Competing for tech talent means being a kung fu master — a peaceful warrior. Tech recruiters must be both aggressive and gentle, often in the same moment, throughout the entire hiring process.
Every industry has its own arsenal of tips, tricks and best practices for hiring, but tech companies have had to get especially industrious to compete for the world’s most sought-after talent, and Indeed is no different. In today’s tight labor market, other industries can take a page from the tech hiring playbook to maximize the success of their recruiting efforts.
Here are four lessons I've learned from working in technology talent acquisition that all recruiters can benefit from.
1. Source active and passive candidates
For every new job requisition that’s opened, the most adept tech recruiters look to both passive and active candidates to find the right fit.
To source passive candidates, start by spreading the word internally, asking your employees for referrals. Next you can use tools like Indeed Resume to locate qualified candidates. Once you’ve identified top prospects, take the time to write customized emails to each of them. This shows job seekers you’ve done your homework and can help you stand out from the pack. It can also boost your chances of getting a response, since many candidates will ignore an email that looks like a template.
Tech employers are notorious for aggressively targeting and working to poach passive candidates from competitors, but the best tech recruiters also recognize the value of active candidates — those who come to you first. Active candidates know what they want and are ready for change, and 70% of talent leaders we surveyed believe active candidates are more motivated to succeed in a new job.
When recruiting active candidates, be sure to verify whether or not they’re a referral from a current employee, and if they are, treat their application with a little more urgency.
2. Get more from your phone interviews
We all know a resume doesn’t tell the full story about a candidate, which is why the phone screen is crucial. You already use phone interviews to clarify a candidate’s experience and gauge the way they talk about their responsibilities, background and goals. But you can take the phone interview further by using it to test for technical skills that are critical to success in a role.
At Indeed, we use screen-sharing software to watch candidates write code during the phone interview. You might not be searching for coding skills, but you can use this time to talk through a technical situation the candidate might have to deal with on the job. A technical screening process could involve different tactics for different employers, but at its core it means pinpointing the qualities you need to add to your team and identifying a process that reveals whether someone has those qualities and is ready for an on-site interview.
Ask the tough questions right away to confirm critical qualifications or identify red flags up front. If there’s anything about the candidate that concerns you, address it first. If there’s a question you think will be hard to ask, ask that first.
3. Use the on-site visit for more than just interviews
Look beyond the typical round of interviews for creative ways to use a candidate’s on-site visit to sell your company and check for cultural fit. Introduce the candidate to the team they might be working with and give them time to interact. Does the candidate communicate well with potential team members? Does he or she gel with the team’s dynamic? At Indeed, we expose candidates to the rigors of technical whiteboard tests with our teams to see how they respond to pressure.
When you’re recruiting for hard-to-find skills, a traditional interview structure won’t always bring out the qualities you need. For long-term hiring success, you need to find people who feel connected to your company goals and will trumpet your company mission to the outside world. Craft interview questions that bring out a candidate’s values and passions to gauge whether they align with those of the organization.
The on-site visit is also a chance for recruiters and hiring managers to show their passion for the role and the company. When you believe in what you’re selling, candidates feed off your energy and will either reflect your excitement back to you — or not. Take this time to sell the perks, compensation package and quality of life that come with working at your company.
4. Make the offer competitive
Tech salaries are some of the most competitive out there, but they’re also heavily dependent on location, cost of living and income tax. Incentivizing candidates with in-demand skills to pick one major tech hub over another, or (an even harder task) to accept a job in a local economy that’s dominated by industries other than tech, requires employers to come up with convincing and competitive offers.
Recruiters in non-tech fields can learn from tech companies’ strategic approach to calculating offers. Ask about compensation in your first conversation with a candidate so you can eliminate mismatches early in the process. When the time comes to make an offer, use city data and cost of living calculators to determine a fair and equitable compensation package for the job location. Show the candidate the value of the offer in relation to these key contextual factors.
We researched tech salaries in depth to create our report, Where are the Highest Paying Tech Jobs in the US? For employers outside the tech industry who are weighing the costs of an expansion, trying to improve employee retention, or looking to entice top talent away from competitors, the report provides useful context you can use to get a clear idea of how much you need to offer candidates.
Are you ready to put these lessons from the tech industry to work for your own organization? Post a job for free on Indeed today.