79 min read 10/28/2021

Technical Recruiting: A Guide to Hiring Tech Talent (2021)

Finding, attracting, and recruiting qualified candidates for your technical roles is costly and time-consuming. But in a world where talent and opportunity are in high demand, this mustn’t be allowed to restrict your company’s growth.

With the right tools and approach in place, you can make hiring faster and more cost-effective. Knowing how to ensure you get value for money from each candidate shortlisted will save hours of precious time. In this guide, we provide practical advice on how to do just that.

The war for tech talent is even more intense than you thought (Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey). 

The prognosis is grim. 

In the US for instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports according to this Tech Crunch article: there were 1.4 million unfilled Computer Science jobs at the end of 2020; by 2026 there will be a 1.2 million-person deficit in the United States when it comes to engineering positions. The demand for tech talent would continue to grow rapidly, yet the supply of skilled workers remains stuck at a meager 400,000 graduates per year.

The result: employers are forced to compete against one another for the best talent and offer higher salaries, better benefits, and career growth opportunities. 

For some companies this is enough to get the cream of the crop on board; for others, it isn’t. 

Which begs the question: what’s the secret to hiring tech talent?

‘Spray and pray’ – posting job ads on job boards, social media, and professional networks isn’t enough anymore. 

Feeling like an overworked recruiter, struggling to identify the best developers for your company; all while juggling competing priorities? 

You aren’t alone. 

The good news is, there are always new methods to find the right people for your company.

In this technical recruiting guide, you’ll learn: 

  • The Global Talent Shortage in 2021: What Does It Mean for Your Company?
  • What’s really important when hiring technical talent? 
  • Strategies to Attract High-Quality Tech Talents To Your Company
  • Seek out the Best Candidates From the Right Sourcing Channels
  • How to Evaluate Candidates Properly
  • The Secret Sauce for Successful Tech Candidate Sourcing
  • Technical Recruiting Tips 

The Global Talent Shortage in 2021: What Does It Mean for Your Company?

The stats don't make for pretty reading. 

The worldwide talent deficiency will total 40 million skilled employees across the world by 2021 as reported in this Forbes article.

And a McKinsey Global Survey shows that "87% of organizations are already experiencing a talent shortage or are expecting to face it within a few years."

It gets worse...

According to a Korn Ferry Report, by the year 2030, the worldwide talent shortage is expected to climb to 85.2 million workers. Businesses around the world face a potential $8.4 trillion revenue loss as a result.

We made mention of the United States earlier, but they're not alone.

By 2022, Sweden will be short of 70,000 IT or digital-related skills. There is a 15% software developer gap in Israel. And in the UK, 70% of the tech industry is experiencing a shortage of industry-specific skills.

So, what do these figures mean for you?

If we were to place a bet... 

You may soon be competing with other companies and agencies to attract the best technical talent. 

And since budgets are often tight during this time, you need to optimize your resources and budget as much as possible.

This leads us neatly on to the next point...

What’s really important when hiring tech talent?

In other words, what are the non-negotiable skills for tech hires?

We’ll give you a hint: 

If they aren’t there, the candidate won't be considered.

The Four most important attributes are: 

Deep understanding of the technical skills and tools needed for the role

Why is this so important?

Let us explain. 

Whether you're hiring for a new role or looking to fill an existing position, there are requisite knowledge areas that are critical for success.

For example, if you're hiring a front-end developer - they must be well versed in HTML and CSS.

If you're hiring a full-stack developer - they must be able to code in multiple languages and frameworks; understand programming paradigms, best practices, and coding standards. 

The need for deep technical knowledge is what separates a front-end developer from a full-stack one, which again differentiates an enterprise-level programmer from average. 

It's also important to note that the more technical skills needed for a role, the narrower your candidate pool becomes. 

And if you don't have the resources to conduct multiple interviews, it's essential that you get this right from the start.

Finally, remember that technical skills change and evolve over time. 

And, as a result, your candidates need to be up-to-date with the latest industry trends, tools, and trends.

Ability to communicate their knowledge effectively and work collaboratively

Why is this so important?

Tech roles are some of the most collaborative around. The industry is also notorious for its jargon and buzzwords. 

So, it's essential that your candidate is able to communicate confidently and effectively with both technical and non-technical stakeholders.

To be frank, you can't afford to hire someone who is only comfortable working in a silo.

This candidate doesn't need to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, but they do need to have the ability to sell their ideas, concepts, and work.

