There’s never been a better time to be a software engineer.
The global IT market is growing at such a lightning pace that the thinning labor pool can’t seem to replenish itself fast enough to meet the colossal demand. Poaching top talent has become something of a calculated sport, with leading tech companies falling all over themselves to offer prospective candidates the juiciest, most-enticing starter packages. Star coders easily get dozens of interview requests per week — all they need is a halfway decent LinkedIn profile.
As a business owner, I have worked with a lot of phenomenal software engineers (and designers) since starting our own mobile and web development shop. And I’ll be the first to admit that it’s become increasingly harder to recruit the best and the brightest. With everyone fishing in the same pond, the competition is fierce (not to mention the perks have gotten more and more lucrative over the past few years), but my company still continues to average 15 new hires a month.
How do we do it? While there is no one-size-fits-all formula, there are several things IT companies can do to stay one step ahead of the competition when it comes to expanding their teams.
- Feed your pipeline as if it’s a rabid dog. This is your bread and butter. You need to make sure you always have a lot of potential prospects in the pipeline. Don’t let it dry up. At STRV, we always have dozens of candidates at various stages in our recruitment pipeline.
- Hop on the company branding bandwagon.Yeah, I know, it’s a buzzword, but the IT job market is red hot no matter what part of the world you’re in. No one wants to work for an unknown company. Make sure your company becomes a household name for your target market. There is nothing shameful in self-promotion. STRV has become synonymous with “quality,” “fun” and “tech experts.” What do want your company’s name to stand for?
- Produce a killer culture video and upload it everywhere.While a picture may speak a thousand words, a video has the potential to reach millions. Videos give job candidates a taste of what it’s like to work at your company, especially in regards to office culture and structure. This strategy has lead to numerous hires at my company, where we try and produce and upload a new culture video to our website and social media networks at least once per quarter.
- Work your PR magic. Leverage your PR to get your voice into the public conversation. Remember there is no such thing as bad PR. Think of it as an opportunity to promote the attitudes of your company founders: what are they passionate about? Never turn down an interview. Our co-founders have been featured in The Huffington Post, Forbes and AdWeek.
- Have a solid recruitment process. It’s important to have a balanced team rather than a bunch of individuals, which is why we favor a multi-pronged recruitment process.
After passing an initial pre-screening used to weed out candidates who do not match our experience expectations, applicants must then pass a test project. Later, they are invited in for a technical interview, where they are given feedback on their test projects. We like to gauge how applicants react to what our engineers and designers have to say about their work. Are they able to take constructive criticism? Are they able to defend their decisions and thought process?
Finally, our recruitment process also includes a cultural screening. Candidates not only have to be able to communicate effectively with our clients, but they must also be a good match for our laid-back office environment. We work hard, but like to unwind with our Xbox and foosball table, too. Each candidate goes through an in-depth interview with at least one of our co-founders who makes sure he or she is going to be a right cultural fit. We want to find out what motivates them; what they would like to achieve and how they spend their free time, away from the computer.
Candidates appreciate a smooth recruitment process. They want to work for a company that has an amazing office environment and a friendly, experienced team of professionals. Ultimately, they are going to choose a place where they can see themselves grow.
If you are serious about recruiting the best of the best in today’s fiercely competitive global tech market, you will need a solid arsenal in place. Companies are all vying for the same candidates, and the pond, as I mentioned earlier, is shrinking. However, with the right approach, tech recruiting can be a piece of cake.
[This post first appeared on BusinessCollective, an initiative of Young Entrepreneur Council, which is a free virtual mentorship programme that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.]