How to Improve Your Technical Hiring Methods to Attract Top Talent in 2021

In a candidate-driven job market, the competition for the best talent is stiff. Even when you uncover the right candidates, they may be involved in other recruiting processes. When competing for the best, you need to move at a fast pace.

That's why it's essential to make a stellar first impression with a seamless candidate experience. Even if you're not a technical recruiter, there are steps you can use so you can recruit the best tech candidates.

In this article, you'll learn about common obstacles and how to prepare to attract the very best technical talent. 

Let's start with the tough stuff.

7 Common Obstacles in Technical Hiring

Technical hiring is challenging. Even the most up-to-date recruiting teams and hiring managers struggle. 

The best niche candidates know that the job market demands their unique experience. Their LinkedIn inboxes are crammed with opportunities. Here are the seven most common hiring roadblocks and how to fix them so you have a smoother technical hiring process.

1. Qualified Candidates Are Hard to Find

The best tech talent is in-demand and they often find their work via referrals. It's difficult to find candidates that are both qualified and readily available. Most tech companies know this. They hire entire recruiting teams dedicated to scouring tech talent proactively. 

For startups, it's intimidating to compete for talent with these big-budget recruiting teams. Rest assured, I've learned a few tricks and key skills that can help and I'll share them a little later.

2. Your Job Posting Doesn’t Attract the Best Tech Talent

A well-written job posting is a diamond in the rough, even for the easy-to-fill roles. Job descriptions that are vague, too long, or lacking in purpose are a waste of time. A bad job posting works against you from the get-go.

Job seekers should gain a broader understanding of the company and how their skills will add to it. They want a sense of the company culture and how that will support their ability to do their best work. 

Pay special attention to:

  • Job title: Is it current? 
  • Overview: Is it stated clearly and concisely? 
  • Language: Is it concise and realistic, or superlative and sales-y?
  • Role and responsibility: Are the deliverables clear? What do they mean for the larger business context? I like calling this section an 'Impact Description' - top talent want to know their work matters!
  • Who writes it: Did the right person craft the job description? How close to the role and team are they? Are they a SME (subject matter expert)?
  • Urgency: Is it a powerful enough job description that it urges candidates to apply right now?
  • Diversity: Does this job posting account for the mosaic of potential job seekers? How inclusive is the language/imagery?
  • Perks: Why do current team members like working at the company? Can you incorporate testimonials? 
  • Aesthetics: Is the job description one block of dense text? Can it be broken up with icons, images, and buttons? Does it prove your company's commitment to user-centric design?

3. Underestimating the Importance of Soft Skills

Technical hiring: Boss and Employee

It’s thrilling to find talent that understands software development and cutting edge programming languages. So thrilling, in fact, that it can be tempting to ignore any behavioral red flags. This is an expensive lesson to learn. LinkedIn's 2019 Talent Report found that only 11% of bad hires are because of lack of technical skills - the other 89% were because of lack of soft skills. It's not worth disrupting company culture for a highly talented tech genius. Soft skills matter as much as technical skills, even for extra difficult niche roles.

4. The Job Offer Isn't Competitive Enough

You've found a great potential new hire. They passed their coding challenges with flying colors and the team loves them. Do not, I repeat do not, lowball the job offer. The time and money it costs to restart the interview process after a candidate rejects your offer negates any savings you might make. Negotiation is a normal part of every hiring process. Yet, sometimes the best talent loses interest and moves on if you aren’t offering a competitive salary.

Make job seeker motivation a central part of your hiring process. This makes it easy to offer them an attractive package. Motivation may come in more ways than just money. Knowing what they care about up front will dictate how competitive your job offer is.

5. The Recruiter Lacks Technical Knowledge

When recruiters have unanswered questions about the role, it's difficult for them to source candidates. Coding challenges help to qualify technical skills. That said, this stage won't be reached if job seekers are put off after the initial screening.

For roles that involve new programming languages, it can help to set up a “lunch and learn” for the hiring team. An Intake or Kickoff call between the recruiter and hiring manager is also essential. Searchlight's Intake product helps streamlines and standardize knowledge sharing even in a remote or hybrid work environment.

A recruiter is only as good as a hands-on hiring manager. Investing the necessary time and energy to the align recruiters and hiring managers will save countless hours down the line. See next point.

6. You Lose the Right Candidates to an Inefficient Hiring Process

A drawn-out hiring process has a way of extinguishing the excitement of everyone involved. If you're stalled re-reading resumes or playing phone tag with a candidate’s references, it throws a wrench in the hiring process.

Doximity, a healthcare technology company, reduced time-to-hire by 5 days and saved 12% of the candidates who normally dropped off at offer stage by using Searchlight reference platform. Across 60 hires, that is at least 6 top technical hires they were able to close by getting their offers out faster.

7. You Overlook the Best Talent on Your Team

Technical hiring doesn't always mean an extravagant recruiting effort. Some of the best candidates can be found on the existing team. Start by gauging the interest of internal candidates who wish to up-skill. By investing in existing talent, you build on loyalty and reduce turnover.

How to Prepare for Technical Recruiting

Technical hiring: Team discussion

You can prepare your hiring team for technical hiring with a few tips:

Create a Culture of Learning

Incentivize your team with growth and development funds and mentorship opportunities. Bring in technical recruiters to share tips and tricks over a Lunch and Learn a few times a month. It can help to enhance the team's understanding of the technical recruitment process.

Build an Amazing Referral Program

Your best recruiters may be on your team just without the title. Give them the incentive to recruit! Be vocal about the roles that the recruitment team is hiring for. Make the incentive big enough for them to make a simple Linkedin Post that will reach 1,500 unique people that did not know about the job opportunity.

Add a line in the company newsletter asking for referrals and link the job description. Include a juicy referral bonus for any successfully hired referrals.

Use Supportive Tools

Searchlight helps you identify valuable candidates and provide science-backed hiring decisions. Our technology uses predictive insights to provide key behaviors, team fit, and coachable areas. The dashboard is accessible to all members of the hiring team. The insights stem from relevant work experience and are excellent in verifying fit. 

Using automated job postings helps attract top tech talent proactively. SHRM reports that "recruiting via social media is growing with 84% of organizations using it currently and 9% planning to use it." Automation helps reach candidates via social media and increases the flow of profiles.

Technical Hiring Is a Necessity for Every Team

With a higher number of companies relying on the internet to reach customers, the ability to recruit for tech is crucial.

Educate your team on methods, languages, and business problems that tech talent cares about. Build understanding by providing resources and research. 

Subscribe to blogs like Undercover Recruiter (on recruiting), (a developer perspective), and of course, Searchlight. Audit your recruitment process and interviewing skills to be more tech savvy, provide an optimal candidate experience, and empower your team. 

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