Recruiting for technologists has never been harder than it is right now 2021, and forces are converging to make it even worse.
A perfect storm that will pit companies against a scarce market and demanding candidates just landed on the technology recruiting market—and it’s set to get much, much worse.
Today, companies disoriented by remote hiring and uncertain times move slowly and with great indecision when hiring IT resources. They fill their calendar with remote interviews, and delay making decisions. Unconvinced of what the right hire looks like, they default to just shop around. Businesses are spending 50% more time interviewing per hire over last year. And they’re taking days and weeks longer to make offers, giving candidates ample time to accrue multiple offers.
And candidates are enjoying their candidate market. Unemployment in technology is at 2.4%, making qualified candidates increasingly difficult to find. Employers need to recruit passive candidates who may not be looking. Plus, with the uptick of remote work, these same employers are competing with other companies from all over the world. Then, even if they do get an offer to move, their current employers know their value and the market and are twice as likely to give them a counter-offer to entice them to stay.
Then there’s fraud. People are accepting multiple jobs simultaneously and not showing up. Charlatans misrepresent skills to get a job and become duds on arrival. Hidden in homes, employers and candidates alike go silent on a job collaboration. These all add friction and doubt to the process.
And, according to a recent Microsoft report, the total number of “technology-oriented” jobs will increase from 41 million in 2020 to 190 million in 2025. To put that in context, IT lost about 100,000 in 2020 due to COVID-19. As of February, we have already recovered that and need to find millions more.
Hiring is not going to get easier, so companies need to get smarter.
Companies need to recognize that they only have a limited amount of swings at bat—so they must make the most of each time. They need to be fast, decisive and in-tune with the market.
So, my biggest advice?
- Organize your interview process to move quickly. Figure out how to move candidates through a process to an offer in days. Do not give a good candidate time to look elsewhere—you’re going to spend more money. Either by time and effort to find another qualified candidate, or a counter-offer to close them.
- Remember, in this market companies need to sell themselves. Every step of the way, from how smooth the recruiting process goes, to the perks in the offer—companies need to sell the candidate on why they should want to work there. Always be selling.
- Don’t make any assumptions. Dig deep with candidates to really understand their motivations. Pose scenarios. Re-check frequently. The story is sure to evolve, and you can’t afford to miss a beat.
- Use tools to mitigate risk. Separate the screening from the interviewing, and who supports it. Create structured assessments that can be taken anytime and reviewed asynchronously. Tools like Codility, CodeSignal or Filtered will help eliminate weak candidates early in the process, fast track qualified candidates and remove bias in your process.
- Use headhunters who have a proven network. Good headhunters spend their days cultivating their network and selling win-win employment relationships. In IT, this means closely following high-caliber passive talent that is out of reach for most employers, and using those relationships to influence great candidates to consider jobs when they are not looking.
As this perfect storm unfolds, companies are going to need more focus on talent acquisition than ever before. To remain competitive, recruitment processes must be rethought to be faster, more decisive and protect against fraud.