The national unemployment rate in the U.S. is 3.6 percent – the lowest it’s been in nearly 50 years- and when you slash that nearly in half at 1.9% you have the unemployment rate for technology professionals. Which means, it’s the ultimate candidate job market, especially for the tech pros. Top talent has choices when it comes to where, when and how they want to work.
Whether you see a ‘moderating economy’ in the near future, like BlackRock’s Global CIO, or a recession by 2020, like Cetera’s CIO predicts, the demand for software and hardware engineers and development is expected to continue, regardless. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook through 2026 for software developers, specifically, is projected to grow by 24 percent – a percentage “much faster than average.”
Attracting senior-level technology talent takes ingenuity and, not-so-oddly enough, technology.
Here are four non-traditional techniques to attract and hire technology talent:
Make It Automated – and Intelligent.
Artificial intelligence is changing the way companies source for, attract, and interact with top talent. Chatbots and other on-screen applications engage with talent on behalf of recruiters. Triple Crown Co-Founder, Sabatino Guerriero, recently wrote about Why AI and Automation Will Make Good Recruiters Better, and it’s true – ‘time kills all deals,’ which is why it’s important to connect with candidates quickly and on their time.
AI-enabled technology has responded to the high-level, high number of touchpoints and communication all top talent today now expect. My advice: be smart in the design of your TA tech stack, and invest in the tools and technologies that will automate and make your hiring function more efficient.
Respond With Urgency.
Being efficient means responding to candidates with urgency, and also with a sense of duty. Don’t invest in old tactics and speed bumps, like coding exams for example. Today’s top technologists don’t have time for these, nor do they have to complete them – remember, they’re likely already working and have other tech powerhouses knocking at their doors with opportunities. Instead, invest in the relationships you’re cultivating and focus on proof points that matter, like reference checks and referrals. Not only can you get insight on a candidate with a simple phone call, but no standardized test will be able to provide sound judgement on an individual’s skillset and moral compass much like a prior manager or a coworker.
Treat candidates with urgency and bake ‘trust tests’ into the process – where both the hiring manager and candidate are continuously building credibility with each other. This can be something simple, like keeping regular check-ins with each other, or getting paperwork completed in a timely manner. All of which will lead to reciprocation and long-lasting relationships. Besides, when you work hard to get your employees through the door, they understand the value you see in them and want to perform in a manner that meets those expectations.
Make Hires Over the Phone.
Onsite interviews may give some hiring managers a sense of comfort, but they are largely inefficient, especially given all of the technologies that are available today – from texting and video conferencing, to virtual reality and augmented reality.
Another benefit of making virtual hires is that you significantly open up your talent pool to include candidates considering relocation opportunities. In fact, my colleague Collin Bowman recently wrote about Why You Need to Consider Non-Local Technology Candidates and included this statistic: 77 percent of all employees say they’re willing to relocate for work.
Don’t let a tired and traditional way of doing things stop you from making the top technology hires your organization needs.
Go for the Engineers Who Aren’t Looking.
Here are some statistics, from LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions report, to think about:
- 70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent who aren’t actively job searching.
- 87% of active and passive candidates are open to new job opportunities.
- The #1 reason people change jobs is career opportunity.
- The top channels people use to look for new jobs are online job boards (60%), social professional networks (56%), and word of mouth (50%).
As someone making hires in 2019, you must actively engage non-active candidates. Technology professionals today are making career decisions based on conversations they’re having informally – whether through their professional network, like LinkedIn, or by word of mouth. Make sure you’re working with recruiters who can actively get the word out about your open roles and take the time to talk to the candidates who might not necessarily be the ones to take the job today.
Successfully recruiting today comes down to making the investment – in the tools that will make recruiting easier and in the relationships that will ultimately become new hires. Know your talent profile – where they network, where they job search (if they job search), where they get their news, and where they consume thought leadership – and create a hiring strategy mixed with traditional and non-traditional techniques to attract them to your open jobs.
Today’s talent takes time to recruit, which is where technology can really come in handy, but sometimes it comes down to plain old effort and a little out-of-the box thinking.