaluate opportunities based on different criteria, with pandemic-related factors such as meaningful work and proximity to the family taking on added significance.

The trend toward remote work and flexible scheduling has also led employees to expect greater autonomy in designing their jobs.

In today's high-unemployment climate, companies must provide candidate experiences that are truly valued to entice individuals to take a chance on a new role rather than sticking with a secure position.

Read more: Remote Work and Employee Retention: A Study of the Factors Contributing to Remote Employee Loyalty and Engagement

Modern Engineering Recruitment Strategies

- Potential Over Experience

External recruitment methods can often be attributed to a narrow focus on experience rather than potential. What to do instead? To succeed in the modern job market, hiring based on potential is imperative.

However, according to experts, managers should stop treating hiring as a replacement process and avoid creating job profiles that mirror the previous employee's skills and qualifications.

This approach only yields candidates equipped to handle yesterday's challenges and may be unprepared for tomorrow's. Instead, human resources leaders should encourage hiring managers to consider the larger organizational goals and the skills required to achieve them.

Therefore, the first question HR executives should ask is not "Who do you need?" but "What do we need?" This question prompts managers to look beyond their immediate needs and focus on the organization's long-term talent gaps.

While hiring for skills presents challenges, companies are now looking for traits such as curiosity, learning agility and success in various roles rather than focusing on academic degrees, certifications, or industry-specific experience.

This shift in focus can help address the issue of recruitment methods and why a potential-based approach is necessary to overcome it.

When managers place less emphasis on traditional qualifications, they can explore nontraditional talent pools and recruit from the "total skills market." This approach includes in-house talent with adjacent skills, self-taught candidates and people in different geographic locations, especially with remote work becoming increasingly popular.

Not only can this reduce costs, but it can also increase the power of diversity by tapping into talent pools that are usually overlooked. So, it is high time for companies to prioritize potential over experience while improving hiring in engineering and recruiting for engineering roles.

- Employee Value Proposition that Meets the Expectations

Attracting top talent requires moving beyond traditional hiring methods and perks like Ping-Pong tables and free snacks. Instead, according to researchers, companies need to understand how prospective employees perceive them and take steps to improve those perceptions.

Candidates are now closely evaluating companies' responses to the pandemic and assessing how well they have supported their employees in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

In a survey of 2,800 job seekers, 65% reported abandoning the application process due to unattractive aspects of the job or company.

Companies should take a cue from consumer goods companies to manage their employee value propositions. Firms must understand candidates' expectations and tailor their job offerings accordingly, similar to how they tailor their products to customers.

HR departments at leading companies conduct focus groups to evaluate job seekers' expectations, compare their offerings to those of competitors and examine social media and job review sites like Glassdoor to understand how current, past and potential employees view them.

With increased scrutiny and workers' demand for more influence, recruiters cannot rely on traditional incentives alone. Instead, listening to what job seekers want and exceeding their expectations is exponential.

Time to Ditch the Old Hiring Strategies

Employers frequently overlook the primary objective of the hiring process, namely, improving hiring in engineering, as they prioritize the exploration of new technologies and cost reduction strategies.

The following steps can be taken to improve the hiring process:

1. Avoid Unrealistic Job Postings

Setting realistic requirements is important when designing a job to ensure the position can be effectively filled. Job descriptions should be specific and clearly define the responsibilities and required skills for the role.

Employers should also consider the level of experience required and be realistic in their expectations.

Posting "phantom jobs" with unrealistic requirements or expectations can lead to wasted time and effort for the employer and the applicant. On the other hand, a well-designed job posting can help attract suitable candidates and streamline the hiring process.

2. Create Job Descriptions with Practical Requirements

Rather than focusing solely on passive candidates who may not be actively seeking employment, consider seeking and recruiting active candidates who are actively looking for employment opportunities.

Employers can leverage social media, job fairs and other networking opportunities to find qualified candidates. This approach can help reduce the time-to-fill and increase the likelihood of finding a candidate who is the right fit for the position.

3. Reassess the Importance of Passive Candidates

Referral programs can be an effective way to find qualified candidates. However, it's important to understand their limitations and not rely solely on them to fill open positions.

Referral programs can sometimes lead to a lack of diversity in the candidate pool and may not always result in the best fit for the position. Therefore, employers should consider offering incentives for employee referrals while also actively recruiting from a variety of sources.

4. Recognize the Limitations of Referrals in Hiring

Employers should measure the effectiveness of their hiring process by tracking metrics such as time-to-fill, cost-per-hire and retention rates. This data can help employers identify areas for improvement in their hiring process and adjust their strategy accordingly.