They also need to be able to collaborate effectively with other technical experts - in order to ensure that they're solving the right problems, in a timely manner.

Again, this becomes increasingly important as the level of technicality increases.

Problem-solving and an overall sense of ownership

This is possibly one of the most important attributes you want in your tech hires; it's also one of the hardest to measure. 

Why is this so important?

Here is the thing: 

You don't want to be burdened with a dead-weight employee, irrespective of how technically brilliant they are.

You want an employee who is thoughtful, proactive, and someone who has the ability to problem-solve independently.

An employee who is willing to take on challenges and stretch themselves to meet the demands of the role - because they want what is best for the business.

And this is where they demonstrate their sense of ownership and pride in their work by going above and beyond.

A desire for continuous learning and improvement in their field

The tech space is ever-changing; which means that your candidates need to be curious and always striving for constant improvement.

In other words, they must have the ability to adopt new tools and methods, in a timely manner.

Keep This In Mind

While it's impossible for a candidate to have all of these traits, they should at least demonstrate some level of potential in each area.

But, if you do want to find out whether they're technically skilled and have the right attitude, here is a solution you can use:

Create a technical challenge - you can use our Online Technical Test to help you find candidates with the right skills and abilities. This is a great way to test the claims of your candidates even if you are not technical

So, any other attributes that might be useful to know about?

Absolutely. 

In fact, we’ve prepared a comprehensive list of the skills and attributes that technical hires need to have: 

  • Cultural fit
  • Attention to Detail
  • Creativity and Innovative Thinking Skills
  • Accountability and Self-Management Skills
  • Adaptability and Flexibility 
  • Digital Literacy. 
  • Understanding of the Customer Journey and Challenges. 
  • Organizational Awareness and Business Acumen. 

But what is really important?

The Most Important Consideration in Technical Recruiting

No two companies are the same - your needs will be different from that of another business.

And just because one candidate has all the qualities you're looking for, it doesn't mean they will be a good fit for your business.

So, it's important that you take the time to find who is best suited and most likely to thrive in your culture.

Another important thing to remember is that "culture fit" in this context goes far beyond the warm and fuzzy feelings of working alongside someone.

It is about evaluating whether a candidate's attitude and skills are aligned with the culture you're trying to build - so they will be able to pull their weight and do the job well.

What does this mean for you? 

Understanding your candidates is a part of creating an effective culture and nurturing relationships that will last well beyond their tenure at your company.

If you don't make this a priority during the hiring process, your candidates will walk (or get fired) and you'll be left with a team of people who don't know how to work together.

And that means you need to go beyond looking at their technical skills and dig deeper into what drives them.

If they don't want to learn new things, they'll get bored and leave.

If they don't want to work in a collaborative environment, the team will suffer. 

The list goes on.

So, do your due diligence. 

And if you're struggling to find the right person, you can submit your requirements here and our experts can help you identify which candidates will be best suited for your business.

Awesome! Is there anything else I should know? 

Yes, you're almost done. It’s time to take the next step and implement your technical recruiting strategy:

Strategies to Attract High-Quality Tech Talents For Your Company

It's time to make the move! 

Attraction: Make Tech Talents Want To Work For You

Times have changed. Flip roles for a moment - do you want to work for the same company forever?

Probably not. 

Tech Talents are no different, they have a choice, and they want to work with the best! 

So how do you make them choose your company? 

Create a great candidate experience

Think about your first time applying for a new job - you want to be accepted and valued as an individual, not just another candidate on the pile. Also, you want to get a sense of how you'll fit in - what it will be like working there, and if you feel like they value your skills. 

And that's exactly how tech talents are choosing their next company! 

So, how can you make them feel that way?

You need to make sure they are taken care of before, during, and after the recruitment process - otherwise, they'll go somewhere else. 

The best way to do this is by making a simple, but calculated investment into the candidate experience. 

Prop Up Your brand

Tech Talents are always looking to learn about their next company, so make sure they find out what you're all about. 

Invest in your company's website, create a brand that speaks to them and share it on social media.

Create an employer value proposition - this is what you stand for and why they should choose you, and use it to position your company as a great place to work.

This will make them want to know more.

And don't be afraid to talk about the future! 

Candidates want to know that they are valued and will have a big impact on the company.

So, share your goals and how you plan to achieve them - that will get their attention! 

Just keep in mind that you'll need to back it up with strong evidence, so they can see what you're all about.

