You can’t run a successful business today without at least a few tech professionals. Finding the most competitive candidates for these positions can be challenging, though. When you have to work in the middle of a pandemic, this is all the more true.
You’ve more than likely had to make some changes to your business because of the COVID-19 outbreak. In the middle of all these adjustments, one thing is still the same. You need top tech talent.
To know how to acquire the best tech professionals, you need to understand what makes it difficult. What obstacles do you face, especially given the global health situation? Knowing these, how can you overcome them?
Challenges in Finding Tech Talent
You might’ve heard there’s a global shortage of tech talent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the tech sector has a 3.1% unemployment rate, substantially below the current national percentage. Before the coronavirus outbreak hit the United States, that rate was less than 2%.
Tech professionals are in high demand, so other companies are just as eager as you to snatch up new talent. Lots of people study and work in tech and find jobs quickly. That’s excellent news for these workers, but this can make it difficult for you when recruiting new candidates.
The talent shortage isn’t the only factor at play here, either. Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey found only 15.2% of developers are currently looking for new work. Most tech talent consists of passive candidates.
Passive candidates aren’t actively searching for a job, but maybe open to the right opportunity. If you’re only looking for talent on job search websites, you’re missing most of your potential candidate pool. Many companies have trouble hiring tech professionals because they are not considering passive candidates.
How to Solve Hiring Complications Amid COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic adds a few more complications to the hiring process. On the one hand, people may be more likely to take a job, given the declining economy. On the other, social distancing guidelines can make the recruiting process difficult.
You no longer have the advantage of platforms like job fairs or in-person interviews. You can’t go to gatherings or conferences to scout for talent, so you have to rely on online methods. While these have a lot to offer, you need to get creative to make the most of what the internet can provide.
Traditional job sites won’t be enough to connect you with the most valuable tech candidates. The good news is that many of the best ways to recruit tech professionals are doable, and even preferable, during the quarantine. Here are ten ways you can search for and acquire the best tech talent amid the pandemic:
1. Offer Competitive Benefits
Since most of the top talent in tech consists of passive candidates, you need to focus on these individuals. How do you get someone that’s not actively looking for a job to become interested in yours? You give them as tempting an offer as you can manage.
The Stack Overflow Survey found that almost three-fourths of developers are open to new opportunities. That statistic includes much of the 85% of developers who aren’t looking for work. To recruit these opportunists, you need to offer the best employee benefits.
What kind of salary and vacation time can you provide them? How can you make the position engaging and challenging for people who are passionate about their field? A reliable, talented employee is indispensable, so they’re worth putting in some extra effort to recruit.
2. Engage Social Media Users
Another way you can scout for and interest passive candidates are by engaging them on social media. Using social platforms to your advantage doesn’t mean perusing Facebook groups for talent. It means maintaining an active and exciting social media presence that will attract potential applicants.
Don’t just post fun things about your company. Creating a pleasant image of your workspace is a good idea, but you also need to interact with users. Make posts that directly draw in individuals in the tech community and talk with them when they comment.
These kinds of interactions serve two purposes at once. By engaging with talent on social media, you learn about potential candidates and see who might be a good fit. At the same time, you make these same individuals aware of your company and its accepting work environment.
3. Host Online Events
Organizing tech events like hackathons or other community gatherings are an excellent way to scout for talent. Given the risk of spreading COVID-19, though, these kinds of in-person events aren’t possible at the moment. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon this approach, though, as you can host online activities too.
Online tech events go hand-in-hand with the previous point about creating an engaging social media presence. With modern tools, your options for these activities are almost limitless, from remote hackathons to webinars to the discussion forums. Just be sure to mention your job openings at some point or even throughout these virtual events.
Given social distancing regulations, potential candidates are likely to spend more time on social media. That means more people are going to be both willing and available to participate in these online events. These virtual get-togethers offer a source of entertainment, which will make your company more appealing in the process.
4. Set Up a Referral Program
Word of mouth is still an effective way of spreading the news of your open positions. You can take advantage of this by turning to your current employees for help in the recruiting process. Establish a referral program to encourage your workers to use their networks to find top talent.
Referrals expand your candidate pool and make your search more effective. A LinkedIn study found candidates are 46% more likely to accept a position if they know someone at the company. Given the overwhelming presence of passive candidates in this field, that’s a statistic you can’t ignore.
