Hiring for tech positions is unlike hiring for anything else
by Boost Agents
Hiring for tech positions is unlike hiring for anything else. In an industry of constant change with deeply involved, connected and largely self-taught talent, finding the right candidates for your tech teams can be difficult.
For the second year in a row Toronto has been North America’s fastest growing tech market. Over the past five years, the city has added more tech jobs than other major tech hubs like San Francisco and New York City. In 2017 alone Toronto added nearly 30,000 tech jobs.
With the growing number of options available to jobseekers, it's clear that companies must take strategic steps to help attract and retain top talent. The first steps should begin even before you create the job posting.
Rule 1 – Manage your reputation
One of the best ways to introduce candidates to your company is through community-building. An easy, affordable way to do this is to offer your office space as a meet-up location for industry groups. This gives candidates an inside look into your company and is especially important if you’re new to the scene or need to improve your employer brand.
“Now you’re known in the community, known for fostering community, and you’re now known among tech talent,” says Trina Boos, President at Boost Agents, a Toronto recruiting agency.
Once candidates start hearing about you, they’ll start to Google you. The digital first-impression you make with candidates is an important one.
You should be aware of what’s published online about company performance, behaviour, and communication, and have a solid reputation management plan in place. Without this you hinder your ability to respond to any negative criticism that may be online.
If there is negative criticism online about your company it’s important to look at the root cause of it, create a plan of action and implement it.
Rule 2 — Understand the role
Even if tech talent is familiar with your brand, a bad first impression can be a lasting one if you approach them in the wrong way.
“I think nothing irks tech talent more than being approached by recruiting agencies that don’t understand what it is that they do,” says Stephanie Weilinger, Senior Engagement Manager at Boost Agents.
She finds that tech talent gets more excited, are more open to conversations, and are willing to build relationships with her when she shows her understanding of the space they work in.
Weilinger believes that “when you approach them, you need to really understand their capabilities and align them to a position that makes sense. So, if you approach them about an opportunity that is not even close to what they’re doing it really harms your credibility.”
However, on the flipside, with the pace of change and complexity of roles in tech, it is likely that sometimes you won’t know the intricacies of every role. Don’t be afraid to ask candidates informed questions. If you want to gain information and establish credibility, start by being humble, and approach tech talent with a sense of openness, learning and keen interest.
Rule 3 — Be transparent
A quick turn-off for candidates is lack of transparency. Make all the information about why they would love working for your company available from the get-go.
“They’re always getting better, bigger offers, and they know what it is that they want and where they want to move,” says Weilinger.
Stand out in a sea of other job propositions by being transparent. In your initial interactions with candidates, include information like:
- Challenges of the role
· Growth trajectory within the company
· What round of funding you’re in (if applicable)
- Company perks they would enjoy
Having lots of information available allows you to set the stage for candidates so they can envision working for you.
Rule 4 — Provide a learning environment
The learning culture in tech is there for a reason. Learning is a necessity to keep up-to-date in tech roles—which means expanding the skill sets of your employees is crucial.
Encouraging a learning culture can help you retain talent and foster leadership among employees. That can also lead to employees learning more about themselves and taking on new roles within your organization.
“If you have good people invest in them. They’ll invest back! They grow laterally as well as vertically,” says Jen Richardson, Engagement Manager at Boost Agents.
Rule 5 — Don’t underestimate company culture
Finding a "good fit" for a position oftentimes is the most difficult part of hiring. Beyond skills and experience the candidate’s personality must align.
“If you have one rotten apple, especially in a smaller company, it sets off the whole bunch. So, it’s really important to make sure that the people you’re bringing on-board play well with others,” says Richardson.
But even more important than finding employees that work well together is the importance of having a pulse on your company culture and taking action when needed.
Maintaining constant communication with your employees is essential for discerning their needs, and in turn, determining how to meet them.
“I have a client who once a week does a culture poll so they can catch something before anything culturally goes off the rails,” says Richardson. “They have excellent employee tenure because they’re making sure they’re dealing with things before they need to.”
Hiring people who will grow with your organization means you have to invest in your company and the talent you take on. So, before you put up a job posting and start searching for your next employee, make sure you’re known within the community, have a solid employer brand, and a welcoming culture that helps foster their growth.