Tech hiring advice : 13 experts share their best hiring tips
When it comes to finding qualified candidates in your search for tech talent, Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, once said: “The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.” In fact, there are many proven methods of spotting (and attracting!) the best tech talent to join your team. In this article you’ll find out how.
We spoke to 13 business experts and asked them for their best hiring advice and how to get the best out of your recruiting process.
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1. How to hire qualified candidates? Get your marketing team involved by running ads and campaigns on social media
Michael Alexis, CEO at Team Building
My #1 tip is to get your marketing team involved with hiring. Your standard approach is likely to post jobs on your website, and then on major job boards. With marketing help, you can reach a lot more people. For example, the current employees of your marketing team could do a cold outreach campaign on LinkedIn, run Facebook ads to reach a very targeted audience of potential applicants, or do an organic social media campaign. You can also try posting on more niche job boards. This is as well as your IT department talking up the role in tech circles like Stack Overflow.
2. I think the best hiring advice is to showcase how much your company culture believes in empowering your employees.
Adil Ashraf, Head of Human Resources at MotionCue
To attract potential employees, organizations have to showcase how much their company believes in empowering its employees. People apply to work for tech companies which give flexibility, freedom to operate and a platform to hear their ideas. Nowadays many want to work remotely, or with flexible working hours. Companies can help to showcase what they can offer by building their brands on social media and exhibiting their working environments.
Some of the hiring tips we’d like to share are: when it comes to hiring tech professionals, it’s better to headhunt than to wait around.
The talent pool is vast and some of the best tech talent only gets lured out through headhunting. It’s good to test technical skills but tech companies must also make sure the candidate is fit for the working culture you have cultivated in your company to make sure everyone is on the same page. This means, communication skills and organizational skills, which can be tested through soft skills tests or a personality test. Not only does this help to attract new candidates to the open position, but your company is also more likely to retain candidates if the candidate feels they have the chance to work for a great company.
3. My best hiring advice is to personalize your recruitment to attract top talent.
Jim Sullivan, the President, CEO, and Co-Founder of JCSI
For HR managers, finding, recruiting, and hiring the top tech talent for your business is not easy.
In tech, potential candidates are easy to find (since they’re all over the internet). However, unless you have a personalized approach that they are interested in, they likely won’t call you back. Tech professionals know an automated process when they see one, so your hiring manager might have trouble recruiting tech roles.
Instead, to find applicants quickly, you need to really put a personal touch on how you search, vet, and talk with those potential candidates. My tip is to put one person on the job and have them use places like LinkedIn to chat with them. By taking a personal approach, you will really connect with the candidate.
4. Use open-source projects to find the perfect candidate
Neal Taparia, CEO of Solitaired
Our engineering team regularly builds frameworks and technologies that build upon existing open-source projects. The idea is, if we’re building upon new open source technologies, developers see our work and become interested in our company. Moreover, many developers really like the idea of having their work being open to the world. This has driven both a ton of inbounds for us, but also led to referrals as our engineering teams love it.
5. The secret to making the best hires is to look at three things: the candidate’s skills, team fit, and shared values
Joanna Drabent, CEO & co-founder at Prowly PR Software
Our entire process at Prowly comprises of three steps. First of all, senior leaders get together with one of their team members or co-founders, depending on the type of role we’re recruiting for. We assess the skills and experience of the candidate and their fit for the role in question.
In step two, we let the candidate meet their prospective team members, as well as other people they will likely collaborate with.
Finally, we have a culture fit interview where we check if we share the same values, not just in the work environment, but also outside of work. The hope is to find the ideal candidate.
My advice would be to make sure that all these three elements are aligned before coming to your final decision. It helps you focus your interview questions, and is one of the things I’ve found makes us truly enjoy working together at Prowly.
6. How to hire good employees? Invest in headhunting, import talent, and create future career pathways.
Amber Burns, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at White Wolf Offshore
Here are my top 3 recruiting tips:
Invest in headhunting.
Use a dedicated IT specialist recruiter who has a specific network in the tech area for which you are hiring. If you have an internal talent acquisition team, ensure you hire an experienced IT recruiter to join your team who is respected and successful within their field
Explore the potential of relocating and/or importing talent.
With the remote work trend, it’s worth exploring whether you’d be better off housing your tech firm or functioning in a different city or country. The global tech scene has a lot to offer!
Create future career pathways.
Give the future employee a development path that’s realistic and that both the employer and the employee feel mutually invested in, alongside interesting projects that they can be part of and competitive employee benefits.
7. My best hiring advice is to understand and nurture your employees’ passion.
Rorie Devine, CEO of GRO.TEAM
Hiring for open positions in tech isn’t always about the technical skills already possessed by a prospective employee, but rather getting to the root of their passion. Tech is a continuously growing, expanding, and changing area as the world continues to progress at rapid speeds. You want your hire to be someone that doesn’t just possess the right skills today, but someone who is invested in the latest tech developments and in knowing what the tools of the future are. Otherwise, you could soon see your business slipping behind trends, and becoming out of date in an industry that waits for no one.
For additional inspiration, check out our list of 20+ recruitment blogs to follow!