It’s not enough to simply ask your employees to help you in the talent search. Incentivize them to do so through an organized referral program with set rewards. You can offer prizes for successful referrals by providing things like cash bonuses or extra vacation days.
5. Offer Remote Positions
You may be scouting remotely, but you should consider making some open positions remote as well. Your accommodation of distant communication shouldn’t end when the hiring process does. When you create work-from-home opportunities, you expand your pool of potential candidates.
People probably won’t be thrilled about the prospect of having to leave for work amid an ongoing pandemic. If they can work from home, however, they may be more likely to take the job, given the global situation. Some passive candidates may not be able to work remotely at the moment, so a new remote opportunity would be tempting.
You also have a wider talent pool to pull from when you make your open positions remote ones. If you can allow employees to work from home, you can hire people from all over. You no longer have to limit yourself to the immediate area.
6. Look Internationally
If you can afford to open a remote position, take full advantage of it. Broaden your search to include workers from outside your city or state. You may even want to consider looking outside of the country as well.
Not every nation has the same tech talent shortage as the U.S. does. For example, Toronto, Canada, has the third-highest tech talent rating in all of North America. Its talent supply and completed degree percentage rival that of places like San Francisco and Seattle.
If your company has the resources to accommodate international employees, you should go for it. You could be missing out on some of the best workers in the world because you’re not looking far enough. The U.S. isn’t the only nation that produces top-notch tech employees.
7. Optimize Your Careers Page
In a time of social distancing, your website is more critical than ever. Potential candidates may not be able to judge you by your building or face-to-face interactions with staff. Your careers page is a chance to wow applicants and convinces them your company is the right fit for them.
When someone becomes interested in your company, they’ll more than likely Google it. If they find a cluttered, hard-to-navigate landing page, they’ll probably think your company is similarly disorganized. On the flip side, if your website is attractive, professional, and engaging, they’ll imagine your business is too.
Your careers page should do more than just list openings — present why visitors should want to work for you. Amid social isolation, your website takes the place of your building’s exterior. Even if they shouldn’t, people judge books by their covers, so make yours an attractive one.
8. Establish Thorough Remote Training Programs
You may be missing out on talent by not seeing candidates’ potential for growth. One of the best ways to make sure you get the best talent is to foster it yourself. In the middle of a pandemic, this means establishing a robust remote training process.
Even the best and brightest workers need help to achieve their full potential, especially regarding their place in your company. Make sure you can train new hires remotely, and train them well. An effective onboarding process will also expand the range of people you can consider for a position.
You may have trouble finding someone with all of the right qualifications. If your training is thorough enough, though, you can breed these qualifications in candidates who show growth potential. This step will help you acquire promising entry-level employees before other companies get to them first.
9. Communicate Frequently
When you’re looking to fill a new position, you should work to maintain contact with active candidates. If anyone’s shown interest in your company, continue talking with them, even if you don’t have a final answer. If you leave potential hires in the dark, they could lose interest in the position.
Continued communication is especially critical amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Candidates are likely to remember and appreciate you if you periodically reach out with status updates. In the middle of all the confusion, a consistent source of information will be a welcome change for applicants.
This communication should also be personal. When you email prospective hires, call them by their name and talk to them as a person, not an asset. Go the extra mile to let them know you’ll care for them as an employee.
10. Look at Community Websites
Job sites can help you find job-seeking workers but don’t help you attract passive candidates. You can still use the internet to your advantage in finding these potential hires, though. Look for talent in places like tech community websites, where users are active and showcase their skills.
Websites like GitHub and Stack Overflow aren’t places people go to find jobs but to discuss tech. You can look through these forums to find individuals with a reputation and history of providing insightful answers to others’ questions. You can then find their email and reach out to them with a job offer.
These community sites allow you to witness candidates showing their knowledge in the field. Seeing examples of their work can help you find the potential talent you might not see otherwise. Since these are not professional sites, you also have the assurance that no one is fudging their qualifications.
There’s No Substitute for Top Talent
Following all these methods to find a new hire may seem like a lot of work for just a couple of employees. When you find the right worker, though, all that effort is worth it. There’s no substitution for a talented and committed employee.
Employees, especially those as critical as tech workers, are an investment. The right one will stay with you for a long time and be a substantial help to your company. You shouldn’t let a virus outbreak get in the way of searching for and acquiring someone like that.