As the startup and tech worlds boom, companies large and small are seeking quality candidates who fit their established culture, are committed to completing projects, and have the skills to make a real impact on the company. But where does one find them? What does it take to keep talent as competition increases and the pipeline of qualified candidates cannot seem to keep up with demand?
Recruiting is an on-going project
Recruiting in the tech world is a full-time job and it must be treated as such. It's not enough to seek candidates when there's an open position or two.
"Maintaining and focusing on your employer brand should be a core part of your recruitment strategy. It is a job seekers' market and who you are as a company is more important than the role itself, " says Maria Christopoulos Katris, CEO of Built In, a network of online communities for technology companies and startups in Chicago, LA, Colorado, Austin and NYC.
As your company grows, keep feelers out for top tech recruits or contractors. Know who is looking for work, what skills they have, and how they can help the company. Often, it makes sense to hire a person because they're a great fit and a skilled individual, not because there is a specific opening that matches those skills.
Linda Maclachlan, CEO of YJT Solutions, a rapidly growing IT Managed Services provider for Chicagoland businesses acknowledges, "Over time our recruiting has evolved from focusing primarily on technical skills to now focusing on core values and fit. We can train the right person to learn technical skills, but we can't ever make someone a fit culturally who is not." As a leader or recruiter, understanding how skills translate into a role or into the company's plans for growth is vital.
Recruit from within. Tech people often hang out with other tech people. If current employees know when there are openings or gaps in the company, they can be the best resources for finding new qualified candidates.
Use networking events and conferences to meet the right people. It's not enough to post a job online, though there are plenty of industry- and field-specific sites that can support your other recruiting efforts.
Speak the lingo
Know what's really important in the job. If specific tech skills, coding languages, development experience, or program knowledge is needed, get those terms and abbreviations correct. Bring in a programmer or developer on the team to talk with the candidate about their skills. Who better to know what the job requires than someone who is in a similar role or on the same team?
Know, too, that interpersonal and problem-solving skills are just as crucial. The right degrees and certifications are increasingly important, but so is the ability to work on a team and get things done. Make sure you're rounding out the interview process with questions or projects that address these skills.
"I cannot stress enough the importance of cultural fit when considering the right recruit to join your business. In today's workplace this should include soft skills like critical listening, emotional intelligence and empathy," said Jon Stowe, President of Dev Bootcamp, the original short-term, immersive coding bootcamp that incorporates Engineering Empathy coursework in its curriculum. "As essential as it is to understand their comprehension of the hard skills, it is equally necessary to understand if their interpersonal capabilities are compatible with your company's culture, and if they have the proper skills to communicate, cooperate and lead effectively."
Think outside the box. Some companies have a basic test all employees must pass, regardless of their role or experience. This can unify the team in their mission and ensure new hires are up for the challenge.
See it through to the end
Recruiting does not end with the interview or an offer. Help your potential employees wade through the offer and negotiation stages. Then, assign them a mentor or provide on-site training to get them thoroughly accustomed to the team and company. Offer ongoing training and professional development to retain quality hires. If an employee experiences a smooth transition and feels valued, they will be a huge help in recruiting on the next round by offering advice, referring friends, and speaking to the quality of your brand.