The tech job market is in a perpetual state of flux. One day, there’s news of talent shortages; the next, rampant layoffs. But one thing remains constant: there will always be a need for skilled tech workers. Whether the market is booming or a recession looms, positions for highly skilled tech professionals can sit unfilled for months, while employers struggle to find the right candidates to stay on top of the game. To win, every company needs an airtight strategy for attracting the best possible talent.
Some companies are handling today’s tech hiring challenges by turning to recruiters with more specialized knowledge, such as backgrounds in engineering. Startups and established enterprises alike may benefit from including engineers at the hiring table or handing over their recruiting processes to highly experienced tech professionals. Dedicated experts — rather than more generalized recruiters — can help companies create leaner, more efficient tech hiring processes.
Here are some reasons engineers and other tech experts can help save companies time and money, while ensuring they find the best candidates for each role.
1. They Speak the Candidates’ Language
In a 2022 report on tech hiring, the New York Times points out that traditional recruiters can scare tech candidates off with too much friendliness and fluff. They forget that their data-oriented audience may just want the hard facts about the job. Engineers in recruiting roles know that a quick message highlighting the most important bullet points of the role will often go much further in attracting a left-brained candidate than a lengthy personal introduction penned by a more conventionally personable recruiter.
Furthermore, tech talent may find that encounters with standard recruiters feel like a game of telephone. A current member of the team explains the ins and outs of the role to a recruiter, who must then convey that information to a potential candidate. But when recruiters possess only general industry knowledge, a lot can get lost in translation.
Recruiters may not understand enough about the role to accurately relay the information or answer candidates’ questions about the inner workings of the position. This can lead to a frustrating experience for the candidate and a whole lot of back-and-forth for the company and the recruiter. With experienced engineers at the recruiting helm, candidates waste less time waiting for answers to more detailed or technical questions about the job, and current employees exhaust fewer resources prepping recruiters for candidate interviews.
2. They Know What Tech Professionals Are Looking For
In today’s world, highly skilled tech talent will leave any job that doesn’t work for them, so employers need to understand how to best appeal to candidates. Hint: It’s not just a salary and benefits package.
An experienced engineer in a recruiting role can help identify the things that really matter to today’s tech professionals, like a flexible or asynchronous work schedule, work-from-anywhere options, and the right mentorship and learning opportunities. Engineers can assist companies in developing a comprehensive and effective employee value proposition: the right combination of role composition and employee benefits to attract the perfect talent for the job.
As this suggests, it’s not all about perks. Most tech professionals want to feel truly engaged by their jobs — they want to enter that state of flow, where their work is equally challenging and meaningful. They want to feel a sense of connection and purpose on the job. When engineers work as recruiters, they can empathize with candidates’ need to really sink their teeth into a project and help match them with a role they’re excited to wake up for each morning.
3. They Know What Employers Are — And Will Be — Looking For
Just as engineers know what their fellow tech professionals are seeking in a job, they know what hard and soft skills employers require to achieve business results. They understand the state of the market and know what languages, platforms, and tools applicants must have mastered to ensure project success. Better yet, they have the tech chops to assess that mastery.
While most tech employers understand by now that resumes often take a backseat to skills assessments during the hiring process, there’s still a science to choosing the best evaluations for the job. Engineers can help employers avoid generic coding tests and select or design skills assessments that are more closely tailored to the specifics of the role.
Engineers on a hiring team can also help determine what skills and expertise may be needed to take an established company into the future or bring an exciting new product to market. They can predict which candidates will be best equipped to train for these skills later and stock their contact lists with people who might be a fit in months or years to come, even if they aren’t the best candidates now.
4. They Bring Greater Efficiency to the Hiring Process
According to tech talent acquisition agency OSI Engineering, engineers are much more effective than the average recruiter at recognizing the kinds of hard and soft skills that make a candidate right for a specific role. With a quick scan of a resume or a few glances at a LinkedIn page, they can more quickly spot applicants that are up to the task.
Without that same highly specialized experience and technical know-how, generalist recruiters need to work harder — and longer — to source and select the right people to interview. That’s a problem, as one of the main flaws in the tech hiring process today is the lag time between first contact with a candidate and actually making an offer. In many cases, this can take up to several months.
In the time it takes to move through the hiring process, a company’s ideal candidate may already have accepted another offer or even started a new position. When decision-makers have more experience with the roles being offered, they can streamline hiring timelines, making companies less likely to lose out on the right candidate.
5. They Can Help Companies Avoid Costly Hiring Mistakes
Engineers can play an equally important role in weeding out the wrong candidates. Google, for example, uses a structured interviewing process developed by its People Analytics Team to forestall toxic hires.
The reason that’s so vital is that bad hiring choices cause about 80% of employee turnover, which in turn contributes to recruiting and hiring cycles that cost U.S. businesses $72 billion a year. Recruiters with engineering or other technical expertise can help stop these bad hires from happening in the first place, saving companies a fortune on firing and rehiring.
As vital as it is to stop the wrong hire before it happens, however, rejections need to be handled with care. Recruiters without a technical background may struggle to give detailed, accurate feedback to a candidate on why they weren’t chosen for the job. Fortunately, engineers have no such difficulty.
Because engineers can effectively relay this information to the candidate, that individual is more likely to walk away from the interview with a better understanding of where they need to learn and grow. More importantly, this candid but constructive feedback creates a positive experience of the employer and the brand, which other tech professionals in the candidate’s network are sure to hear about.
Go With the Pros
So when you’re looking to hire tech employees, there are five good reasons to leave it in the hands of engineers. Here’s one more.
Engineers have established networks, often including fellow professionals in the global, virtual space. With more tech workers wanting to work remotely, a shortage of skilled tech workers in the U.S., and an increasingly global talent marketplace, companies can’t just rely on their local networks to find applicants. They need recruiters with contacts around the world who are familiar with niche job boards and other places attractive candidates might be hiding out. Engineers fit this bill, too.
When you leverage engineers in your tech recruiting process, you up your chances of landing skilled hires that can help your company achieve its business goals. And if you likewise tap the international talent pool, you can make not just qualified but more diverse hires, improving company culture, productivity, and reputation.
Featured Image Credit: by Edmond Dantès; Pexels; Thanks!