Modern Strategies to Recruit the Best Technical Staff for Your Business
Since the Great Resignation at the start of the decade, hiring and retaining technical staff has become much more difficult for businesses. The post-lockdown workforce faced a shift in priorities, which gave both employer or employee little time to react and adapt.
The rise in demand for technical and digitally-skilled workers is good news for those with desirable skills.
Therefore, businesses are becoming more creative and engaging in selecting potential candidates for their job vacancies.
It stands to reason that this high demand has made retention a potential issue as well. So, what are the best strategies for keeping good staff in the wake of this high demand?
In this article, we take a look at some of the interesting and innovative ways businesses are rising to these challenges.
It’s well-known that there is still a talent war going on in the technical services sector.
The job market is ripe with opportunities, but lacking the numbers when it comes to ideal candidates. This shortfall has created a situation where employers can’t always find the kind of staff they want for their businesses. Inevitably they sometimes have to settle for an individual who is not a good fit.
Part of this is due to a rise in digital transformation, which was expedited following worldwide COVID lockdowns. Businesses rapidly changed the way they work, thanks to technology that allowed them to work from anywhere.
Now, smartphones, the Cloud and greater connectivity have given businesses greater reach to provide their services, and also allowed better collaboration over vast distances.
This has also allowed businesses to recruit teams and individuals from much further afield than before, allowing them to work remotely, all over the world. And while this comes with its own challenges, it means that finding potential candidates to fill roles in your business has become even more difficult.
According to recruitment experts Indeed, 86% of hiring teams say it’s hard to find technical talent. So, what can be done to make sure you’re finding and enticing the right staff for your workforce in such a crowded market?
Challenges in Today’s Job Market That Make Finding Good Technical Staff Difficult
There are a number of reasons why recruitment has become a headache for employers in recent times. The market has been both buoyant and unpredictable for many, and while growth has been apparent for Managed Service Providers (MSPs), it has been difficult to fill many technical roles.
Some of the challenges in tech recruitment today, include:
Talent shortage – a skills focus on recruitment has come about partially following an increase in digital transformation demand
Attracting the right candidates – the shortage of talent has made finding suitable candidates much harder as well
Hiring within a tight timeframe – the average number of days it takes to find a suitable professional candidate increased to 47 days in 2023, according to PersonnelToday.com
Economic challenges – unpredictable economic factors can stymie growth, making recruiting top talent difficult for employers
Diversity and inclusion – not all the challenges are unwelcome. We need to embrace the future of the industry with more representation in the sector
The chart below, taken from TechTarget.com, highlights the most common IT skill types that face shortages.
Making Finding the Right People Easier
As we’ve already established, it’s a challenging task to recruit good people for your organisation. However, there are ways to make it easier for yourself if you’re willing to put in some extra effort.
Building Your Brand
Building a brand that will attract the type of people you want for your business will make it much easier for you to recruit those people that are a good fit for you.
There is a difference between having a recognisable brand and having desirable brand values that may attract the kind of talent that want to work with you.
Showing strong community links, being accountable for your green policies and having a good company culture which fosters trust and accountability are all things that are good for your brand. Not only will having a strong brand attract customers to your door, but also it can attract good staff too.
Technical Incentives and Training
While we’re talking specifically about attracting technical talent, you are going to want to be adopting the best and most exciting tools available for your business, in line with current technical trends.
If you’re running a number of end-of-line technologies, rather than state-of-the-art hardware and applications, you might miss out on attracting the sort of dynamic go-getters that want to be more hands-on with up-to-date tech.
Furthermore, if you’re able to provide your new starters with training on new software and technology, you’re more likely to attract engineers who want to develop their skills. This means they’re more likely to stay and develop within your business.
Looking for the Right Attitude
While a certain level of aptitude is always desirable, often it’s the right attitude and soft skills that might be considered a better fit for your team. This is especially true in customer-facing technical roles.
For entry-level roles, you can often encourage employees with the right attitude to upskill and develop over time.
For more specialised roles, you might want to attract the type of person who is curious, and eager to solve problems.
Whatever the role, it’s worth taking the time to see if they’re a good fit for your brand and business culture. Will they be able to grow and contribute positively to your business?
Also, aside from higher pay and more responsibility, modern workforces are interested in a better work/life balance and to feel valued by their employer. Tapping into this and offering better perks is how you attract people who don’t suit a traditional 9-to-5.
