Bill Venteicher headshot
Bill VenteicherJune 21, 2024
Topics: Recruiter Experience

Recruiting Tech Talent: 7 Tips for 2024

Tech recruiting — the process of identifying and hiring best-fit candidates for IT and technical roles — is mission-critical for organizational success across industries. But it’s different from other types of recruitment, and it has its own distinct challenges. Attracting top tech talent takes more than a snappy job posting, and finding an approach that works is often the most difficult part.

If you lead a talent acquisition team or an HR department, this isn’t news to you. You know what it’s like to deal with issues such as clunky, disjointed tech stacks and generic, outdated processes that only work as fast as your budget allows. In such a competitive space, you have to act quickly if you want to get the attention of the best IT professionals. But the key is finding a solution that optimizes efficiency and the overall talent recruitment and acquisition experience — for all stakeholders including recruiters, managers, and candidates.

This article will help you take the next step in improving your IT and technical recruiting strategy by exploring obstacles tech recruiters often face and sharing trusted tips for overcoming them.

Let’s start by taking a closer look at some of the significant challenges that may be keeping you and your team from achieving success.

In This Article

    Common Tech Recruiting Challenges

    While some of the issues that complicate tech recruiting have lingered for years and will likely stick around for much longer, others have emerged as a result of those long-standing challenges. If you want to make the most of your recruitment process, it’s essential to address them all. This process may seem daunting, but it’s the first step in creating an effective strategy for attracting, hiring, and retaining top candidates. Here are some of the most common tech recruiting challenges to identify and overcome:

    Shortage of Tech Talent

    When early adopters of business technology jumped on the opportunity to develop and invest in new tools to get ahead of their competitors, their need for internal tech professionals increased significantly. They needed new teams to run those tools, systems, and programs and develop innovative technology.

    Now that this technology is a must-have for business success and not just a nice-to-have, the demand for IT and tech talent is higher than ever before — and research shows it’s not slowing down. Between 1990 and 2011, the number of jobs in the computer services industry increased from about 410,000 to approximately 1.5 million. By 2023, that number had reached 9.6 million, and employment is expected to grow by more than double the rate of overall employment through 2034.

    But, those numbers only reflect the number of people employed in tech, not the total demand. Despite employment growth, there’s still a massive shortage of professionals who have the required skills and technical experience to meet an organization’s needs. This is due largely to the dynamic nature of the IT industry. The need for specialized talent grows as technology evolves, and that can be tricky to navigate when there are limited qualified candidates in the job market. Here are some of the most in-demand tech roles, what they do, and why they’re so critical:

    • DevOps Engineer: Serving as a bridge between software development and IT operations teams, DevOps engineers manage and maintain processes for continuous integration, testing, and deployment. These processes are key to accelerating software delivery and improving product quality, making the skills and expertise of DevOps engineers among the highest in demand in the tech sector.

    • Cloud Engineer: The shift away from on-premises IT and growing reliance on cloud-based services has increased the demand for cloud engineers, who build and maintain cloud infrastructure. Their work enables businesses to leverage cloud capabilities for scalability, flexibility, and innovation.

    • Cybersecurity Analyst: As cyber threats continue to increase, the demand for cybersecurity analysts is surging. By safeguarding organizations against cyber attacks and ensuring data security, they have a critical role in monitoring organizations’ digital footprints, tools, endpoints, sensitive customer data, and intellectual data.

    • Data Scientist: The rise of data-driven decision-making has increased demand for data scientists, who analyze and interpret complex data sets. The insights they provide can have a significant impact on an organization’s strategy and performance.

    • Full-Stack Developer: As some of the most versatile tech professionals, full-stack developers are in high demand because of their ability to manage both front-end and back-end software development. They’re especially valued by small businesses and startups, as their skill set allows them to handle development processes affordably and efficiently.

    Competition Among Employers

    With innovations becoming more nuanced, organizations can now use technology to improve efficiency in virtually any area of operations. This has made tech stacks more complex, so IT professionals need more specialized skills to qualify for certain roles. And as those roles increase in demand, candidates who have the right qualifications become fewer and farther between. That’s why there are currently 3.5 million unfilled positions in cybersecurity alone.

    With one survey reporting that the top tech recruitment challenge is a lack of candidates with the necessary skills or experience, the data shows that competition has become a significant concern for both candidates and employers. Candidates who have in-demand skills have the upper hand, since there are many more jobs than qualified candidates. This makes competing with other employers a primary concern among tech recruiters, who must identify and attract top talent before they lose candidates to other companies across many different industry verticals.

