By Rishon Blumberg, 10x Management Co-Founder
Although the job market is full of eager applicants, we are still in an era where companies of all shapes and sizes have to compete intensely to hire exceptional tech talent. Competing for tech talent has always been intense because there is a massive imbalance between the number of qualified applicants (low) and the number of tech positions needing to be filled (high). This supply/demand issue gives tech talent a variety of non-traditional options which further complicates the traditional job market and means competition for workers is going to get even more intense during the coming years. We’ve taken a look at five things employers should keep in mind when competing for and trying to retain amazing tech talent.
1. Create the Right Environment
When people are looking for a new place to work, they’re not only looking at the salary that is being offered. They want to join a company where their personality and work style will fit in with the company’s culture. If your company has a flexible work environment and values that emphasize the quality of life, you’re giving your business a competitive advantage. Company culture is important — a worker is going to ask, “Does the company value the same things that I do?” The more a company can enmesh their mission and values into the company culture the more likely they will be to attract and retain top-notch talent.
2. A Blended Workforce – Hiring Freelancers
While we don’t endorse every job being filled by a freelancer, there is a rapidly growing trend to fill a variety of tech roles with high-level freelancers. This is borne out of both necessity and an increasing desire to streamline overhead. Necessity because with the above-mentioned supply/demand imbalance, it’s a seller’s market and top tech talent can command a very high rate. This makes it very desirable to be a freelancer — not only can you earn a great living but you have the flexibility to work on the projects you choose and work when/where you want. Hiring a freelancer gives a company a competitive advantage. It allows them to adjust the technical proficiency of their staff at a moment’s notice and it allows them to control costs as they bring on and remove talent as needed, keeping headcount and salaries at a controlled level.
If companies want to compete for the best tech talent, they need to understand that many of the best candidates for a job are freelancers, not necessarily those who are looking to commit to one company long-term.
3. The Selection Process
With the advent of technology, the options for hiring candidates are endless. A simple Google search for “Hiring A Programmer” yields almost 1 million results. Simple, right? There is no easy way to go about finding great tech talent, but there are steps you can take to streamline the process.
The best recruiters and freelancer agencies curate tech talent to find the right match for each project. Using these types of “personal tech talent shoppers”, companies get the benefit of controlling costs while receiving a simple service akin to a human resources department. Agencies offer you savings in time, cost and risk by performing the heavy screening of potential candidates for projects. The smartest companies know to skip the crowds and only look at pre-vetted tech talent. Whether this is through an agency or a professional connection, having access to a qualified list of pre-vetted talent is beyond valuable.
4. Look at More Than Technical Training
As companies look to hire the best tech talent, they may have to look beyond technical skills if they want to find exceptional workers. Personality and emotional intelligence, especially when it comes to communication, matter in a candidate; sometimes a cultural fit can matter more than technical qualifications.
Once you’re confident about a prospect’s cultural fit, I’ve always found that motivation is a clear indicator of predicting project success: If the candidate seems highly motivated and genuinely interested in the project, you can generally count on a successful and fruitful relationship. This brings us to another benefit of the freelance market: When you hire a truly professional freelancer, the freelancer has the luxury of taking on projects that are new, exciting and different than anything they’ve done in the past. With talented freelancers, the philosophy “same old, same old” should not hold true. New challenges and new ideas are something to get excited about as a top quality freelancer. Being passionate about the work usually, yields tremendous results.
With talented freelancers, the philosophy “same old, same old” should not hold true. New challenges and new ideas are something to get excited about as a top quality freelancer. Being passionate about the work usually, yields tremendous results.
5. Opinions Matter
Finding a prospect that genuinely wants to understand the goals of a project or the mission of a company is invaluable – it’s the “why” that inspires. When a top notch developer asks hard questions and seeks to make recommendations to a product or service, you should listen! That’s why we screen all of our technologists to ensure that they are asking hard questions and challenging their customers. It can be easy to only go after a “yes” man but finding someone who occasionally says “no” will yield better results. Your company and your workers will benefit from challenges and iterations.
It can be easy to only go after a “yes” man but finding someone who occasionally says “no” will yield better results. Your company and your workers will benefit from challenges and iterations.
Find and Attract the Perfect Candidate
There is no doubt that tech talent is important to your business. How you find the right tech talent will ultimately determine how well your business can scale and dominate. For the foreseeable future, finding and retaining tech talent will be a challenge to everyone. But if you open yourself up to a blended workforce, and you work your company’s values and mission into the forefront of your hiring practices you will give yourself every advantage possible in sourcing the best of the best.
The longer a tech position remains vacant, the more it will cost your organization, so the sooner these five suggestions can be implemented the more efficient and productive your company will become.
If you liked this article, you might enjoy reading The Real Cost of Freelancers vs. Employees