How to Attract Top Tech Talent

on 16 August 2018
How to Attract Tech Talent

In 2018 we are deep into the information age, digital brands are now just as important as physical brands, if not more so. As an IT specialist recruiter, we have noticed a few trends recently that we wanted to share with those that may be struggling to find & attract the top tech talent. We have put together a few ideas our consultants have of what the current pool of talent in the tech market are craving and how you can attract them without having to offer above market rates.

Flexible Working

An incentive that is close to a lot of people’s hearts, not only in the tech industry but also across the macro labour market. The option of flexible working or flexitime offers the opportunity for employees to fit their work around the aspects of their life that are unavoidable. This could be an emergency doctor’s appointment, taking kids to or from school, or perhaps a dinner date they’d rather not miss. The addition of this incentive to a prospective employee’s offer letter gives the opportunity for them to resolve any anxiety they had when these unavoidable events occur. This can have a very positive effect on the job empowerment of the workforce, as giving them greater autonomy over their role will lead to them feeling in charge of their career, which has major benefits on the productivity of a team. Nazar Hussain published an article in the Journal of Business & Management in 2014, in which he recognised Toyota as the most successful example of using flexible working to empower their employees, which he notes as a leading factor to them consistently outperforming their competitors.

Commitment to Personal Development

By their nature, those that head into the field of developing technology are inherently inquisitive.  A big motivating factor to them deciding where to work is the potential for them to feed this hunger for further knowledge in their field. We have found that companies offering grants to employees to develop their knowledge inside and outside working hours often receive the highest interest from prospective candidates. It is this commitment to develop the employee in a way that allows them to achieve a greater level of job enrichment that sets the successful employers apart from the less successful. Some companies have committed to this by setting an allowance of up to £1,000 for employees to spend on additional training not necessary for them to perform in their job, but necessary for them to exceed their performance targets, whether that be through the additional skills being put directly to use or the increased productivity that is born from the boost in motivation as a result of the incentive. At Applause IT we feel that Taylors Scientific management theory is outdated and can cause a company to spend more than necessary in the search for a productive workforce. We prefer to instead follow Herzberg’s two-factor theory, which states that an employee is likely to work harder and perform better in a role they are comfortable with and by giving them access to upskill themselves, they are more likely to achieve this.

Clear Career path/progression

If you are not a technology company, it may be tricky for a tech candidate to picture their growth within your business. This could lead to losing out on ambitious candidates and instead attracting candidates that aren’t motivated by progression and shall not develop. It is for this reason that is important to demonstrate a clear progression path through the company’s hierarchy and to communicate to the candidates. The ambition you have for where they can reach within the company. This can be straight from the job specification with a little message about the company’s vision and where they can expect to reach within the managerial structure. This is something that we have worked on with a lot of companies that aren’t in the tech industry themselves. These companies struggled to attract the talent they needed to achieve their business goals and working with us allowed them to recognise how their offering differed from the competitors. In the end it was as simple as telling a candidate where you would like them to be in 5+ years. It is often a step into the unknown when hiring for position that previously did not exist in the company and can be daunting for candidates applying for these roles, allowing them to picture where they could fit in within the organisation and how their future could look is an effective way to settle these nerves and bring the best out of your new tech hire.

Partner with a Recruitment agency

Following from the previous paragraph, there are many benefits to be seen by working with a recruitment consultant for a hire that is a little out of your comfort zone. Hiring managers have an extremely tough workload as it is and talking to tech talent in a conversation about their craft can be overwhelming. Many recruiters are well versed in the jargon of their discipline, leading to an equal conversation between themselves and candidates in which both parties are on a level field with their knowledge of the subject. Having a recruitment partner is something that we have explored in a previous article, and it is an important aspect of business life. A consultant has a responsibility to their client & consultant to facilitate meetings between well matched counterparts, an aspect of their work is to manage their talent pools, keeping ahead of the curve on trends within their market. Particularly useful to a business sourcing a hire for a new direction for their organisation to follow, this allows the business to remain concerned with the cultural fit of the candidate safe in the knowledge that they shall have the raw skills required to fulfil the role.

Culture

Last, but by no means least we have the importance of culture within the organisation. Company culture has been a major talking point in recent years and there has been various studies into the effect of a harmonious culture on the productivity of the office. There can be extremes taken from this, such as Gusto retaining a ‘no-shoes’ policy in their office to illicit a family vibe or Perpetual Guardian working a 4-day week every week to raise spirits around the office and maintain the productivity of a 5-day week. These are two headline making examples of a company trying to improve the culture of their organisation, less extreme examples of a culture change can be providing fresh fruit to the office, or a casual dress day once a week/month. Another option could be to make charitable donations in the name of employees to a cause of their choice. The culture of a company essentially comes down to how the employee views working there and what they say about it away from work. This should be a key consideration to a company looking to expand and bring new staff in, especially when hiring tech talent. The tech community are a very tight knit group that probably communicate and network more efficiently than most communities. If a company are deemed as toxic to work for by a few, then you can bet the majority will turn their noses up at offers and continue their search elsewhere.

Conclusion

Tech talent can be very hard to access, especially in a market that is putting the power in the hand of skilled workers. However, there are many opportunities for organisations to source the talent and integrate them into the organisation, these five considerations will allow you to ensure that as you cast your net far and wide for the top tech talent, you shall have plenty of interest coming your way.


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