    Some ways organizations can stay ahead of the competition include:

    1. Emphasize Employer Branding: Building a strong employer brand is crucial for attracting top tech talent. Showcase your company culture, values, and career progression opportunities through your website, social media, and employee testimonials. Invest in a career site that tells your unique story

    2. Promote Remote Work Opportunities: Offering remote work options can significantly expand your talent pool. Many tech professionals prefer flexible work arrangements, so highlighting remote work opportunities can make your company more attractive to candidates.

    3. Embrace Diversity and Inclusion: A diverse workforce drives innovation and creativity. Implement strategies to attract and retain diverse talent, such as inclusive job postings, diverse interview panels, and partnerships with organizations that promote diversity in tech.

    4. Roll Out Upskilling and Reskilling Programs: Offering upskilling and reskilling programs helps bridge skill gaps internally and reduces the need to find external candidates for every new role. Promote these programs to show candidates that your company invests in the professional growth of their employees.

    5. Make Competitive Benefits Packages Available: In addition to salaries, offer competitive benefits packages that include health benefits, stock options, bonuses, and other perks that are attractive to tech talent. Highlight these benefits in your job postings and during the interview process.

    Evolving Hiring Requirements

    When changing job requirements impact the demand for certain roles, the hiring requirements for those roles change, too. In saturated job markets, the number of qualified candidates exceeds the number of available positions, so employers have more control over what they offer. But for high-demand tech roles, the pool of candidates is much smaller than the number of job openings, so candidates can be more specific about what they want.

    To attract top IT talent, recruiters need to know exactly what candidates are looking for — and be ready to negotiate to win candidates over. 93% of employees consider salary the most important factor when choosing a job, so pay is certainly important. But high salaries only go so far if the work isn’t rewarding. In 2022, more than 1 in 10 employees who quit their jobs left because they didn’t have career development opportunities. Keeping in mind that these surveys included participants from all career fields, it’s worth considering how much more significant these factors might be to tech candidates who have the option to be selective.

    Future of Tech Recruiting

    New technologies like cloud workloads, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are creating more opportunities — and higher demand — for tech professionals. When recruiters don’t recognize a candidate’s skills or eagerness to learn in these areas, they risk losing top talent to competitors who do. If recruiters want to attract the best tech candidates, they need strategies that evolve alongside these rapid advancements.

    It’s crucial for employers to consider the future of tech recruiting during the recruitment process, particularly if retention is the goal. There’s no question that offering attractive salaries and benefits is essential to reeling in top tech talent. But if candidates aren’t confident in their future with the company, they’re not likely to become long-term employees.

    7 Tips for Recruiting Tech Talent in 2024

    Whether you need a brand new tech recruiting strategy or you’re improving on your existing one, we can help you develop an effective approach. Here are the tips we’ll explore in this section:

    1. Optimize Your Interview Process

    2. Involve Your Tech Team

    3. Emphasize Development Opportunities

    4. Engage With Tech Communities

    5. Leverage Recruiting Tools

    6. Shift your Hiring to a Skills-Based Approach

    7. Customize Your Hiring Process for Specialized Roles

    1. Optimize Your Interview Process

    Creating effective job postings that attract the attention of top talent — which we’ll dig into more later — is an important step, but keeping a candidate’s interest during the interview process is even more critical. An essential part of recruiting tech talent is remembering: what candidates have to offer you is as important as what you have to offer them. Avoid general questions like, “What makes you a good fit for this role?” and focus on in-depth questions that show the candidate you have a genuine interest in their skills, knowledge, and experience.

    Remember, top IT candidates who are actively looking for a new job are likely sitting through a lot of interviews. The process can get exhausting for them, especially if scheduling is a hassle. In fact, more than half of candidates say easy interview scheduling is the top reason for a positive candidate experience. You can improve yours with an HR tool that automates the process of connecting with candidates and evaluating their qualifications, and schedules interviews — all without playing phone and email tag.

    Learn how automated interview scheduling can connect your hiring team with best-fit tech talent, faster. Watch the webinar.

    2. Involve Your Tech Team

    If you want to draw in best-fit candidates, you need to give them the information they’re looking for when evaluating open roles. Your internal IT team is one of your best resources for essential details to include in job descriptions, especially those for niche roles that have unique qualifications. You can also input the data they provide into an automated HR platform that assesses the current team’s skills and identifies skills gaps you need to address.

