Let’s face it: the best tech talent is hard to find and even harder to recruit. Demand for quality IT pros far outpaces supply, which has resulted in a talent shortage and a competitive, high-paced environment. The current estimated unemployment rate for the tech sector is far below the national average at just 1.5 percent — a mind-blowing statistic when you consider the market turmoil and global economic hardship brought about by the pandemic.
This IT talent shortage is a tough problem for employers, but a welcome one for developers. Recruiters and employers have to compete for top tech applicants, whereas job seekers can “shop around” for the best position and the best incentives.
Sure, poaching developers from other companies works, but it’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, and you have to be willing to offer more than the competition just to get an audience with a potential candidate. Referrals work, too, especially in the developer community, but the reach is still limited. The best bet, then, is to tap into a tech-focused talent pool, as these communities have already solved the biggest challenges that tech recruiters are facing, namely:
Recruiters have a very hard time finding qualified candidates. A CompTIA trend analysis found that in the US alone, there were roughly 4 million employer job postings for tech-related positions in 2020 — while fewer than half the number of eligible candidates to fill them. By 2026 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) the US will be short 1.2 million engineers. If this skills gap doesn’t shrink, tech recruiters will struggle to find IT professionals with the experience and expertise these roles demand.
The solution to this talent shortage? Either recruiters can reduce degree/professional requirements, and open their minds to non-traditionally educated applicants (like self-taught developers), or, if minimum years of experience and higher education requirements are non-negotiable, the other option is to work with a tech-specific talent network. By choosing this route, recruiters can connect with pre-screened, already-sourced IT candidates who have opted into a career-based platform.
Once a recruiter finds (and signs) a qualified candidate, the work doesn’t end. Unfortunately, given the high demand/limited supply of developers and engineers, tech has the highest employee attrition rate of any business category (13.2 percent). A programmer might commit to one company, but if a competitor comes along and offers a better salary/position/etc., a high percentage of IT employees will jump to the next opportunity, and the recruiter will have to once again fill the position.
It’s hard to find long-term tech talent, but it’s not impossible (and sometimes it’s not necessary). If the goal is to find a loyal candidate who will remain with the company for years, the best way to ensure this is to stand out and give them a reason to stay. To do this, the organization should invest in building a positive company culture, offer flexible work and good benefits, and (of course) offer more money than the competition. For businesses lacking the budget to attract top tech talent, the smartest thing to do is to plan for the inevitable: retain the people who are willing to remain and supplement any shortages by hiring contractors and freelance IT pros. Thanks to talent networks, recruiters can more easily find highly qualified candidates for short-term or open-ended contracts by posting new projects or positions to an established tech talent pool.
Recruiters know this all too well. Time isn’t on their side, as the best candidates are snatched up quickly. If a skilled developer is looking for a new job, they’ll typically go with one of the first offers as opposed to drawing the process out for weeks or months.
To solve this challenge, the best thing a recruiter can do is screen their candidates so as not to waste valuable time and resources. It’s an added step in the hiring process, but it saves so much time, and time is critical here. It can be done manually, though now there’s the option to use a Screening-as-a-Service provider to save even more time.
Candidate screening is such an important part of a recruiter’s job, but when hiring for a tech role, it can be tricky. Unless the recruiter is steeped in multiple programming languages, disciplines, dev environments, and popular tools, it’s difficult to properly assess an applicant’s skills. Sure, their resume says they’re qualified — but how can a recruiter be certain unless they themselves are an expert?
Luckily, this challenge is one of the easiest to overcome. Technical screening can be outsourced. There are online coding assessments that candidates can be asked to take, and companies like ours offer augmented screening, technical interviews, and human-reviewed coding tests with detailed, actionable reports for recruiters. This way, even if a tech recruiter is unfamiliar with a certain skill set, they still have all the necessary insight into a candidate’s abilities and can therefore make the best hiring decisions.