8. In order to find the right hire, embrace transparency in your job description.
Matt Scott, Owner at Termite Survey
The aim for your job description is transparency about the position itself. If you read enough job ads, you may see plenty of requirements that would allow the applicant to be hard-working and impactful. However, a good sense of mission and work-life balance might be equally or perhaps more relevant.
Today’s applicants want to understand the essence of a job – what would be their background with an organization and what it has to bring. That’s why it is so crucial for companies to express what they can give through a basic work description to certain applicants. This all comes back to companies who consider what their target audience is searching for and what matters to them. For starters, younger millennials – and women with a STEM degree in particular – are finding greater sense and versatility through their working lives.
9. Take care of the efficiency of the hiring process from its earliest stages.
Kate Kandefer, COO & CMO, Partner @ DevSkiller
Optimizing the process early on, directly affects the final outcome and most importantly, positively influences, candidate experience. I believe that it’s necessary to preselect the candidates well before inviting them to the interview because the quality of your interactions is higher this way. You have fewer interviews so the process is not so time-consuming, and you have more time to go through the candidate’s resume and/or skill screening results (depending on the type of role that you want to fill – we rely on work sample style screening when we hire) and figure out how you’d like to spend the time you have with them most productively. This approach has worked really well for us as we’ve recently made many great hiring decisions and recently grown our amazing team by 2x!
10. Hiring the right people is about crafting your company’s story in order to attract the right talent.
George Mazzella, CEO & Co-Founder at The Suite
Craft your company’s story in order to attract the right talent. People are no longer motivated by money alone and with the future of office life uncertain, the number of nap pods you have no longer matters either. By focusing on establishing a compelling narrative, you can leverage the excitement of the opportunity in front of them to pull them in.
Also, based on our own experiences in the past, get your investors (if you have them) involved in the interview process. Hearing from an investor as to why they invested in your business is a powerful weapon when wooing talent. Share the legos and create roles that will challenge potential hires and give them a sense of true ownership. Finally, take care of your employees and create a culture they will be proud of. Sure they may leave in the future, but you can be certain that they will tell everyone how much they loved working at your company.
11. Remote hiring for tech talent, alongside remote work, has now been normalized because of the pandemic.
Sean Fahey, CEO of VidCruiter
It’s popularized long-overdue digital hiring practices like video interviewing, which is very convenient and conveys so much more than a one-dimensional resume ever could. There are many ways to humanize online recruitment so it provides a positive, memorable experience for hiring teams and candidates alike.
12. I have three hiring tips to attract the best tech talent: bet on personality, aptitude, and skills.
Fletcher Wimbush, Founder & CEO at The Hire Talent
Hiring the right candidate in the tech industry boils down to 3 categories—
1) Does the candidate have the personality type for a job in tech?
Most jobs in the tech industry require many hours of analytical thinking and immense amounts of tedious work on a daily basis. An extremely extroverted person who enjoys talking with others constantly would not be a good fit.
Someone who truly enjoys their job is astronomically more likely to succeed.
2) Does the candidate have the aptitude for the job?
Working in tech requires you to be highly adaptable. You are guaranteed to face challenges you have never encountered with each new job. This requires hiring candidates who can learn on the job and gain new skills rapidly.
3) Does the candidate have the required hard skills?
Each job in tech requires different knowledge of specific programming languages, software, or skills. I highly recommend testing tech candidates on their hard skills or conducting a working interview.
13. Hiring the right person comes down to investing in a talent recruiter – they bring the best value for each dollar spent.
Michael Hammelburger, CEO at Expense Reduction Group
As the CEO of our firm, my best hiring advice is to hire a talent recruiter, especially if you’re building an HR team with only one person currently on board. When it comes to filling our vacancies, recruiters are our best partners for bringing the best value for our dollar. They can convince the best candidates to sign with us, especially for top talent. In addition, they have a wider reach for professionals that make our applicant search much more fruitful in the process. I have personally hired a recruiter for some of our HR staffing needs and they’ve made it easier to provide us with a select talent pool that matches our requirements.
We look for applicants who have cross-over skills. Those who know how to tap into their other skills to allow them to survive in this challenging economy are ahead of the crowd. They know how to adapt and can prove that whatever challenge there is, they are willing to sweat it out. Thus, those with skills that can easily be applied to online client management are a priority and should be flexible for other roles. To attract top talent, you can make your job ad stand out from the rest by doing the following:
- Be direct to the point to make the ad easier to read
Write a snippet about your company culture.
Link to your corporate video.
Tell me about your corporate culture, values and lifestyle.
Those from Citi, McKinsey, and Bain & Company are perfect examples. They do a good job of highlighting the skills needed and what type of talent they are looking for.
In relation, avoid these pitfalls when posting a job ad. You might just discourage the top applicant from pursuing their plans of working with you:
- Very limited role descriptions.
General requirements that are cliche.
Keeping the company name confidential.
While looking for the best talent is no easy feat, it’s certainly attainable provided that you know where to start. If you’re looking to scout the right candidates for your company, showcase how much you value employee empowerment, nurture your team’s passions, and search for talent off the beaten track. For instance, by running social media campaigns and paid ads.
We hope that the above tips will inspire you in your upcoming hiring endeavors. Good luck!