Why Hiring Tech Talent is a Challenge
If you talk to any technology recruiter in the business, you’ll hear that hiring tech talent is more challenging than any other industry. For some time there’s been a chronic shortage of skilled technical professionals in the UK and abroad. Over 50% of tech businesses in the UK feel there is a shortage of highly skilled employees, with over 25% of businesses describing sourcing new talent as a major challenge.
Hiring skilled technology staff has become challenging primarily because there are thousands more tech jobs than there are developers or coders to fill them. It’s a simple supply and demand problem, which could be addressed by incorporating coding and web development into our education system. Makers Academy and General Assembly are great examples of ways to increase “homegrown” coders. However, there is a need for more.
As it stands, businesses and recruiters are fishing in the same small pool of candidates who have the luxury to choose who they work with. This has led to tech talent requiring large sums for salaries and hourly rates but also, in some instances remote working; which of course does not work for some enterprises.
In addition to the already sparse market, the Brexit decision is cutting off much needed supply to technology talent in Europe. With immigration tight-controls, we are also seeing a lack of highly skilled migrants able to secure tech roles in the UK.
Companies have to pay much more to get competent candidates onboard. You’ll frequently find larger companies outspending smaller companies in an attempt to poach their new hires. Yet even once a suitable candidate is found, most companies struggle to prepare an effective interview or retain tech talent.
The Challenge of Integrating New Talent
Bringing in new tech talent to an organisation is wrought with problems for even the most experienced hirers. Tech hires cost money, and given their importance to the development of internal systems, bad hires have the potential to cost thousands. Particularly when it can take around 6 months to familiarise a new developer to fix the damage done.
The most challenging part of the integration process, comes in the form of screening and interviews. Many start-ups and SME’s place the burden of interviewing, on their existing engineers, which of course takes up key coding time and in some instances this is not fruitful. Most engineers who have been tasked to interview new candidates are over reliant on the same old impractical puzzles, coding demonstrations and algorithm tests that don’t necessarily relate to the actual job at hand. A great way to overcome this; is to put software engineers in “real life” coding situations.
Engineers frequently fall into the trap of testing theoretical learning rather than practical knowledge (the very skill that would make a business profitable). The only candidates who succeed under this model of testing, are those with little experience who have just completed technical courses as opposed to candidates with a portfolio of real world coding skills.
A great way to test the practical knowledge of engineers is by undergoing practical coding exercises e.g. Pair programming. An existing engineer can take the test and then you can record their marks to set a “pass mark”. The pass mark would be an average of their results and is very effective for gauging the ability of new talent. Pair programming is also a good test for observing interactions between the engineers working on the problem solving.
Meeting the Challenge
In order to address this problem, hirers must look outside of a CV and former experience. Recruiters and hirers need to go out and search for their prospect’s GitHub and StackOverflow profiles to look at what they’ve actually produced in the real world.
Recruiters Need to Be Proactive
In order to successfully recruit new tech talent, you need to be incredibly proactive. As long as the market remains undersupplied you’re going to have to work twice as hard to get solid candidates in for interviews. It’s no surprise that most companies spend their time petrified that they’re best staff are going to be poached and they’ll have to start the tech recruitment minefield all over again.
After all subpar engineers, developers and coders are a liability that can cost an organisation thousands of pounds. Tech professionals are the arbiters of a company’s most important technology, and there’s simply no room for failure. Particularly when it could take 6 months before you can hire someone to solve the problem!
To stay proactive it’s a good idea to keep in touch with engineers through monthly targeted emails, networking events and of course an online presence. This will give potential software engineers, analysts, and other tech talent an opportunity to also engage with your brand and your current team.
If you need help finding the best IT talent for your business, our team is on hand to help. Send us a message and we’ll get back to you for a consultation.