Are you having a tough time bringing new tech talent to your company? Tech recruitment can be overwhelming. That is why we built a quick FAQ for CTOs, hiring managers, and those looking to specialize as tech recruiters. Indeed, the tech Recruiter is the person who works with recruitment and selection for technology professionals. This is a heated market, so Tech Recruiter is highly skilled with strategies for better performance in its operations. Tech Recruiter moves between the areas of the company, sometimes making interviews, to understand what is the reality of each one, what is the dynamics and process of work, what are the main challenges and what are the characteristics of the team. To find the best talent, the best new employees for the company. Consider it your handy guide filled with tips & advice on how to scout, recruit, and hire tech team members your company’s digital product team will love!
How difficult can it possibly be to fill an open job position? Not very, if you’re looking at regular administrative or clerical work. But when digital product teams demand highly-qualified tech professionals, HR recruiters find themselves facing difficult situations.
Finding and luring Product Managers, UX/UI Designers, Mobile engineers, Web Engineers, QA Specialists, and Security engineers is hard. Take DevOps/SRE culture as an example: it is on the rise, and so is the demand for professionals familiar with this mindset.
Numbers back up this perception of a limited talent pool. After all, according to Gartner TalentNeuron™, 49% of all job postings by S&P 100 companies in 2018 were for just 39 roles. The remaining 51% were for 872 other roles.
“In the U.S., the 39 critical roles include software developers, marketing managers, and computer system engineers/architects,” says Ashley Tatum, VP, Advisory, Gartner. “Many of these roles require in-demand skills such as data analysis, advanced coding, and solution selling.”
It’ll come as no surprise to recruiters that such skills are in hot demand, but the talent is in short supply. With the fierce competition over skilled workers, those involved in Human Capital Management must rethink the hiring process as a whole.
That is where this article comes in – we’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions regarding tech recruitment in the hope of shedding light on the matter. Keep on reading!
What questions would you like to address?
- #1 How is tech recruiting any different from any other type of recruitment efforts?
- #2 Is there really a shortage of skilled labor in the US?
- #3 What are the risks of a hire with bad fit?
- #4 How do you source IT / technical profiles? Where do I find the best professionals?
- #5 Should I prioritize in-house, remote or distributed team model?
- #6 How do you attract the best talent? Why should they pick my company over others?
- #7 What criteria should I use when evaluating software engineers, developers, testers, product managers and so on?
- #8 How can I improve and optimize hiring efforts? Should I outsource part of my hiring process?
- #9 How does Ubiminds cater to HR needs?
#1 How Is Tech Recruitment Any Different From Any Other Type Of Recruitment Efforts?
There is, of course, the specificity of job requirements. But the truth is most SMB companies (including SaaS) are not really prepared for it. Instead, they restrict their talent pool by holding expectations to unrealistic standards. If you can spare a few minutes, it is worth your while to peek at this conversation:
Also, it doesn’t help that HR experts are not always fully comfortable assessing technical skills. It takes time to educate oneself, but that’s deeply necessary. As put by this Forbes article, it pays off to take some online courses and expand knowledge on “what software engineers do every day”.
However, it obviously doesn’t replace a recruiter’s people and sales skills in promoting the company and the position to candidates or candidates to their hiring managers.
How long is an interview process for IT positions?
Well, it suffices to say 41% of CIOs consider interview processes for new employees too long. Fair enough, considering the average American process takes around 23.8 days – or way longer, in the case of tech hires.
Let’s face it: you can’t afford to lose money and time over controllable factors. A clear-cut example? When the hiring process takes too long, the best candidate may end up receiving a better offer in the meantime – and you’ll have to begin your search all over again.
Although scheduling is a relevant issue here, relying on specialized talent agencies can make a world of a difference.
The tech talent shortage is a worldwide problem. Software developers are among the 4 jobs projected to grow most in the 2016-2026 decade, says a recent Glassdoor study.
Also, another piece pointed out that, by 2021, there will be a shortage of 1.4 million software developers and only 400,000 software developer graduates in the USA. And there’s more: it’s projected that this gap will continue to grow for at least the next ten years.
