4 technical recruiting mistakes you can’t afford to make

To overcome the hurdles of a contracted technical candidate pool and increased demand, here are the tech talent-hiring mistakes you need to avoid.

Prior to the pandemic, hiring the tech talent you needed to move your business forward wasn’t easy, even in the most candidate-rich job market climates. As most seasoned technical recruiters will tell you, technical professionals like engineers and software developers have always been known for not wanting to be found. 

Today, the technical recruiting landscape is even more challenging. Yes, current headlines may paint the picture that, thanks to the Great Resignation, more job seekers than ever are looking for greener pastures. However, recent data shows that one of the key exceptions to this narrative is technical talent. 

In 2021, job postings for technical roles increased by 81%, but the number of applicants for those roles decreased by 25%. That means companies like yours with critical open technical positions are operating in a much more competitive talent acquisition environment. 

👉 Related: Ultimate technical recruiting guide for companies and candidates

Unfortunately, we can’t make the engineers, product managers, and developers you need miraculously appear through some sort of sorcery – we wish we could! However, we can make your technical recruiting efforts more effective by sharing the most common tech hiring mistakes we see companies make. 

Not making their potential impact clear

Great engineers love to sink their proverbial teeth into complex problems, where their solutions have a measurable, meaningful impact. So, if you’re not prepared to answer questions like …

  • “In this role, what are the specific problems I will be working to solve directly, and why do they matter?”
  • “Will there be a measurable impact from the work I would be doing?”

… you’re going to have a problem. 

The last thing all-star technical professionals want to be is a cog in a mindless machine, where the work they’re doing doesn’t matter. They want to be fulfilled by their work, so not having answers at the ready can derail your technical recruiting.

👉 Related: How to interview and evaluate candidates for startup jobs

To avoid this pitfall, think about how to articulate any unique or exciting differentiators about the problems your new hires would be responsible for solving. For instance, what internal challenges will they be helping your company overcome? What greater purpose would they be moving forward for your customers?

Then, include that kind of information proactively in your job descriptions and speak to those points proactively in any initial conversations with technical candidates.

Operating with yesterday’s technology

In addition to wanting to be excited about their work, top-tier technical hires generally avoid organizations where they’re operating with outmoded technology coding languages and platforms. Instead, they want opportunities to do their work on the edge of technology. 

If your company is currently lagging somewhat behind in the technology area, you need to be mindful of this. You either need to make leveling up your technology an investment focus before in parallel with your hiring efforts, or you need to be aware that you may attract lower-quality candidates.

Your website fails to speak to potential candidates

Recent research is clear:

Image credit: datapeople

The company website is still the number one way technical professionals organically source their opportunities. It doesn’t matter how many hiring platforms you leverage or how active your LinkedIn presence is: if your company isn’t optimized for job seekers – technical or otherwise – you’ve got a problem. 

To solve this, review your website as if you’re a potential candidate. Is it easy for you to find your careers page and a listing of what positions you currently have open? Is your brand messaging clear around your purpose and mission? Do you speak directly to your company culture, core values, and employee benefits?

If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you have some work to do. Not only is your website a source for tech talent to find and apply for open positions directly, but candidates who find and apply for roles through other sources or sites will also likely research your company online. 

Not using hiring technology as part of your hiring strategy

If you have technical hiring plans that extend beyond a single role – e.g., if you intend to build out an engineering team (or teams) over the next six to 12 months – this particular point is for you. Even with the most talented technical recruiter on staff, you may also want to consider investing in a hiring platform or recruiting software. 

The right solution won’t replace your recruiter. For instance, many options on the market today offer capabilities of automating manual processes, such as screening first-round applications and follow-up responses, so you can shore up inefficiencies in your hiring processes and enable scalability. 

Of course, what qualifies as the “right” solution for you will be unique to your company’s hiring needs, goals, and challenges. Before you start evaluating your options, here are a few of the questions you need to answer:

  • How can we better leverage our in-house teams in the hiring process? 
  • What current gaps or points of failure do we have in our recruiting strategies and processes?
  • Where do we actually need the help of technology in those processes? Application management and screening? Candidate assessments? Moving applicants through the process?

Also, keep in mind that most recruiting technology solutions will only be as smart as the strategy you’ve created – particularly those purely based on automation features. If you have problems or blind spots in your processes, hiring automation solutions will only amplify them, not fix them. 

Hiring top tech talent isn’t easy, give yourself the edge

Yes, recruiting and retaining technical talent is more of an uphill battle than it used to be, but it’s certainly not impossible. 

The first step is accepting that the “If you build it, they will come” strategy of publishing job postings and crossing your fingers will not attract the tech talent you’re looking for. To overcome the hurdles of a contracted technical candidate pool and increased demand, you must invest the time and resources into technical recruiting. 

👉 Related: How to attract and recruit top tech talent in 2022 and beyond

Of course, it’s up to you to decide what advice in this article you should follow based on your circumstances. However, we encourage you to use this moment to evaluate the health of your recruiting practices, technical or otherwise. The job market is unpredictable, and the future is uncertain, so start planning for tomorrow today.