Recruiters and HR professionals need to change their strategy to attract, engage and retain top tech talent in a highly competitive market.
You constantly hear CIO’s discussing the problems their companies face due to the high demand and competition for talent in the tech sector. A recent study completed by Robert Half Australia found that 93 per cent of Australian CIO’s say it’s challenging to find skilled tech professionals today. They also found a 30 per cent decline in the number of students signing up for technology degrees. So until we find a way to clone all our technologists overnight, we need to rethink the way we find and recruit top tech talent.
So, what are the best ways to go about it?
Know your ideal candidate
I cannot stress this point enough. You won’t get this right if you rely on the person recruiting for your role to determine your ideal candidate. You need to get amongst the people who are actually in these roles and encourage them to do something that may stretch them outside their comfort zones – having a deep conversation. Asking technologists vital questions about what might attract them “if” they were looking for their next challenge is the first step.
We then need to go beyond that and get them involved in building their team. Technologists are extremely creative and intelligent people; the trick is getting them to communicate openly and honestly with you. Getting their insight on the ideal candidate for their team, the job advertisement and strategies for attracting tech professionals is crucial in not only attracting top talent, but building your future talent pool.
Don’t use recruiter speak
Using big fancy words does not attract techies. They see through everything. Really, you need to be real with them – and be yourself. If your company is going through some challenging times, use this to your advantage and use humour in your ads. Show them how they can actually help solve some of these problems. No sugar coating. If techies want to find out about what’s really going on in your company, they can do so quicker than it takes most of us to log onto our work laptop.
(Want to read a guide on how to respond unsuccessful applicants? Check out ours.)
Be daring and stand out
There is nothing more that technologists love than challenging the status quo. Try something new – even if you aren’t sure it will work. For example, placing an ad that is completely outside the corporate identity of your organisation can actually have a powerful impact in the tech community. Include interesting challenges within the application process and don’t expect technologists to send you an email with a cover letter and their resume. Those days are way behind us.
Instead, encourage them to send you links to their github account, website pages and other opensource projects they have worked on. Be agile in your ability to accept these types of applications and respond back in kind. At my organisation, we once had an applicant complete our challenge – and then challenge us with a task. To engage with the best talent, you need to be ready to engage quirky applications too – and a standard response template simply won’t cut it.
It’s a long term relationship… not speed dating
In order to get results, you need to be in it for the long haul. Just because you have people expressing interest, doesn’t mean they will all want to jump ship and join your company. Top tech talent assess their moves logically and do their homework on your company. With all their job opportunities, why wouldn’t they?
They are also strongly influenced by word-of-mouth. So if tech talent ask their friends what they think of company X and their friends haven’t heard of X chances are they won’t even bother applying. Choosing to be daring and standing out gets you halfway there. The rest is getting ahead by building relationships: for example, hosting meet-ups and taking genuine steps to learn about, and invest in, the tech community.