Although these professionals are often self-taught, better tech education is dearly needed to make their life easier and continue to expand the talent tool. Yes, tech recruitment isn’t an easy job.
The current US job market situation for highly qualified software engineers and co. is looking something like this:
- Accelerated growth and high investments in technology;
- Excess demand in a very limited talent pool;
- Restrictive immigration laws hinder the entrance of foreign labor;
- Candidates are cherry-picking multiple offers;
- Fierce competition among companies, including those overseas.
If you’re looking for candidates with knowledge of emerging tech and business sense – such as is required for leadership positions –, the search is close to impossible.
On top of all this, competitors poach the best talent quite frequently, and it is not easy to keep employee retention rates under control. Let’s face it: the best developers, programmers, engineers, and coders are not freelancers. And it takes time to ramp up new team members.
There is always the trifecta of death: missed roadmap deadlines, money loss, and disappointment.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the costs of a bad hire can reach up to 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings.
HR moves around relationships of conviction, and compromising them by bridging bad fits to teams is a dangerous way of losing trust. It can also shake the perception of how well you know operations. That is why it is always better to pick quality over quantity. Even if that means stretching candidate vetting a little further.
Also, that’s why initiatives such as getting someone “out of the bench” by partnering with a contractor can be so risky.
The biggest perk of hiring “off the bench”, – companies that have engineers promptly waiting for a new project/job – is time-saving. You get your engineer resource right away – but that rarely guarantees a good, even acceptable fit.
Imagine a do-over of all the hiring process because the new member can’t get along with the current group, due to the lack of a better screening process? That’s something for you to think about tech recruitment.
LinkedIn profiles may not be the best place to source software developers, engineers, quality analysts, or DevOps. There are classic networks such as GitHub and StackOverflow, for once.
But to really get the software engineers to your digital product teams, nothing beats one-on-one interaction: meetups, conferences, and communities.
But if you’re concerned about making better hires, with higher code quality, you should consider expanding your boundaries. Geographically speaking, and also in regards to hiring strategy and processes. There are a few factors you might like to look into, but here are two of the most important ones:
→ Code quality: this goes beyond experience – it refers to expertise. Good coders get the job done. Great software engineers do it in a way that their work stays relevant even after it has become legacy code.
→ Cultural fit: talent may come for the money, but they stay in the company because of shared values. Think career advancements, learning opportunities, challenging environments.
Not only this, but there is also some internal groundwork to be done before beginning your search for the best IT professionals. It is imperative that HR, the recruiting manager, Personnel and Legal teams are all on the same page regarding what your priorities are. It directly influences whether you’ll struggle to meet staffing needs all by yourself, or if you better ask for backup from strategic partners. But more on that later, in chapter #8.
Want to know how to best source top talent in tech recruitment? It’s not just about where you look, but also about how you’ve found. A big part of recruitment and retention is working on an Employer Branding. Regarding that, a bit of good advice is to create an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) referring to the benefits and rewards employees receive in return for their performance at your company, for example.
Having a strong Employer Brand means positive word-of-mouth is spread and candidates either apply voluntarily, or they need less convincing once recruiters actually do get in touch. The more alluring your employer brand is the better quality of the attracted talent.
Ah, the burning question! Should you insist on keeping teams in the office like traditional workspace models, or leave it up to employees to work from wherever (and whenever) they want?
- In-house software engineers collaborate easily, considering they are allocated in the same workspace (arguably, the same effect can be reached with constant facetime). However, tech recruiters might have a tough time convincing top performers to relocate to headquarters or offices.
- Distributed digital product teams for software development are, well, geographically distributed to different locations. Team members are not necessarily home-office based, and can instead be tethered to different buildings or coworking spaces. They usually comply with the same office hours and work conditions and call-in frequently, taking part in daily rituals.
→ Want to know more? Download our complete guide on How to Build, Manage, and Scale Digital Product Teams.
- Remote team members are also scattered in different locations and tend to have less shared experiences – thus the need to connect them in occasional meetings. Nonetheless, it can be a viable option for recruiters who want to expand the available talent pool.