Finally, create and optimize a career (Work For Us) page. 

This is where you'll list all of your open positions, as well as details about your company, culture, and career opportunities. Be sure to include a link to this page on all of your recruitment sources.

Allow Current Employees Sing Your Praises

It's not enough to have a great employer value proposition. Strong evidence is needed to back up those big promises.

So, you need to find the right way for your current employees - or as we like to call them, your brand ambassadors - to tell the world about their experience working for your company.

You can do this by:

Creating a referral program:

Giving current employees the ability to refer their friends and previous colleagues for open positions will help you attract top talent. 

Use Testimonials:

Make them feel that they are part of something, and give employees a platform to share their experiences.  It will show the world what your company is really about, and give candidates a sense of how they would fit in.

Use Video Testimonials: 

Candidates don't want to hear from a stranger, but they will listen when their friends say great things about your company.

Videos are a great way to make this happen. 

You can create videos with current employees and use them across your website, social media profiles, or even job postings.

Or, you can create a video platform and allow current employees to upload their own videos. 

Let them share what they love about your company in their own words.

This will show your company's story in a powerful way - without you having to say a word.

Answer "What's in it for me?"

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when hiring tech talents is neglecting to answer this question. 

Candidates are not just looking for a job, they are looking for a career. 

Communicate benefits and career opportunities clearly. Whether it's through the employer value proposition, job postings, or social media.

Show them what you have to offer, and how they can use their skills for your company's success - make it easy for them to see the big picture. 

Salary, Incentives, Perks, Learning Opportunities are all great examples of benefits that can help you answer their question.

Make this information available and easy to find on your website, or in job postings.

And don't be afraid to show it off! 

Communicate effectively and regularly

There are 2 sides to this.

First, you need to make sure your online reputation comes across as a great place to work. 

Do this by blogging. Blog posts allow you to share information and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Also, ensure you optimize your website for candidate experience, and share company culture content across social media profiles.

Second, you need to share information about your company with candidates. 

This can be done through social media, job postings, and even events where they can meet your company. It also means updates on how their application is progressing, if they are invited to an interview or not.

This is crucial because you want them to feel like they are part of the process.

There is often a great deal that goes into hiring tech talent - it's not just about finding the right person for your company.

By keeping them in the loop, you will make sure they feel valued - and that's what they are looking for.

Build relationships with key influencers

Take time to build relationships with people who are key influencers in your industry. 

They can be bloggers, journalists, or even company leaders - whatever works for your company.

The idea here is to leverage them to sing your company's praises story to a covet-worthy audience which can help you attract top talent.

This will also establish you as a thought leader in your industry, which can help candidates understand why working for you is the right choice.

Consider offering an internship program

Offering an internship program can help you find top talent that might not have been on your radar yet - recruiting new potential employees from the get-go.

Plus, it gives your company a chance to test drive the candidate before you hire them for a full-time position. 

For the talent, it's a great opportunity to see what working at your company is like, and by establishing a sentimental connection between your company and the candidate, you have a better chance of hiring them long-term.

Seek out the Best Candidates From the Right Sourcing Channels

Active sourcing is an effective way to find great talent, but it doesn't mean that you should be using every single recruiting channel available.

It is essential that you focus on the channels that can bring you better candidates.

In that case, the following are examples of the best sourcing channels for tech professionals:

Events, Meetups, and Conferences

Networking has always been a major source of sourcing for tech professionals. Attending developer conferences, hackathons, meetups, and other tech-related events is an excellent idea to establish new relationships with potential candidates.

Others:

  • Professional Organizations:  It is a great place to start your technical recruiting efforts. In most cases, they also have technical conferences and events.
  • College Alumni Networks:  Most college graduates seek to further their education or find a better job.

Online Tech-specific Platforms

While it may be difficult to get noticed on the larger social media platforms, building your own presence in niche job boards and communities can help you attract a great pool of candidates. These jobs boards and communities are frequented by the best tech professionals, which means that you'll be able to find many potential candidates here.

Examples are:

  • GitHub - Ideal for finding great software developers
  • Dribbble - Ideal for creative digital designers
  • AngelList - Ideal for startup founders and tech professionals looking to work with startups.
  • Hiremotely - The best bet for businesses looking for ready-to-hire remote tech professionals from around the world that have undergone a rigorous screening process.

Other worthy mentions:

Recruit from your Existing Network and Contacts

Your current employees may know other people that would be perfect for the job. If you don't have a recruitment process in place, or if you are looking to expand your network and contacts within the tech industry, then it's time to look at the people you already know.

