Hiring Tactics to Deliver Quality Candidates
Despite the economic downturn, attracting talented candidates for software engineering jobs is just as hard today as it was this time last year. In fact, because of the COVID-19 jobs market you may be finding it even more difficult to hire quality software engineers.
Recessions tend to reduce the desire for people to change jobs, and this leaves you with a big problem:
- You can’t afford to take too long to hire
- You can’t afford to hire below-par engineers
- Yet the real talent isn’t applying to your jobs
What can you do to boost your recruitment of talent into your key software engineering roles? Here are our top seven tips.
1. Make Hiring a Daily Objective
Yes, hiring talent can take time. A lot of time. If you wait until your hour of need, your urgency to hire is likely to lead to a poor hire – and poor hires cost money. A lot of money. Here are the numbers you don’t want to suffer from:
- CareerBuilder puts the cost of a bad hire at $15,000
- Undercover Recruiter estimates the cost to be up to $240,000
Hiring talent is a 24/7 activity. Only by treating it as such can you have a bank of talent waiting for your call.
2. Make Your Job Description Tempting
Your job description must describe what the software engineer’s tasks will be, and the skills and experience they will need to be considered. A bit dull, isn’t it?
So, spice your job description up a little, to make it more enticing. Bring the candidates’ excitement to the boil with every word. How do you do this? Here are a few pointers:
- Describe the culture, and the type of candidate who will fit in
- Show that you care about your employees’ careers by outlining training and development opportunities
- Provide details of special projects the recruit is likely to become involved with
- Lead with an exciting reason for the post becoming available (internal promotion; a new cross-functional project; etc.)
Now that sounds a little more exciting, doesn’t it? A job that you might be tempted to apply for, perhaps?
3. Know Where to Search for Talented Candidates
When finding talented software engineers is like finding a needle in a haystack, it’s best first to know which haystacks you must look in. Here are a few sources that you must not overlook:
- Your own network and contacts – who do you know that fits the job description?
- LinkedIn – learn to search for potential candidates on the professional networking site, as well as the people who have been active on your LinkedIn page
- Employee referrals – set up a referral program, and ask your own employees for referrals
- A specialist recruiter – you’ll be surprised how wide and broad their reach can be, especially into the passive candidate market
And places to void? Commercialized job boards that attract thousands of underqualified and unscreened jobseekers. You want to work smart, not hard.
4. Screen Your Candidates More Effectively
Screening candidates is essential. Not only does it help to streamline your hiring process, it also makes better use of your valuable time, and can help inform you of where and how you need to tweak elements like your job description and your source of candidates. When screening candidates for software developer roles, use a three step process:
- Screen resumes
- Conduct a virtual or phone screening
- Ask the candidate to take an online assessment of their skills
This will reduce your final interview list down to a handful of candidates who have the experience, knowledge, and qualifications to fill the role competently – leaving the interviewer a more meaningful meeting to ensure the candidate is a good cultural fit as well as confirming the skills requirements.
5. Describe Your Bright Future
The best candidates rarely move for the money. They move for the potential a new role offers. This may be by way of exciting project work, career advancement, the opportunity to learn new skills and enhance their resume, or the chance to expand into a new sector. They may be attracted to the chance to be in at the outset of a startup that challenges the status quo and has exciting products to bring to the market.
6. Create a Positive Impact with Your Hiring Process
The hiring process is a yardstick by which candidates measure your organization. Therefore, it is important to ensure that it is smooth and streamlined, and that you stay in communication with candidates. Make sure that the screening and interview process are properly explained, and that the interview is as enjoyable as it can be.
If you get the hiring process right, a quality candidate is more likely to accept an offer.
7. Consider Contract Hires to Fill Roles Fast
Finally, if you have a role that must be filled fast, consider hiring a software engineer on a shorter-term contract or contract-to-hire. These are often easier hires to make, and give you breathing space to make a permanent hire in due course – or convert the exceptional contract hire to a permanent post.
Yes, it is difficult to recruit talented software engineers, but with the right strategy and an effective hiring process you can attract quality candidates – especially passive job seekers.
You’ll have the best results by being proactive, understanding the exact requirements of the role, selling the opportunity and your organization effectively, and providing a streamlined and enjoyable hiring process. And, of course, making hiring a constant and continuous task of your organization.