If you do decide on having out-of-office work, you should think up a proper policy and make it official. It is not a “either/or” matter – rather, it can be a “and” kind of thing. Companies should always pick and mix whatever strategy works for their current growth strategy and can switch among any combination of in-house, distributed, or remote work. To make it easier on your tech recruitment:
In-house software development team
|Fully surrounded by company culture.
Easily accessible to HR.
|Slower recruiting process can hinder product roadmap deadlines.|
Distributed team working from different locations
|Access to world-class tech experts, wherever they are.
Increased diversity, enabling different takes to problem-solving.
Scalability at lower cost.
|Fewer face-to-face moments for team building activities.|
Remote workers working on software development
|Increased flexibility in meeting specs and deadlines.||Language barriers can lead to extra legwork in outsourced teams.
Logistic challenges regarding infrastructure.
Now that you know some of the arguments in favor of each person’s management strategy, it should be easier to decide which is most applicable to your company’s staffing needs.
It is our experience that hybrid models are most effective, given they take on the full advantage of harnessing top human capital, under a reasonable payroll budget. This also impacts employee experience rather positively, as it allows HR to offer work flexibility while keeping all members in similar work conditions. Chapter #9 explains this to a fuller extent.
Coders, developers, engineers, and so on are constantly solicited by other companies. And competition over world-class talent comes with the territory in tech recruiting. However, some work conditions are becoming increasingly attractive to potential employees:
Project-based vs. Product-based Work
Jumping between temporary, fixed-term projects to fixed-term projects tends to demotivate software engineers that are innate problem-solvers. Debugging a software product and seeing it evolve is a huge motivator, and also contributes to knowledge management, keeping accumulated know-how within the company.
It’s meaningful to work towards shared goals, especially when the employee is on board the organization’s Mission and Vision (something short-term contracts don’t really offer). Seeing a team pull through a particular challenge and building positive, long-term relationships with leaders and team members weighs in employee experience. Consequently, it reduces the turnover rate in tech recruitment.
Homeoffice vs. Coworking vs. Regular Office
Some professionals would rather work from home, in a comfortable yet fully-equipped environment. Others find it more stimulating to share an office with other individuals, keeping daily interactions to max even if not actually allocated within the company office and opting for a coworking facility, for instance.
Considering how chaotic, tiresome, and slow daily commute can be, the choice of “where to work” can be particularly attractive to candidates that live in denser urban areas. Less time wasted in transport reduces stress and avoids physical and mental fatigue.
HR and team leaders can establish basic SLAs (Service-Level Agreements) and NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) to ensure productivity levels, such as phone and internet security and speed requirements. Whichever model you choose, we recommend your company steers clear of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend, keeping equipment quality standards high.
Flexibility vs. Mobility
Even if your company doesn’t allow for differentiated work hours, mobility is still a huge plus for job applicants. Although tech talents are not really digital nomads, it comes in handy to be able to work from different locations now and again and being able to attend conferences (or even personal commitments) in other cities when necessary.
This means organizations need to update their daily routines. In the Rethinking Mobility study, Accenture highlights three key points that HR need to incorporate into people management in order to attract tech hires and support leaders of distributed teams:
- Empower mobile workers to be productive and feel supported;
- Foster team camaraderie, even between employees residing in totally different regions;
- Address new worker’s technology gaps, providing infrastructure, tool stacks, and training.
Believe it or not, distance can actually make a team grow stronger. This is due to the constant need to communicate constantly and effectively, with clear policies and documentation. Thanks to technology, physical distance is not equal to the social distance in tech recruitment.
National vs. International Companies
If you are thinking of hiring tech staff beyond national borders, you can use this as a differentiator to set your company apart from competitors.
International experience is highly valued by tech professionals, and many will jump at the opportunity to boost their resumés with fulfilling roles in multinational settings.
Although language proficiency is a prerogative to these types of professions and roles, the chance of full-time language use is appreciated by ESL speakers as a chance to improve their language and reach the native level of communication skills.
Notwithstanding, out-of-office work is also positive considering issues such as sickness, childcare, disabilities, or reduced mobility. The freedom to work in physical isolation in case of a cold, or stay more hours at home on returning from maternity leave is deeply appealing. It also avoids distracting colleagues or the spread of common bugs.
