Tips To Improve Tech Recruiting Strategy
Tom Winter, Devskiller 489 Times 311 People

The lack of skilled IT workers is hurting the deployment of emerging technology, according to a new survey from Gartner. In areas from cloud to cybersecurity, this crisis is expected to last for years to come.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, by 2026 the demand for software developers will grow almost 3.5 times faster than that of other occupations. This means tech recruiting is only going to get more competitive as time goes by.

Here are 10 top tips to improve your tech recruiting strategy. All of these insights are backed by industry data from Stack Overflow, GitHub, Dice, and Devskiller.

Contact developers with job-specific information

When getting in touch with tech candidates at the sourcing stage, be ready to share details of their prospective job. This way, you address developer expectations already in the first email.

Stack Overflow survey respondents believe an estimate of the compensation range is the most important piece of information in an email from a recruiter. If possible, share details on the company (21%), and tell the candidate why you think they're a good fit for the position (19.9%)

Now that we know what developers expect to hear from you, let's look at the best way to reach them. Survey data shows that developers would like to be emailed to their private addresses (63.9%). Only 13.7% prefer to be telephoned.

Look for developers outside your geographical borders

Companies worldwide do various amounts of international tech recruiting, either outsourcing, employing people to work remotely (though not as a third party), or for relocation purposes.

With that in mind, identify countries with high coding test scores. While the average score for all candidates globally is 40.71%, the average for New Zealand developers is 54.66%. The Netherlands comes second with 53.58%, followed by Russia (50.14%).

Communicate tech stack in your job ads and company profiles

When considering a job move, developers want to know which technologies they'd be working with. Make sure to communicate this as early as possible to attract their attention.

Keep your skill testing short and relevant

Tech recruiting has long been the subject of a heated debate, with developers complaining about the ineffective screening and interview process based on pen and paper tasks, whiteboard quizzes, and random questions. One question that garners much frustration is the infamous "Tell me about HTML".

Companies continue to use this practice and Engineers/Developers continue to complain. Has this collective negative experience turned developers against all forms of coding skills assessment? Luckily, the answer is "no".

Are developers willing to invest time in a pre-employment assessment? Yes, they are willing to undergo technical screening as long as it's executed in the right way. What they don't appreciate is having their skills assessed with outdated and ineffective methods like the infamous whiteboard interview testing.

To maximize completion rates, all coding tests used for tech recruiting purposes should be:

  • based on a work sample,
  • standardized and objective,
  • relevant to the work to be done,
  • short,
  • Graded with scores and not on a pass/fail.

Know what specific skills you need to test

Knowing how popular certain skills are allows you to decide where you want to focus your efforts or be more flexible with some of your candidates in terms of pay or benefits.

One of the ways to identify such areas is to look at skills that are tested more frequently than others. This shows the demand for them and gives you an understanding of the level of competition on the market.

Of all tests analyzed in the course of the Devskiller research, 37% assessed Java competency, followed by SQL with 34%, and JavaScript with 29%.

Looking at the number of companies testing a given skill can also give you an idea of which candidates are most likely to be snatched away by your competitors. Interestingly, 70% of companies are looking for candidates with technical skills in JavaScript, with SQL in second place (57%) and Java in third (48%).

Most job positions require numerous skills which is why some technologies are bundled together more often than others. 5 of the top 8 combinations featured JavaScript.

This suggests that recruiters know the importance of front-end skills as Java is often paired with CSS and HTML. These languages make up the core skills of a quality front-end developer, so it's obvious that they're often tested together.

That said, JavaScript is also often co-tested with .NET, PHP, and Java. This, in turn, shows that there is a lot of demand for full stack developers. Database technical skills are frequently seen as an addition to the main skill set needed for other positions.

Send the test invitation at the beginning of the week

Developers typically have tasks and projects lined up. According to Stack Overflow, despite having their hands full at work, they also code as a hobby. In fact, 80% code outside of work and 56% contribute to open source during the weekend.

Similar to open source contributions, sitting a coding test is less likely to happen over the weekend. Coding tests sent on Tuesdays tend to get the fastest response and those sent on Wednesdays typically take the longest to be completed.

Improve your interview process

The "interview" is the #1 word used by developers to describe the exhausting part of job searching. In other words, the interview room is where companies typically make the most mistakes. It's also where they have the most room for improvement.

Being able to preselect your candidates with technical screening software and asking relevant questions allows you to limit the number of face to face interviews without sabotaging your hiring results. Having fewer interviews only with viable candidates saves the time of both the IT and the HR team.

Know the jargon

Understanding the difference between Java and JavaScript isn't enough. To make your sourcing more effective, you need to familiarize yourself with terms frequently appearing in developer CVs or online profiles.

A word of advice is to really take the time to do this, as some developers don't use big words like Java to avoid being inundated with recruiter mail.

Be ready to negotiate pay

In the words of Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, Inc., "…technology is an important driving force behind innovation and almost every company will be a tech company at its core in the future. How we incentivize our tech talent will define our business success".

When it comes to incentives, nothing beats a good paycheck.

The Dice Salary Report states that majority of professionals want to change jobs in order to receive better compensation.

From the perspective of the employer, this means you may need to be more flexible when it comes to negotiating pay, both with candidates and current employees.

Design the right benefits

Given the historically low unemployment rate in tech, both attracting AND retaining technical talent is now a challenge. That's simply because there aren't enough skilled employees out there to fill all the open positions.

Losing a good employee puts your organization under pressure and creates huge productivity losses. The question is then, how to make your employees stay?

According to the Dice report, training and education are the #1 benefit tech pros find important (71%). What's shocking is despite being so valued by developers, training and certification are used as motivators to retain talent by a mere 3% of employers. This makes training and certification a great key differentiator among all employee benefits.

How to improve your tech recruiting strategy: conclusion

The waters of tech recruiting are difficult to navigate and it doesn't seem like this is going to change anytime soon. To get a head start, make sure to follow industry leaders and familiarize yourself with industry benchmarks about what your peers are doing.

The key to success is in your tech recruiting strategy.


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