By tracking these metrics, employers can also identify patterns and trends that may impact their ability to attract and retain top talent.

5. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity in Candidate Applications

Traditional hiring strategies often fall short when improving hiring in engineering & recruiting top engineering talent. To overcome this challenge, it is crucial for employers to understand why traditional hiring fails and adopt a potential-based approach that focuses on attracting fewer but highly qualified candidates for open positions.

By shifting to a potential-based approach, employers can revolutionize their hiring strategy process and ensure better quality hires.

This approach involves utilizing various modern engineering recruitment strategies such as pre-employment assessments, screening tools, and other techniques to identify the most qualified candidates. By doing so, employers can effectively reduce the influx of unqualified applicants and streamline the overall selection process.

Furthermore, employers can leverage their employer brand to attract candidates who align with the organization's culture and values.

Strategically highlighting their unique selling proposition and cultivating a positive brand image, employers can appeal to the right candidates and significantly increase their chances of improving hiring in engineering and recruiting top engineering talent successfully.

Embracing a potential-based approach and addressing the reasons behind traditional hiring failures can bring about a transformative shift in engineering recruitment.

By adopting modern engineering recruitment strategies that focus on attracting highly qualified candidates, leveraging pre-employment assessments and screening tools, and emphasizing the employer brand, employers can enhance their hiring outcomes and secure the best talent for engineering roles.

6. Assess Basic Competencies in Addition to Specialized Skills

While specialized skills are important, assessing a candidate's basic competencies is crucial during hiring. Employers should ensure that candidates can think critically, problem-solve and communicate effectively.

Employers can evaluate these skills by requiring candidates to complete assessments or provide case studies. By doing so, employers can have a more comprehensive understanding of a candidate's potential and make informed hiring decisions.

7. Exercise Caution When Considering High-Tech Hiring Tools

High-tech hiring tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) and other automated recruitment tools have become increasingly popular in recent years. However, employers need to exercise caution when utilizing these tools.

They may be able to screen resumes and perform initial candidate assessments, but they are not foolproof. Employers should be aware of potential biases in these tools and always double-check results to ensure that they are making the best hiring decisions.

8. Overhaul the Interview Process for Better Results

The interview process is essential to the hiring strategy, but it can also be flawed. Therefore, employers should revamp their interview process to ensure that it effectively evaluates candidates.

This could include using behavioral interviewing techniques assessing a candidate's past behaviors and experiences and situational interviewing to test their ability to handle real-world scenarios. Employers can also use structured interview questions to ensure consistency across all candidates.

9. Understand the Advantages and Limitations of Machine Learning Models

Machine learning models have been touted to make hiring more efficient and effective. First, however, employers need to understand the advantages and limitations of these models.

While they can analyze large amounts of data to identify trends and patterns, they are only as good as the data they are fed. Employers should also be aware of the potential for biases in these models and ensure they are not making decisions solely based on them.

It is important to strike a balance between using these tools and maintaining a human touch in the hiring process.

Read more: Why Silicon Valley Companies are Turning to Remote Development Teams: Benefits and Challenges

The Modern Recruitment Methods

To address the problems of traditional hiring methods, Remotebase has developed a modern approach to hiring that is focused on providing companies with access to qualified and experienced developers who are ready to work immediately.

Our platform is designed to streamline the hiring process and eliminate the need for time-consuming and often ineffective external recruitment methods.

We use a rigorous vetting process to ensure that only the best developers make it into our community. As a result, you can rest assured that you're getting top-quality talent for your company.

By leveraging our platform, you can avoid the hassle and stress of traditional hiring methods and quickly find the right developers to add to your team.

Whether you're looking for a single developer or a team of experts, there’s nothing we can’t fix!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some problems of traditional hiring methods in engineering recruitment that are no longer effective?

Traditional engineering recruitment methods often involve job postings and resume reviews, with interviews primarily emphasizing technical expertise and experience.

How can engineering companies overcome the limitations of traditional hiring methods?

  • By improving hiring in engineering, companies can adopt a more flexible approach to hiring by looking beyond formal qualifications and considering candidates with diverse skill sets and experiences.
  • They can also leverage technology to streamline the hiring process by using automated resume screening tools and video interviews.
  • Additionally, engineering companies can foster a culture of innovation and collaboration to attract top talent seeking dynamic and challenging work environments.

What can companies do to improve their engineering recruitment methods?

Companies can consider expanding their candidate pool beyond traditional channels to improve their engineering recruitment methods, such as reaching out to passive candidates and leveraging referrals. Additionally, they can focus on assessing soft skills and cultural fit during the hiring process and provide training and development opportunities to help new hires grow and succeed within the organization.

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