During Covid-19, 59% of CEOs chose to implement a hiring freeze. Now that many companies are moving back toward business as usual, they need to revisit how they hire tech workers. Particularly in the tech industry, many changes wrought by the pandemic — such as the shift to remote work — are likely to persist.
Companies that don’t offer flexible work options, the convenience of online code interviews, and performance incentives will fail to attract the most qualified candidates. Below are five big-picture trends to be aware of as your company seeks to address seismic shifts taking place in tech recruitment.
Trend 1: Every step in the hiring process is getting retooled.
Start by assuming that everything your company was doing with regard to hiring its tech workers in January 2020 is now obsolete. This may or may not be the case, but adopting that posture will serve you well as you retool hiring practices.
For example, a large percentage of pandemic refugees discovered they actually became more efficient when removed from an office environment. Tethered only to a laptop and internet connection, many discovered that they greatly preferred remote work.
Respond to these changes by assembling a small, nimble team of staff to put all of your tech hiring practices under the microscope. Instruct team members to assume there are no sacred cows, but tell them to move quickly. Set a firm deadline for them to submit recommendations to senior staff. Sample questions to address might include:
- Do we now have an official policy on in-person office hours vs. remote work?
- Has there been any adjustment to the actual market value of the skills for which we hire?
- How might we need to modify the management of collaborative deadlines?
- If we lost any workers during the pandemic, what was the reason given?
- Which of our expectations need adjustment, if any?
Trend 2: Technical job descriptions are being rewritten.
Armed with reliable data, rebuild all of your tech worker job descriptions from the ground up. Note prominently on all listings the date of their last revision.
As you rework your job descriptions, highlight those things that differentiate your company from others. Job listings represent another opportunity for you to reinforce company branding. Why should any qualified applicant pick your company over a competitor?
Everyone’s primary interest, of course, will be salary. However, one significant impact of the pandemic was to remind us all that money isn’t everything. This year, job applicants are far more interested in healthy work environments.
List associated benefits such as health insurance and dental, of course, but don’t stop there. Does your company value transparency at all levels? Say so. Are you committed to making positive contributions to the communities in which you operate? List them. You get the idea.
Trend 3: Organizations are casting a much wider net.
Now that you’ve rebuilt all of your tech job descriptions, take the same no-sacred-cows approach to advertising your openings. Many businesses continue to list open positions on their website and leave it at that. Yes, search engines will crawl the site and repost openings in various locations, but a passive approach is no longer sufficient.
Start by posting a revised listing to your website, yes, but treat it as no more than the authoritative landing page. You will want to greatly increase the bread crumbs you leave in various venues to attract qualified applicants. If you’re not using popular social media venues to point others to current openings, you should be. Posting to LinkedIn and other career-centered sites should be considered the bare minimum.
If you’ve yet to use recruiters for tech positions, initiate a conversation and consider overall cost versus benefit. Use industry-specific job boards to serve up your openings to a highly filtered pool of talent.
One of your best recruiting tools is maintaining a high level of worker satisfaction. If your employees have a high opinion of your company, your task will be exponentially easier as they informally recruit their peers.
Trend 4: Candidates expect speed in the hiring process.
Tech-savvy job applicants will pay a great deal of attention to your hiring process, from start to finish. Should they encounter a glitch anywhere in your recruiting or interview procedures, this will be a huge red flag. No one likes to wait, but with so many options available to qualified candidates, tech workers are the least likely to sit tight.
The trick here is to treat job applicants as if they were customers. Just as you would pay strict attention to any glitches in your sales process, do the same for recruiting. If your company can make this mental shift, issues are far more likely to float to the surface.
Check in with applicants at every milestone in the application process. This could be as simple (and cost-effective) as setting up an AI-assisted procedure that offers stage-specific feedback. Let the applicant know that their application was successfully received and provide an expectation as to the time frame. Under-promise and over-deliver on follow-up.
Regardless of the decision to hire or not hire, actively solicit feedback on the application and interview process from all applicants. No-hires may return a lower response rate, but that’s OK. The goal is to establish a hiring process that leaves all candidates with a positive impression of your company. Done right, the process itself can become an advertisement, as positive word of mouth spreads to other qualified applicants.
Trend 5: Retention requires personal attention.
Remember that you’re hiring people, not code-writing automatons. As more employees work remotely, it can be easy to forget an actual human resides on the other side of that productivity. Retaining qualified remote tech employees will require extra effort on your part to keep them engaged.
Just as you would take time to walk around and chat with your in-person employees, do the same with remote tech workers. This can be as simple as scheduling short (less than 15 minutes) voice or video calls throughout your week.
Set up regular times for low-pressure, non-work-related activities. It’s tricky to do these things using Zoom, but it is possible. Your company might have remote workers living within driving distance who would appreciate stopping in occasionally for special events. When putting together opportunities for time together, keep them light, fun, and 100% optional.
Hire a person, not just a skill set.
The days of employers putting potential employees through a hiring process gauntlet are over. If capable tech workers hit multiple snags or impediments when seeking jobs, they move on. There are too many opportunities available to waste time on messy application procedures or manipulative gamesmanship. Treating tech candidates with the same level of respect you offer to your customers represents your best strategy for effective hiring.
Angela is a senior editor at Dreniq News. She has written for many famous news agencies.