Keeping up with technology can be a real pain. I mean, innovation never stops, even if the steps forward come in shorter and shorter increments. You know that exasperated feeling that overtakes you when, after finally getting around to upgrading some piece of technology, an even more tuned up model appears on the market. If you’ve been working for 30 years, you’ve seen an insane level of technology adoption across all industries: type writers to computers, monochrome monitors to touch screens, the internet. As the technological infrastructure that’s considered “standard” in various industries continues to grow more sophisticated, the talent required to operate this ever improving technology becomes similarly advanced.
Unfortunately, just as everyone has to get their hands on the latest gadget on the market, employers across the country are finding a new need for the latest tech talent, making it harder than ever to recruit these computer savvy pros. It’s become a crazy race to hire tech talent. Besides the challenge of recruiting from a small, highly competitive candidate pool, recruiters and hiring managers are running into difficulties when they make contact with technologically skilled candidates. Developers, one of the most in demand positions in this country, are frequently contacted by recruiters, making a job opportunity nothing more than a routine annoyance for many of them. These guys have options, lots of em’, and when you sound like just another recruiter who doesn’t know the first thing about the job you’re offering, you won’t generate much interest on their part. The solution is simple: get them talking with someone at your company who does understand the work they’d be doing, namely, another developer. When you’re looking to appeal to tech workers, incorporating your own into the recruiting process can lend your company a great deal of creditably in the candidate’s eyes.
Now, I’m of the opinion that, when you don’t understand something, and that lack of understanding is standing in the way of meeting an objective, getting the necessary understanding (or someone with that understanding) should be a priority. If you have no direct experience with the day to day of a tech job or don’t have the know-how to speak confidently about what sets this position apart, then getting your techies involved in the recruiting process will help you immensely. With so many opportunities available to tech workers, appealing to these candidates through the work you can offer them can be a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition. When you can get some of your own tech workers to reach out to candidates in the screening process, it shows applicants how serious your company is about its tech talent and also allows them to get a better feel of the people they’d be working with.
There’s just one thing that could throw this whole exercise out of whack, which is a lack of coordination between HR and tech ambassadors. If you can’t get your programmers or engineers on board with reaching out to candidates (due to a lack of interest, time constraints, etc), then the project is dead from the start. Get a feel for which employees show the most interest in helping to screen for their future co-worker and sit down with them to see what they feel are the most important requirements for the job. By consulting with your staff members, you can both create an accurate set of criteria to evaluate candidates against and pick up some valuable insight into those more confusing aspects of the job, or at least some tech lingo! These guys can also help immensely during the interview, stepping in to answer any technical questions that a candidate might have.
Here are some of the other advantages to including your tech employees in the screening process:
Designing Candidate Skill Tests
What’s the most important thing for a new hire to posses? Is it the right attitude, the right level of interest in keeping up with industry advancements? When you’re hiring developers, these qualities matter just as much as with any hire, but, for employers who want 1 hire to equal many solutions to their many problems, ROI on raw skills is the top priority. In order to make sure that the candidate that you’re considering is the real deal, put them to the test! Like I said, your employees will have a good understanding of what skills are essential, so getting them to design a technical test will help to vet candidates or screen them out.
Like I’ve been saying, bringing some real employees into the screening process is great for your employee brand and building candidate relationships. Besides having them along for the interview, you should try to get interested developers, engineers, etc. to reach out to high profile candidates. However, in order to use this strategy effectively, you must make sure that the recruiting team and the tech team are on the same page. If your developers aren’t reporting which applicants they’ve reached out to, then there’s a potential for confusion and miss-communication, which does not make your job look attractive to applicants.
Better Cultural Fit
When your employees are involved in the screening process, you’re almost always guaranteed a better cultural fit. Just as their presence allows applicants to get a feel for the company, being on the inside also lets your employees meet potential hires and test for compatibility with your existing staff. The last thing you want is for a bad fit to quit a few months in, so mixing candidates and employees is a great solution to get a good match from the very start.