Making Your Next Tech Hire May be Harder Than You Think

December 19, 2016

Making a tech hire is harder than you think

There is a shortage of tech talent in this country and this shortage is only growing in severity. Even if you haven’t read one of the many studies or opinion pieces on how bad his tech talent gap is, you may have experienced some of its effects first hand.

A longer time-to-fill for tech positions, a lower supply of available/qualified candidates and an increase in candidate demands are all symptoms of the high-demand/low-supply tech talent market that companies are hiring from.

Now, “Tech Talent” refers to tech workers who are, in-fact, talented. They are the kind of employee who is an expert on the work they do, or at least verging on expert status, and they are the kind of employee who can hit the ground running. They are obviously a good hire, and the kind of employee that every tech company, from Apple to Adobe, wants to get their hands on. Their expertise is also being sought by an increasing number of non-tech companies who need tech talent to do business in the digital age.

In a joint study, the IT outsourcing company Harvey Nash and the auditing KPMG surveyed over 3,000 leaders in the tech industry to investigate the extent of the talent gap. What they found, was that the talent gap is actually growing larger and companies are having more difficulty finding the talent they need. According to the survey, a staggering 65% of tech leaders agree that hiring challenges are hurting the industry. This figure is 6 points higher than last year’s consensus between 59% of tech leaders.

According to Dell’s 2016 IT Trends Report, Business Decision Makers (BDM) and IT Decision Makers (ITDM) are rating the following skills as the most important to their companies.   

Screen Shot 2016-12-19 at 3.55.27 PM

If you are trying to fill a job that uses one of these in-demand, low-supply skills, prepare for a challenge. Making the hire that you want isn’t impossible, but it will probably take longer and cost more than it has in the past. It will also require you to use a strategy that is appropriate for a candidate-driven job market and will require you to tap niche talent communities to find the candidate pipeline your business needs.

Know Your Challenge / Competition

If you want to make a hire who has a knack for their in-demand tech skill, you will have to compete with other companies to snag this star talent. Professional Networks like LinkedIn allow employers to discover talent no matter where it is hiding, and if you think that a candidate would be great at your company, there’s at least 1 more decision maker out there thinking the same thing.

Star talent will usually have more than your open job to consider, and may be tempted by offers from big-name competitors or counter-offers from their employer. If you are serious about making a talented hire, you will need to offer a salary and benefits package that reflects this seriousness. The success of vital company projects may hinge on the talent you’re trying to source, and being a cheap-skate on salary can ensure that top talent ignores your job ad as surely as a commercial for potato chips.

Always research the high, median and low compensation for the tech skillset you need. You should also research the supply of candidates in your area and the demand for these candidates. This will ensure that you can budget appropriately for your hire and anticipate the length of a candidate search that will be extended and/or competitive.

Sell Candidates Your Job

You may be offering 6 figures for your open tech job, but you still have to sell candidates on your opportunity. Though matching salary requirements is a big deal, you also need to sell candidates on the job they’ll be doing. Highly talented employees will have many options, so your opportunity has to stick in the mind of your top choice for the job.

First, you need to be offering more than a job. You need to offer your candidates the next step in their career, one that is in line with their professional goals. Your top choice for the job has specific desires for their next job, and you need to satisfy those desires. When writing your job description and engaging with candidates, you need to sell these aspects of the job opportunity you’re offering.

  • The Work– What interesting work will they be doing? How will they be applying their skills? What technology tools will they be using? How will working for your company differ from working at other companies?
  • Your Company– What about your company would interest a high-quality tech hire? How does your culture benefit skilled tech workers? How will the work that your hire does impact your company or its products/services? How will your company make tech talent feel welcomed, valued and inspired?
  • Their Future– What will their life look like after taking your job? What advancements can they make within the hierarchy of your company? How will doing your job move their career forward?

Tap Niche Talent Pipelines

Getting around the tech talent shortage is possible, if you know where to look. Niche talent communities are fantastic resources for companies in need of skilled tech workers. Major tech specific job boards like Dice and GitHub are great for targeting your message, but there are a myriad of tech job boards that specify on categories like industry or a specific computer language. 

What makes these talent sources so great, is that their specificity is a draw for busy tech professionals. Instead of spending hours combing through general job postings, they can use the time they have to explore new opportunities in the niche, industry or field of their choosing.

SkillGigs offers employers the chance to source IT talent in a revolutionary way. Our online talent marketplace is populated by talented tech professionals who are ready to take the next step in their career. Along with listing their salary requirements and professional interests, SkillGigs candidates also list where they’re willing to re-locate and their desires for the next job they take.

Instead of wasting time on uninterested candidates, you can focus your attention on tech talent that is passionate about the kind of work your company does. Additionally, knowing all of this valuable candidate data up-front means an easier, more transparent offer negotiation process. When both parties can see that your job is a good match and know what your candidate wants from their career, it is much easier to cement a deal that is good for everyone involved.

VP of Marketing at Digital Astronauts

Ronny Cheng is one of the Co-Founder’s of Digital Astronauts and has helped drive lead generation in the software industry for organizations of all sizes — from start-ups to Fortune 500’s. He helped build one of the first online software review websites, specializing in CRM, ERP, and HR software. He’s a nationally published author with extensive experience working with the HR/Recruiting industries largest brands. In his spare time, you can catch him on Instagram doing his best food blogger impersonation.


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