In this case, your employees must be encouraged to refer their friends and colleagues as potential candidates for job openings.

Most companies provide a referral bonus to the employees who refer quality candidates, which enables them to make some extra money at the same time as they help their company.

Job Boards and Traditional Recruiting Channels 

Many companies are still using traditional recruiting channels, such as job boards and newspaper ads. These channels are not exactly the best options for tech professionals. On the other hand, they can still be used as a complementary tool to your sourcing efforts and should never be ignored outright.
LinkedIn

Many technology experts are using LinkedIn to find new jobs. It is, therefore, significantly important for you to create an eye-catching and informative profile that can stand out in the crowd.

Social Media Platforms

You can find many high-quality tech professionals through social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Google.

Our Advice: It's not worth it - too much time, money, and effort are needed to source candidates well through social media.

Evaluate Candidates Properly

Understanding a candidate's technical skills and experience can be quite challenging. Make sure that all the necessary information is available to you during the evaluation process to avoid a situation where your company hires the wrong person.

Without wasting any time, you should:

Identify the job description and hiring criteria needed

You can look at similar roles within your organization or other companies in your industry.

Once you have a clear picture of what's required, make sure that the job description is customized to reflect this information. It is also a good idea to include some information about your company profile, culture, and values.

Initial sifting and sorting

Depending on the number of applications you receive, it may be difficult to go through every single application. Therefore, we recommend that you create a simple sorting system where you can sort through applicants quickly. You may want to set up a simple spreadsheet or use parts of your applicant tracking system (ATS) for the sorting process.

Research their work history

This is essential for evaluating a candidate's technical skills and experience.

The initial step is to check their portfolio and other online channels to verify their technical skills and experience. 

Additionally look out for testimonials, references, and reviews written by other people. This would provide you with a glimpse into their personality and work ethic.

You can also check other channels such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, or Quora. These are excellent sources of information to determine if they have what it takes to be a good fit.

Phone screens and technical tests

Once you have selected the candidates that seem suitable for your open job, it is time to conduct a phone screen or technical test.

During the call, you should ask some behavioral questions to understand what it would be like working with them in a team.

It is also a good idea to ask some technical questions related to the job description and skills required for the role you are hiring for.

An important tip to keep in mind is that you should never ask brain teasers, which are designed for tricking the candidate. Only use questions that can be answered in a clear and concise way.

Don't forget to also check their technical skills -whether it is coding, animation, or hardware knowledge before making a final decision.

If you want to hire a software developer and are not tech-savvy, you can use our Online Code Testing service.

Reference Checks

References are a great way to learn more about a candidate's true technical skills and experience. Make sure that you ask for the best references possible, such as former managers and co-workers.

Interview Candidates

Candidates that have made the cut should be invited for an interview. This is where you can assess their communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and other qualities that are needed for the role.

Before the interview, make sure that you have all the necessary information about each candidate. You should also try to come up with relevant questions for each person, and ask for examples where possible.

Examples of Interview Questions to ask tech professionals:

  • Tell us about you and your experience.
  • What are you looking for in an ideal company?
  • Why should we hire you and not someone else? What can you do for us that other candidates can't?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What are your expectations from the job?
  • What would you describe as your greatest achievement so far?
  • Describe your work style. How do you manage projects and deadlines?
  • What would you do if your boss was not available to help with a project?
  • Can you describe a typical day in your role at work? What is the most challenging part of the day?
  • How do you stay up to date with changes in your industry and market?
  • How would you handle a difficult client/colleague?
  • Are there other personal projects that you're involved in?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

Make sure that all your questions are relevant to the role and the company. Most would be open-ended to encourage conversation.

After the interview, you should take some time to review your notes and think about who you would like to hire.

Our advice: Throughout this process, always keep the hiring criteria and job description in mind.

What next?

Offer the job and get them on board!

At the end of the process, you should have selected a few candidates that are suitable for your open position. The next step is to make them an offer and get them on board.

It is a good idea to let them know about the benefits and opportunities that they will have at your company. You should also include a section with all their compensation details such as salary, bonus, and equity.

Offer a good salary range but make sure that it is enough to attract top talent in your niche/city. 

If they accept your offer, make sure that they sign an employment agreement and have a chat with your HR team to get everything in order.