There is another, often underappreciated advantage that can also be pitched by tech recruitment to prospect employees: the ability to stay in their comfort zones, tending to close-to-home needs and priorities.
#7 What Criteria Should I Use When Evaluating Software Engineers, Developers, Testers, Product Managers, And So On?
There is a brilliant piece by Paul Heltzel in CIO magazine regarding behavioral traits you should watch out for. From “undermining team spirit” to “carelessness”. However, experienced tech recruiters usually catch these well in advance, vetting them early in the process.
The challenge lies in understanding some basic concepts, such as:
- Operating Systems (OS): softwares (computer programs) that operate hardware (equipment);
- Programming Languages: word terms and grammar rules used to instruct a computing device (from a calculator to next-gen computers) on what to do;
- Development Frameworks: groups of tools and resources used by software engineers to modify software towards specific, project-based uses;
- Platforms: hardware or software used to host and run applications, such as Mac or Windows. For example, iTunes only works on iOS devices produced by Apple.
These can be tested during the interview and evaluation process. It is important to remember that yes, some candidates indeed cheat on their evaluations. That is what makes partnering up with expert leaders so essential in tech recruitment.
The more seasoned whoever evaluates take-home tests is, the better the assessment of a candidate’s real capabilities and seniority.
Ubiminds offers the technical screening of candidates as part of its recruitment process, weeding out any unfit candidates with insufficient tech skills. This is extremely important because it spares the hiring manager’s time and energy. HR only needs to reach out to tech leaders once an elite shortlist has been reached.
→ You can also read our article on the topic and get to know the 3 main questions to know if your HR is fully prepared to verify the tech skill level of candidates.
It’s time to combine all the factors we have touched upon so far, and add another approach to the mix: how much easier can the HR hiring process be?
Other than applying the knowledge presented here, recruiters can also request backup from specialized consultancy firms and tech talent agencies. In this case, it is important to partner up with companies that can truly provide customized solutions, tailored to your organization’s actual needs.
Before hiring one of these services, there are three questions your recruiting team should be able to answer:
- Will the service provider really meet the expectations of the tech leader? If the firm candidates presented by the firm are not irreproachable, no deal.
- Will the company compete or work together with my internal HR team? If there is no emphasis on collaboration or room for co-responsibility, the firm is probably not the business partner you deserve.
- How flexible is our business relationship going to be? If it doesn’t offer good value-for-money, your return on investment goes down the drain. Opt for reliable suppliers and reasonable negotiation, regardless if you prefer a retainer or contingency, recruitment partner.
If you’ve got more questions than answers, it’s time you spoke to Ubiminds. By now you probably realized that finding and attracting talent takes up time, effort, and resources. But it doesn’t have to. Let Ubiminds help you save on man-hour and tools.
To make it more tangible for you, we build up a calculator that compares the numbers of hiring internally versus hiring through Ubiminds. Check it out, it’s free! 😉
Ubiminds helps companies in hiring the best tech pros and building tight-knit digital product teams. Our company takes a load off HR and tech leaders by combining in-depth knowledge and experience in both technical and people skills.
Tech recruitment becomes easy when only the strongest applicants are put in contact with your company – leaving you to focus on more strategic endeavors. You can learn how Ubiminds’ white-glove service is built in this post.
We make up for skill shortage in the US by finding highly-qualified Brazilian professionals, urging them to fill mid-level to leadership positions in software product development:
– Product Owner;
– Project Manager;
– Business Analyst;
– Technical Lead;
– UX/UI Designer;
– Frontend Engineer;
– Backend Engineer;
– Fullstack Engineer;
– DevOps Engineer;
– Quality Engineer;
– Security Engineer;
– DataBase Analyst;
– Data Scientist;
– Technical Support.
We only do business in win-win arrangements, where companies get the best possible talent, and professionals are placed in mindful teams and opportunity-filled environments.
Not only do we actively source the market for the best-suited professionals, but also take care of wages, benefits, attendance, contracts, and any other bureaucracies so your personnel department doesn’t need to. Plus: it also means we’re the ones held accountable for any labor, legal or fiscal issues regarding your Brazilian employees.
Sounds Interesting? Let’s Talk.