    It’s not enough to rely on a job description and basic introductions to the role to attract high-quality candidates. You need a comprehensive approach that reflects what your company and the candidate need. Involving your IT or tech team in the recruitment process is a great way to make that happen. Here’s how to do it effectively:

    • Leverage Expertise: Collaborate with hiring managers and team members to gain insights into the specific skills and qualifications needed for the role.

    • Develop Technical Assessments: Develop technical assessments or coding challenges in partnership with your tech team to evaluate candidates’ abilities accurately.

    • Focus on Cultural Fit: Involve team members in the interview process to assess not only technical skills but also how well candidates fit within the team’s dynamics and company culture.

    In addition, the professionals on your team know what it takes to succeed in tech roles and understand the specific credentials that are required for each one. If they have connections in the field who meet the criteria, there’s a possibility they’ve interacted with them in a professional setting and have insight into their work ethic. Plus, network connections trust each other’s recommendations when they’re looking for new opportunities. In fact, 17% of job seekers say that input from professional or work contacts is their most important resource when searching for a new role.

    3. Emphasize Development Opportunities

    As we discussed above, one of the biggest challenges tech recruiters face is learning what top candidates’ expect from a new company so they can attract their attention at the application stage. Internal tech teams can offer suggestions based on their own experience, but it’s important to look at the stats, too. We know that salary is the number one priority for all job seekers when they’re determining whether to accept a job, but for tech talent, pay is actually number three.

    The top reason tech professionals stay or leave their jobs is a lack of learning and development opportunities. The IT industry changes quickly, and tech professionals know they need to adopt an “always be learning” mindset to succeed. Consider using HR software with built-in professional development features like online courses, internal gigs, career pathing, and mentoring that simplifies the process of providing these resources to employees. Then, emphasize the company’s commitment to candidates’ long-term success by highlighting career development offerings in the job posting and discussing it during interviews.

    Tech professionals are known for their desire to grow and learn. As your candidates’ potential future employer, it’s your responsibility to show them that they’ll have opportunities to develop new skills and advance within your company.

    To do this, highlight the following:

    • Training Programs: Showcase the training and development programs your company offers, such as workshops, courses, and certifications.

    • Career Progression: Emphasize clear career progression paths within the organization and how employees can advance in their roles.

    • Innovative Projects: Discuss exciting and innovative projects that candidates can work on to enhance their skills and contribute to the company’s success.

    4. Engage With Tech Communities

    Firsthand insight into the industry is indispensable for recruitment teams, especially in industries as multifaceted as tech and IT. Check out online tech communities whose members may be qualified job candidates. Social media groups and professional organizations offer the opportunity to connect with IT professionals, learn about topics and job-related issues that matter to them, and stay updated on in-demand knowledge and skills.

    Engaging with tech communities helps you find talent and builds your company’s reputation as a valuable contributor to the tech industry.

    Here’s how to engage effectively:

    • Get involved in Online Forums: Participate in online forums and communities like GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Reddit, where tech professionals share knowledge and discuss industry trends.

    • Connect at Tech Meetups and Conferences: Attend and sponsor tech meetups, hackathons, and conferences to network with potential candidates and showcase your company’s involvement in the tech community.

    • Engage on Social Media: Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and specialized tech forums to share content, job postings, and insights about your company culture.

    When it comes to attending in-person tech events, research and try to attend the ones that are focused on your industry. Many organizations throughout the United States hold tech conferences, where professionals in the field learn, network, and look for jobs. Attending these conferences gives you an opportunity to familiarize IT professionals with your company and attract potential candidates for in-demand roles. With the right HR tool, you can use the data you gather to streamline processes like candidate sourcing and talent pipeline management.

    5. Leverage Recruiting Tools

    By now, you’ve probably already realized the importance of using automated and AI-powered HR tools as part of your recruiting process, but let’s take a closer look at how they can be of value to your team. The most effective HR software is one that streamlines the recruiting process by optimizing the experience for the candidate and the recruiter. It does this by automating tedious, error-prone tasks for recruitment teams and creating a hyper-personalized and easy-to-navigate hiring process for candidates.

    When you’re exploring recruiting tools, it’s also important to consider factors like whether the software can replace existing systems and whether it integrates with the systems you plan to keep. The Gartner TIME Model is a great place to start when evaluating and categorizing your current applications. It can help you decide whether a new HR platform could complement or replace the software you already have. Here are some questions you can ask yourself based on the TIME Model quadrants:

    • What tools do I have that I tolerate because they’re the only ones that meet a specific need, despite their limited contribution to business goals? The tools that meet this description fall under the Tolerate category because they have high technical fit, but their functional fit is low.

