Hiring Tech Talent 101: All You Need to Know
Interviews / Opinions

Hiring Tech Talent 101: All You Need to Know

Tech talent. A term that usually sends shivers down the spine of any recruiter. In an increasingly digital world, a business’ ability to ride the tech wave can either rocket it into the stratosphere, or sink it to the bottom of the ocean. And so the pressure is on finding talented people; your secret weapon for navigating and pioneering the wild tech ride.

But while there is an increasing number of people entering the technical fields, some are more experienced than others, more skilled than others, or just differently skilled than others.

From hiring software developers and application designers to videographers, animators and eLearning specialists, you’ll find yourself searching and looking to recruit the best people within a focused subcategory of technical talent.

So how do you go about this? How do you strike gold?

Well, you’ll come across some challenges, for sure. Like trying to find ways to stand out in a sea full of recruiters, attract the best of the right people, and draw them in with your job opening’s awesomeness. And then you’ll need to make them want to stick around, too!

Challenges in Recruiting Tech Talent

The dominant image of tech-related fields has transformed over recent years. Gone are the perceptions of people working in tech is the cold, calculating engineers, whose job it is to realize someone else’s creative idea.

Today, tech talent is finally being seen for what they are: Creative, driven, intelligent and multi-skilled. These are artisans – people who possess the rare ability to think both creatively and practically.

But because of this unique way of thinking, tech talent are often motivated by different elements of a job or business. And because top tech talent is so high in demand, the onus is on you to attract their attention.

Unfortunately, high pay alone often doesn’t work with tech talent. Why not? Well, because of tech talent…

  • Speak their own language – Fields within technology are often specialized and presented by tight communities. Often, there’s a specific language or jargon used within this field. This can make it challenging to connect with potential job candidates (they can spot an outsider from a mile off).
  •  Often feel underappreciated and misunderstood – As a result of the misconceptions surrounding people in tech, as well as many misjudged attempts at connecting with them, tech talent tends to be wary of being taken seriously. They want to see evidence that the recruiter cares enough to try and understand the field which they are hiring for.
  • What motivates them is not always what you would expect – As much as competitive salaries and good benefits are important, tech talent can be fairly ubiquitous across most job offers. Actually, what really attracts them to one business or job over another, is a combination of company culture, growth potential, and space to innovate.

Attracting and Retaining Tech Talent

Well then, how do you overcome these challenges and rise above the rabble of businesses vying for the attention of top tech talent? We’ve got a few hiring tips to help you with finding and hiring the right talent for your business.

1. Don’t try to fool them

“Sure, I understand Javascript, PHP coding and how to use Adobe animation software!” But do you really?

Pretending that you or your business are more technically savvy than you are, and using jargon and language that you don’t necessarily understand, can be construed as a little condescending – not the kind of impression you’ll be wanting to take on the talent that could join your team.

Rather, be open to candidates. Show them the appreciation for their advanced technical understanding and a willingness to listen to what they expect from a job. Use clear, professional language that communicates exactly what you’ll need from them, and what you as a business have to offer them in return.

2. Connect candidates with your existing tech talent

Assessing candidates’ functional strengths, and giving them a thorough understanding of the type of team they’ll be working in, are sometimes difficult to do. Actually, without the background or technical expertise to make skilled judgments or answer technical questions, it can be very difficult.

So pull in existing team members from similar technical fields. Ask them to sit in on team-fit interviews, or to participate in group assessment days.

This will allow team members to assess candidates’ skills and competencies, as well as give the candidate a chance to communicate with the people they might actually be working with. An experience like this will also give both parties a richer understanding of each other, and lead to more informed hiring decisions.

3. Show them that they’ll be appreciated and respected

This could simply be the way in which you and the larger business talk about tech talent. It also helps to create opportunities and shared spaces for tech talent (and all talent) to share their opinions and suggestions, and receive feedback. This way the business doesn’t miss out on any good ideas, either!

And don’t forget about benefits and incentives. Make sure that the compensation is in line with standard industry rates. This will help get you a seat at the table. But, as mentioned before, dancing on that same table will probably require incentives and benefits that don’t necessarily fit the normal mould.

For example, assess the importance of things like formal dress code, traditional 9 to 5 working hours, or even policies on “work from home” days. Modernizing these traditional frameworks could work in your favor when recruiting tech talent. Most people working in tech tend to work better when given the freedom and trust to operate within their own frameworks.

4. Training to grow, create value and innovate

This, for the majority of top tech talent, is the most important consideration when looking at potential employers.
Opportunities for skills development is essential for anyone in any field, but especially for those in technology. Tech talent needs to keep up-to-date with the tools and techniques of their trade, which generally change and improve at an exponential rate.

Informal training programs, mentoring initiatives, eLearning courses, or a personalized training budget for each employee, will go far in making your business more attractive to tech talent. Not to mention that they’re more likely to give the business a good return on training investments by staying with the business for longer because they feel challenged.

Giving team members the time and opportunity to create value and innovate is also a major plus when attracting the best tech talent. Whether this is a simple open-door policy on new and innovative ideas, or a more formal work structure making time for “out of the box” innovative projects, this can be a big plus for a candidate evaluating their options.

There are so many other ways of making your business more attractive to tech talent. But much of it can be summed up by the word “culture”. By cultivating a strong, healthy work culture, and allowing that to build your employer brand, people are more likely to want to join that culture.

Hire Right and Reap the Benefits

When it comes to tech fields, hiring the right talent can be a competitive and daunting task. But when you’re successful, these talented techies have the potential to bring innovation and forward-thinking to your business.

Just remember that tech talent has unique needs. So listen to them, understand them, incentivize them with development opportunities. In return, they’ll help your organization continue to thrive.

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