Recruiting tech talent hasn’t ever been as important as it is today – or more difficult. What is a tech recruiter to do? We asked several top recruiters, CEOs, and hiring managers about the steps they’re taking to fill their most in-demand positions.

Developers and programmers is a popular career choice. Through traditional college programs and coding bootcamps, more developers, programmers, and IT specialists are coming into the market. Yet they are in high demand as well.

The United States has nearly 1 million open IT jobs and a large tech shortage. To fill the open tech positions at your company, you’ll have to go above and beyond, be persuasive, and spend more time in the recruitment process. According to a recent report from iCIMS, recruiters and hiring managers should plan an average of 70 days to fill a tech position.

That’s a long time to wait. What can tech recruiters do to help them close that hiring window? Top recruiters, CEOs, and hiring managers weigh in about the recruitment process for hard-to-fill tech roles.

Question: What Are Your Best Tips For Recruiting Tech Talent?

Though helpful, it is not about whether the person was from MIT, Harvard or Google. The first thing to look out for is a fit. The values of the company and candidate must align. It is also important to note that companies at different stages (seed, series A or series B) will have different hiring needs, so do consider that too! When sourcing for candidates, go beyond your own network. Go global! Lastly, talk to three to five experts in your field to seek advice on what to look out for in a tech talent that best suits your needs.

Desmond Lim
CEO and Co-founder
Workstream

In my experience, tech professionals are interested in the projects they’ll be working on, not just the technologies they’ll be working with - will it be maintenance-driven or brand new builds? Active open source contributions are also important, whether it’s company-driven or employee-driven. How is your organization or your team-members contributing to the tech world overall? Finally, comprehensive growth is usually top of mind as well - not only learning & development opportunities but who will they get to partner with and learn from.

Abbie Emeigh
Core Recruiter at Toptal
Toptal

I'd recommend using some kind of objective test at the beginning to eliminate people who really can't code from the funnel, and realize that coding isn't everything. Teamwork, communication, tenacity, curiosity, are all crucial skills beyond some coding test.

In order to hire the best talent, companies need to first take the time to invest in their in-house recruitment teams. It seems simple, but it's a strategic, long-term investment. Recruiters don't go to a university to become a recruiter, they often fall into this role, and they learn on the job. There are a number of core competencies that a recruiter needs to be successful. A recruiter needs to be a brand ambassador for your company, a pipeline (sourcing) expert by understanding how to leverage different types of technologies and software, and to be a business consultant for their hiring managers. A recruiter will understand their industry market conditions and what type of talent is available in those markets.

We like to think that people will come for the opportunity at Sprinklr, and stay for investment in their learning. We hope tech talent - and every employee - knows that they'll learn and grow professionally and personally when they come to Sprinklr.

Celia Harper-Guerra
Global Vice President of Talent Acquisition
Sprinklr

My tip for recruiting tech talent would be the same for recruiting any other type of talent: Hone in on who you are and what you can offer. Be transparent about the role, the team, and your company. Whether it’s stories from current employees, a clear set of projects they can build, or transparent compensation targets, give people the tools they need to decide if your company is the right place for them.

Erika Klics
Recruiting Lead
Zapier

This is the hottest tech job market we have ever seen, and it’s not enough these days to provide competitive compensation. Companies have to woo talent by finding ways to stand out from each other by offering the three things all employees look for: impact, development and being valued for who they are. Potential employees are looking for meaningful work where they can feel their impact on overall company mission, and career trajectory is also a huge factor. At Zerto we focus not just on the job you can have now, but also what your career can look like three, five, or ten years from now with a focus on individual development. Lastly, people want to be valued and treated with respect. At Zerto we are continuously working on ensuring everyone is aligned to our company values and feels that their teammates are too.

