Everywhere you look, there is a skills shortage. Research presented by the IMF claims that by 2030, there will be a global shortage of more than 85 million tech workers, leading to $8.5 trillion in lost annual revenue. Of course, there has been a recent round of tech redundancies—maybe a knee-jerk reaction to a possible recession—but in the long-term everyone will suffer as the dearth of tech talent impedes growth and reduces the creation of visionary products and services.
As a result, companies are doing all they can to ensure they can attract and retain top talent. They are offering: more competitive compensation and benefits packages, the chance to work remotely and from anywhere, four-day work weeks, unlimited time off, and an improved work-life balance.
While all these benefits undoubtedly contribute to attracting talent, one significant area has not undergone a rethink: the hiring process, which seems to be stuck in the 90s. A four-day workweek might be attractive, but you will not hire the best talent if you don't delight candidates during the hiring process.
Here are six ways tech firms can overhaul their hiring process.
1. Online networking
Gone are the days when there were 100 candidates for every position—and candidates had to be grateful for every chance they had. Today’s companies must see themselves as a brand with differentiators setting them apart from the competition. Online networking can help companies achieve this.
As part of an online networking strategy, your webpage containing the job vacancies could include links inviting potential candidates to online events. During these virtual events, you could speak about important aspects of the company, including its vision and culture. Candidates could even be offered time for a one-to-one informal meeting with a senior member of the team.
Online networking is an excellent way for companies to promote their brand, reducing the time a candidate has to spend on research. Top talent—already happily employed—is unlikely to have the time or desire to do this research, so you need to find a way to reach them. Social media is a great way of doing this—informal online conversations to attract otherwise inaccessible talent. One final benefit of social media is that it can convey areas of your business that your website is not capable of showing, such as the work environment and company culture.
For startups and scaleups that have not long been in the market, the first hurdle in the hiring process is to make talent aware that you exist and to give potential candidates a reason to engage with you.
2. Recruitment marketing
Recruitment benefits from continued brand awareness. This is particularly important for startups and scaleups that are competing with the big players—especially if they are expanding globally and are unknown in the target geography. Top talent leaving a comfortable position needs to be certain the move will be beneficial.
Therefore, in a candidate-driven market, if tech recruiters behave more like marketers, they can actively promote the company. During the hiring process, whoever is in charge of recruitment can sell the business to candidates by highlighting what makes it unique and demonstrating the company's purpose.
- Discuss the position from the candidate's perspective, as they need to understand the positive contribution they could make if they take the job. Show them the company culture, and demonstrate how they would be a good fit.
- Explicitly discuss growth, as candidates need to know there are development opportunities within the role. What are the areas for growth potential—in terms of their career, knowledge, skills, training, and salary? Outline candidates' progression within the company and let them see that you are interested in their careers.
- Tell candidates about the benefits and unique perks you offer. Salary, of course, is the most crucial factor, but many new benefits are also important. Listening to what candidates are interested in will allow an open conversation—making them feel considered.
Recruitment marketing is nothing new, but in today's landscape, companies need to work harder than ever. For your company to stand out and to tempt talent, your recruitment marketing efforts must be at the top of their game.
3. Virtual interviewing
Virtual interviews significantly improve candidate experience. They also allow your company to show its commitment to diversity and inclusion as they remove barriers—all candidates have an equal opportunity. Passive candidates already in jobs will be more likely to engage in a virtual interview process, and your company can demonstrate it is a modern employer communicating its brand before the more formal in-person interviews.
Importantly, virtual interviews accelerate the hiring process—which is beneficial for the employer and employee. They also facilitate candidates meeting more team members, who could, perhaps, carry out an informal activity together. This is likely to make candidates feel comfortable and allow them to assess whether they would be a good fit for the team.
4. Move quickly
Top talent is only likely to be available for a short period. And in a fast-moving job market, top-tier candidates may have multiple offers, so being competitive and attracting the best talent means acting at pace—or you will likely lose out to the competition.
Of course, we are not advocating rushing the process but being thoughtful and efficient. A hiring timeline and setting deadlines will guide you and the candidate through the process and help manage expectations. Also, outlining the hiring process for candidates will show them precisely what is expected of them.
An efficient process will strengthen your brand as candidates will likely leave positive reviews on websites like Glassdoor. A well-planned and quick process will leave a favourable impression of your company—regardless of whether the candidate was successful. This will enhance your reputation and show future talent that you run a considerate hiring process.
Companies can no longer get away with dragging candidates through ten interviews over three months.
5. Treat candidates with respect
This one sounds obvious but can get overlooked by a busy company juggling many complex tasks. You will, of course, not actively treat candidates disrespectfully, but a lack of effective communication can be seen as disrespectful.
Perhaps there was one stand-out candidate for a particular position, but even unsuccessful candidates should be informed promptly about your decision. You want the best person for the job, but in a couple of months, the person who didn't get the job might be right for the next role.
6. Less grilling interviews
Interviews used to be conducted like interrogations, with interviewers grilling candidates and treating their answers suspiciously. But today's interviews require less Full Metal Jacket and more full charm offensive.
Abrupt, difficult questions are out, and conversational-style interviews are in. The goal is for both parties to decide whether they want to invest in each other by having meaningful conversations in which you share relevant information and discover your candidate's interests and personality.
Previously, the focus was on mauling the candidate's CV. But while this might be satisfying for some, it is unlikely to lead to a pleasant candidate experience or give you an in-depth understanding of the person who may be working with you. An interview should provide insights into the candidate's character and shed light on whether you share the same passions and values.
Asking questions about what's not on the candidate's CV is a great way to find out about the person rather than the machine. You know they have the skillset; that's why you headhunted them. So allow them to depart from the script to tell you what's important for them.
Why not find out about the candidate's creativity and vision by asking what business they would like to start? This answer will be revealing and provide insight into their character. It's also a great opportunity to segue into selling them your business—the candidate needs to buy into you as much as you do into them.
Conclusion – work with a partner
Your employees are your number one asset, so finding the right ones is paramount. During the hiring process, your company must showcase its brand image and attract the right candidates. For tech firms, working with an executive search firm with experience in the field is one way you can ensure your image is represented in the best way.
A recruiting partner will network with talent to find the best candidates and conduct recruitment marketing. It will also be able to act as a strategic advisor to help with issues such as competitive benefits packages, interview strategy, and optimising the hiring process. All you will have to do is choose the best candidate for your business.