Onboarding

Onboarding is the process of making your new hire feel comfortable and familiar with your company culture. During this time, they will learn more about their new role, the company's processes, and values. You should have a clear onboarding strategy in place to make the most out of this process and set them up for success from their first day.

The Secret Sauce for Successful Tech Candidate Sourcing

Seasoned recruiters know that recruiting is not just about finding the right candidate, but also delivering them. 

Time and money are saved if both companies and candidates are on the same page.

Hiremotely solves the problems of the traditional candidate sourcing channels (time-consuming, lack of qualified candidates, etc.) by offering pre-screened and vetted remote tech professionals.

The magic of Hiremotely is that it eliminates the need for extensive candidate sourcing and screening, by matching companies and tech professionals that are the best fit for each other.

Curious how Hiremotely works? Simple!

Hiremotely applies a five-step process to make sure that both companies and tech professionals are satisfied with using our platform. 

  1. Signup (if you don't have a profile already) or Login (if you already have a profile with Hiremotely).
  2. Fill out the requirements form - this is where you'll be prompted to enter some information about your unique needs, in terms of tech talent. All information is kept private and will never be shared with any third party.
  3. Expert Matching: Based on your requirements, our experts would then analyze your tech needs and market dynamics to find you the best-fit candidates. Our experts will then send you those that meet your needs, by checking their references and past work experience. This would take no more than 72-hours after you submit your requirements form.
  4. Zero-risk free trial: After you receive your list of potential candidates, you can then work with your most preferred candidate for 8-hours at no cost. With this, you can determine if the candidate is a good fit for your team. It is non-obligatory so there is no harm in trying - you can cancel the trial at any time if they are not the right fit for your organization.
  5. Contracting: If you are satisfied with your trial candidate, then Hiremotely will help you through the contracting process. Payment and contracts are all done through Hiremotely and everything will be settled between you and the candidate.

How do we make sure that the tech professionals are genuine? We carry out an extensive, yet fast and efficient background check before we make the matching.

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How Can Hiremotely Help You?

Hiremotely enables you to reduce time-to-hire drastically. 

In addition, Hiremotely helps you reduce the turnover rate of your employees by providing a ready-to-hire pool of remote tech professionals.

Furthermore, Hiremotely eliminates the need to spend money on expensive ads and job boards.

Hiremotely is a complete end-to-end hiring platform that allows you to quickly and easily find the right tech professional.

It even provides a secure payment channel, saving your company from the hassle of dealing with freelancers.

Hiremotely provides a one-stop solution for all your technical recruiting needs, from finding the right candidate to screening them and finally, onboarding them at your own convenience thanks to its in-built remote hiring tools.

With hourly rates as low as $65 and zero hiring fees, Hiremotely is the perfect alternative to expensive recruitment agencies.

Just to reiterate:

If you are a company that is looking for the best-fit tech talent, Hiremotely can help you find them in less than 72 hours minus the heavy costs and time commitment.

And the best part is, you can start your free trial from the moment you sign up!

Let Hiremotely help you find your next tech ninja today - just enter your requirements here.

Technical Recruiting Tips 

The following are some useful tips when hiring technical talent.

Do your homework! 

Research the market, know what you are looking for in terms of skills and experience. This will save you a lot of time in the long run and potentially, money spent on hiring tech talent that isn't suited for your jobs.

Hire slow

Be patient when looking for tech talent and don't let the pressure to hire someone get in your way. There is nothing wrong with saying "no" to a candidate and waiting for the right one.

Don't pinch pennies on quality

Talents in the tech industry are not as easy to find as they may seem. Therefore, expect to pay a good salary to the right candidate. Hiring low-quality candidates is a waste of time, money, and resources.

Set your requirements right

Before you start recruiting, make sure you clearly state what your requirements are. By doing this, you will save yourself a lot of time and trouble from having to go through applications that are not up to the mark.

Get referrals

A good source of tech talent is through referrals, whether it's from existing employees or even people within your industry.

Keep an open mind

Do not be too set on any one skill or experience level; you may find that the perfect candidate doesn't have the exact skillset that you require.

Hire for culture fit

This is a very important part of hiring tech talent. If you have a good cultural fit within your organization, they will be more likely to stay with the company for an extended period of time.

Use Hiremotely to hire remote tech talent

Sourcing, screening, interviewing, and hiring the right tech talent can be a tough job. This is not only time-consuming but also costs you money that could instead go into growing your business. Leverage Hiremotely's complete end-to-end hiring platform to find the best tech talent. 

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