    • What tools do I have that I need to invest in because they’re essential to operations and have the potential to make significant contributions to business goals? The tools that meet this description fall under the Invest category because they have high technical and functional fit.

    • What tools do I have that I need to migrate because they’re outdated and inefficient, but they’re integral to operations and can be replaced by cloud-based AI and automation-driven replacements? The tools that meet this description fall under the Migrate category because they have low technical fit, but their functional fit is high.

    • What tools do I have that I need to eliminate because they perform poorly and are disruptive, risky, or costly? The tools that meet this description fall under the Eliminate category because they have low technical and functional fit.

    After you’ve assessed your current software, you can take a closer look at the tools in each category to determine whether an AI-powered HR platform can replace or integrate with them and help automate your recruiting processes.

    6. Shift Your Hiring to a Skills-Based Approach

    Generic hiring processes are quickly becoming an outdated practice thanks to skills-based hiring. This method centers on skills matching instead of arbitrary qualifications that may not offer as much value as skills and experience — namely, college degrees. While degrees are essential for professionals in certain fields, 32% of employers say that their company requires a degree simply because they’re standard requirements in their industry. However, nearly half of technology employers say skills training is more important than a degree.

    Adopting a skills-based hiring approach that uses AI and automation can make the process of hiring best-fit candidates easier and more efficient. These technologies expand on the capabilities of applicant tracking systems (ATS) by evaluating candidates for a broader range of relevant skills, identifying job opportunities that suit them best, and contacting them via text or email to encourage them to apply. This approach can prevent you from overlooking top tech talent and help you fill in-demand roles faster.

    Skills required for IT and Technology roles differ quite a bit from one role to the next, but top companies are focusing on finding new hires with a blend of technical skills and specific domain knowledge. You can identify emerging skills and declining skills and then map how skills in one area help support skills your company will need to be successful in the future, so you are meeting key needs. In addition, skills can provide a common language for your organization to use for talent planning, acquisition, and management aligning hiring decisions and choosing the best-fit hires for your team.

    Here’s how to implement a skills-based hiring approach:

    • Leverage a Skills Ontology: A skills ontology is a collection of skills relationships that’s supported by a unified understanding of how strong or weak relationships between skills are. Simply put, this means a skills ontology is a collection of skills with knowledge of how each skill is related to each other within the context of your business.

    • Integrate Skills Assessments: Use technical assessments and coding challenges during the interview process to evaluate candidates’ skills directly.

    • Ask for Portfolio Reviews: Encourage candidates to showcase their portfolios, projects, and contributions to open-source communities.

    • Prioritize Inclusivity: Be open to candidates with diverse backgrounds who have demonstrated the necessary skills and a passion for learning.

    7. Customize Your Hiring Process for Specialized Roles

    A critical aspect of making your skills-based hiring process effective is customizing it to attract candidates for specialized roles. In previous sections, we explored the increasingly complex specializations within tech and the importance of reaching out to IT teams and communities to pinpoint requirements for certain positions. Once you’ve determined the most crucial qualifications, make sure you advertise them in the job listing and emphasize them during the hiring process.

    Since tech professionals place a high value on learning and development, incorporating specific skill requirements into the recruitment and hiring process shows them the company is prepared to maximize their potential. It also clarifies your need for their specialization in particular. By using AI-powered HR software to customize job opportunities for best-fit candidates, you can attract top tech talent, create a positive candidate experience, and manage the entire process seamlessly.

    Attract, Hire, and Retain Top Tech Talent with Phenom

    Recruiting tech professionals have distinct challenges that require a unique approach to overcome. When you’re dealing with issues like outdated software and processes, a shortage of tech talent, and fierce competition for in-demand IT candidates, it can be hard to know where to start. By using our tips and our AI-powered HR platform, you can create a strategy that supports automating the tech recruitment process for your team and your candidates.

    The Phenom Intelligent Talent Experience platform helps organizations maximize the efficiency of their HR, recruiting, talent management, and talent acquisition processes. Using a single, holistic solution, recruiters can leverage the power of AI to connect with top IT and technology talent, create hyper-personalized career sites, and collect important data that makes filling roles with best-fit candidates faster and easier. With features like individualized experiences, SMS & 1-1 Messaging recruiting campaigns, automated interview scheduling, and one-way interviews, Phenom creates an optimized candidate experience, too — a critical factor in successful recruitment.

    Learn more about how Phenom can streamline your tech recruitment process, attract top IT talent, and hire best-fit candidates in a competitive industry by exploring Phenom for IT Services & Technology or booking a demo.

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