How Tech Tools are Helping Businesses to Find Great Technical Staff
One of the good things to come out of the pandemic was the boost in use of video communication tools. Video calling apps like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and others have become widespread everyday means of communication. This means the recruitment process doesn’t have to use your office boardroom (at least at the early stages of recruitment).
Furthermore, aptitude tests are better than ever. AI-driven assessment tools can check coding quality for critical thinking, as well as accuracy. This gives employers a more-rounded view of who they’re recruiting.
If you’re a savvy user of AI chatbots like ChatGPT, you could ask it to design job adverts, interview questions and interpret the results to select the best candidate for you. Although you might need to invest a bit of time to practice and tweak the variables before using it with real applicant data. Furthermore, you should be aware of the risks of using chatbots to run your recruitment engine, if this is your preference.
There are lots of recruitment software tools out there. Here are a few examples:
Pinpoint is a web-based applicant tracking system that uses a customisable website to showcase your job vacancies. Once visitors apply, the system handles the recruitment workflow, interviews, offers, etc. You can create talent pools, candidate scorecards and view analytics dashboards too.
When it comes to bulk hiring, Grayscale have developed a text recruiting platform to leverage the power of text messaging to engage, pool, invite to interview, hire and onboard. It cleverly automates a lot of the hard work, and allows you to manage the process for multiple recruitment campaigns through a single dashboard.
Similar to Pinpoint, Team Tailor is an applicant tracking system with clever automation and an attractive employer branded careers website. Smart trigger automation helps save time, and there’s a product aimed at smaller businesses too.
If you need to carry out candidate aptitude tests, then Test Gorilla has a vast library of tests that can be customised to suit what you’re looking for. Then, break down candidate results in detailed analysis reports that lets you compare your candidates to help you find the most suitable.
Where to Go to Find Good Technical Talent
Aside from recruitment agencies and attending in-person job fairs, there are other places you can go to to find your next hire.
On Social Media
If you’re an active business on social media then this a great place to generate interest in any job vacancies you may have. Social media is a great place to grow your business’s online brand, and announce that ‘you’re hiring.’
On LinkedIn you can add any vacancies you have right from your profile page. It will add a little green banner to your profile picture if you’re hiring as well, to let people know that you are open to enquiries about available roles.
Within Your Own Network
One the best places to look for talent could be within your own network of peers.
There may be a number of different reasons why your peers may know of good people to hire, but are unable to hire them themselves. Or perhaps, a good member of staff is moving out of the area and needs to change company.
Whatever the case, it’s always worth asking your network if they know anyone who might be suitable. It will also build stronger links if you ask for help, and later offer a way of helping in return.
Look to Other Industries for Transferable Skills
Where the number of ideal candidates in the pool are scarce, it’s often a good tactic to look for candidates further afield with useful transferable skills.
Even seemingly ideal candidates can fail to live up to expectations if they are not a good fit for your business culture or if they lack the interpersonal skills needed to fulfil their potential. Simply having the knowledge and aptitude required to do the job is not enough if you want to hire for the long term.
There are a number of benefits to hiring from other industries. For example, applicants new to the industry have a fresh perspective on things, and they won’t be set in their ways about how to approach their work. However, they may need more hands-on training before they can be effective in their roles.
Levelling Up Your Recruitment Process
Another thing you can do as an employer is to level-up your recruitment process.
There are several ways you can up your recruiting game in a crowded market. From streamlining and refining your recruitment processes, to personalising the contact you have with potential candidates and making sure they’re a good fit for your brand.
You can even use AI or specialist recruitment software to analyse a prospect’s suitability, or create a pool of formerly unsuccessful candidates and leavers to invite to apply for future vacancies.
It can’t hurt to have a decent specialist recruiter in your network too. Not only will they be in a position to identify potential applicants, but they’ll be able to offer you advice on how to attract the sort of talent you’re looking for.
As both business professionals and members of the IT community, we thrive on our adaptability, and the arena of technical talent acquisition is no different.
Approaching recruitment in a different way will set your business apart from the competition. If you are open an honest about what candidates can expect from you as an employer, and what your brand is about, it can draw the right people to your business.
There’s no panacea for a shortage of technical staff, but you can be creative about who you choose to onboard and develop in your business.
And while you may be in competition with your IT peers, they can be a good source to turn to if you’re looking to recruit for a particular role. They can also help you in other ways, such as recommending software or drafting job role specifications.
Whatever the route you decide to take, the skills gap is not going away any time soon.
What tricks or tactics do you use to find good staff for your business? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.