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How To Find A Tech Gem In A Competitive Market

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Recruiting in the tech market these days in Ireland can be tricky because we all want the same talent. We need to do several things to make sure the recruiting strategy we employ is going to get the best candidate. Sourcing techniques need to be modern and innovative. For example, using a database will work, but you will be constrained by your numbers, so you need access to other portals in order to access larger candidate pools. LinkedIn is still a strong source of passive candidates, but there are other more interesting sources such as Github and social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook where top candidates can be found. It's all about thinking outside the box.


Targeting the right candidate is crucial. Knowing your market and knowing the technologies associated enables a more specific search. No one wants to be getting those dreaded mailshot emails where the skills mentioned either are not relevant to you or maybe are legacy skills from years ago.

In order to secure tech candidates in the current market, I would suggest marketing roles to the best of your abilities. For example, roles that I have successfully recruited for in the past would all have one thing in common, the client would give detailed breakdowns to the environment and technologies used and would specify what would be expected of the potential candidates after they join.

What I would suggest to companies looking at securing technical talent is as follows:

1. Have really specific and detailed job specs.

Candidates who apply to the roles know exactly what they're applying for so they are under no illusion as to what is expected from them. This would prevent the number of candidates dropping out of the process because some specs can be ambiguous and can raise more questions than answers thus leading candidates to drop out of the interview process. A detailed spec is always a good step forward.

2. Don't sell any false promises and be honest with candidates.

I have encountered several candidates who want to leave their jobs because the role that was sold to them didn't materialise. This is bad branding for companies also.

3. When recruiting in highly competitive areas there are a number of facets to consider.

From a software engineering perspective, it is indeed a candidate driven market. Think pragmatically about hiring system. If you are dealing with a really top candidate then you have to be proactive and not reactive. A good candidate can save your business money in the long run. A fluid hiring process can make all the difference. A candidate should ideally have one comprehensive onsite interview, not multiple onsite interviews. This can be off-putting to candidates as they're having to take time off work to attend interviews. Always engage with candidates prior to sending technical tests, this will ensure a better candidate experience. 3 stage hiring process is common for most tech companies. In software engineering, it would be an HR call, followed by a tech test and then an onsite interview where whiteboarding and other technical elements can be done.

4. Having bespoke technical tests is a great way of ensuring you have the right candidates.

For example, a lot of companies are giving sandbox environments to candidates to mimic a genuinely real-world production environment that is seen on a daily basis in the company. Generic technical tests can be trickier as candidates might have already done a similar test before etc. Make them think on their feet and test them accordingly. A lazy testing set-up is not going to find that diamond in the rough.

5. Be progressive with technologies you employ

The companies that hire the best tech talent are usually the most progressive when it comes to technologies and in which tech comes first. The companies that lose the most talent to other companies are usually companies where tech doesn't come first and the tech environment has become stagnant. Tech candidates love keeping up to date with latest trends and will leave if they feel underutilised or working with antiquated technologies and frameworks etc.

To conclude, when recruiting in competitive areas, please consider following points. Reflect on why candidates would want to work for your company and market the role accordingly. Moreover, don't have a prolonged hiring process because your competitors will snap up the talent before you have gotten the process finished. Be pragmatic with salary levels and be up to date with pay scales to remain competitive. Be honest with candidates, if they are not happy with the reality of a particular role then it is not a good fit, don't sell any pipe-dreams that never materialise. The aim of the game is to stay ahead of the game, be proactive because that one gem candidate could make a massive difference to a company and its culture. These candidates are the ones we aspire to hire and being proactive and having your own house in order secures them.

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