Sofia Kaufman
Chief People Officer
Zerto

The number one gap I observe in the market between candidates and employers is hiring timeline! In an age where strong engineers are on and off the market in literally days, the antiquated system of 3 step interviews over 2 weeks will hurt the hiring process TREMENDOUSLY. The ideal employer has the process nailed down to 1 or 2 steps (one being virtual), and a process implemented so they can make a decision on decline or offer same day.

Chris Menendez
Lead IT Recruiter
Hays PLC

Recruiting tech talent in today's market is hard. There is no way around it. My biggest advice is to actually build relationships. I think recruiters, in today's market, try to make a quick dollar and never actually build relationships. The moment you realize that slowing down your business and taking a person to lunch/coffee with actually make you more money in the long run than giving that same person a quick call....you will absolutely transform your business.

Always have the mindset of “people over money.”

Taylor Desseyn
Sr. Recruiter Advocate
Vaco

For us, it’s about simple tried-and-true methods of staying organized and putting in time. Tracking the recruiting project is key, I suggest creating a matrix of important and essential qualifications for the position which you can cross-reference with candidates who have responded to your outreach. Many searches evolve during the process so being able to easily review past candidates in light of new parameters makes it easy to recognize qualified candidates and reduces the odds of great candidates falling through the cracks.

You have to offer a superior candidate experience to compete for today's tech talent. You start by learning about the candidate's career goals, what motivates them, and their deal-breakers, and you personalize their experience. Then, throughout the interview, show them how they'll achieve their goals at your company. Always be truthful though. There's nothing worse than starting a new job and finding out you've been sold a bunch of lies.

Stephen Medawar
Head of Recruiting
Flexe

Recruiting tech talent is about finding the right mixture of technical skill and culture fit. Neither can be sacrificed for the other — you really need both. We use a pilot project that brings candidates into the office for a day or two. This is not a mock test, this is a real project that can have a real impact for customers, and it's paid too. It's like dating before you move in together, and it's worked perfectly for us!

Marc Boscher
Founder & CEO
Unito

Know your market. Understand how it has changed, how it is changing today, and the direction it is heading. Know who are the biggest teams working with the tech and the smallest teams working with the tech. What are the challenges facing this position across the industry? Most importantly, understand the growth in that tech space and be able to speak on how your role offers candidates a chance to be part of that growth. This will allow you to bring deeper value into your conversations with tech talent and be a trusted partner in their search for a new career move.

Harry Witzke
Co-Founder & Head of Recruitment
Fynd Talent

Most companies focus on hiring superstars for their teams, causing them to overlook high-potential candidates. At Leaseweb we not only want to hire superstars but also colleagues who can develop themselves and the company. We focus on nurturing and developing our employees – because by investing in our people, we are building a strong culture and creating countless opportunities for growth. Creating an unforgettable candidate experience for those we hire, but also for those who were not the first choice, also helps to promote the Leaseweb brand further while allowing us to engage with new audiences.

Barbara Poveda
Talent Acquisition Lead
Leaseweb

Recruiting tech talent is no different than recruiting any other type of talent. The key is to know your target audience. As a recruiter, you should take the time to review the candidate you are reaching out to – read their profile, check out any personal projects or websites and try to understand what motivates them. My advice is to just be a real person in your outreach; nothing turns off a developer more than to be called a Ninja or to be sent a mass email. Personalize!

Conclusion: Best Practices On Hiring Tech Talent

When evaluating and recruiting for your next open tech position--rather it be a programmer, developer or software engineer--these are the common themes that emerged from our expert suggestions:

  1. Fit and alignment: Look for a person who is aligned with your goals and knows how to execute. Otherwise, all of your recruiting hard work would have been wasted.
  2. Soft skills are important too: It’s not only about coding expertise, but how they communicate and participate on the team.
  3. Understand the growth: Show candidates how your teams are embracing change and innovating. Let them be part of a cutting-edge opportunity.
  4. Personalize the candidate experience: One-size-fits-all won’t work on the best. Customize the opportunity for them.
  5. Know your stage: As companies grow, their needs will change. Know your company’s stage and the skills you need right now versus in the future.