Losing the war for tech talent

Despite frequent reports about major skills shortages, the talent is there – businesses just need to know how to find it.

Companies looking to recruit often take the route of posting job adverts and simply asking if their employees’ friends or colleagues know anyone looking for work. Some are also putting a few posts on Instagram and LinkedIn. This isn’t recruitment and it most certainly isn’t how a business can win a war on talent.

Looking to hire a developer? Here are four main points that are crucial for effective tech recruitment.

>See also: UK increasingly reliant on foreign tech talent


When going to market with a new product, win more business for a company, create social media campaigns and so on, employees have a strategy. Alastair Campbell explores this in his book ‘Winners and How They Succeed”, talking about how there should be a clear objective and strategy with everything.

The objective is to hire the best possible talent for a specific team in the company, and this requires a strategy too. Why should recruitment be treated differently? This is the vessel that brings new employees and will shape the culture and growth of your business.

Organisations also need to ask themselves: ‘am I reactive or proactive? What channels am I using? Am I only using free channels and if so why?’ The key here is investment.

Paid channels have a place in the recruitment market, and organisations can measure return on investment if they know how much it costs per hire in time and money. Remember businesses get what they pay for. There are some good free sites out there but they don’t compare to the paid ones.

>See also: Procurement goes digital: technology, talent and insight

Businesses must also care about their perception in the market. Giving feedback after interviewing potential candidates is necessary to create a good brand image. Do not underestimate the power of the employer brand, so make sure a feedback process is place.

Most people are scared to share people negative feedback, but they will respect businesses a lot more and speak about the company positively in the marketplace compared to a simple ‘ghosting’.


Do not put all your eggs in one basket. One of the biggest mistakes is when a company finds a great candidate and pins all their hopes on them. If the business thinks the candidate is the right choice, chances are someone else does. In this case, businesses should leave themselves options.

>See also: FTSE 100 companies want ‘homegrown technology talent for top role’

Also, keep in contact with interviewed candidates that choose not to join the company. The average length of a role for a software developer in a permanent job is between 18–20 months. Therefore, reach out to people around this time and stay in touch. If a businesses doesn’t hear back after the first time, don’t give up. On average, it takes five messages before you have a meaningful conversation.

Consider getting an applicant tracking system (ATS) such as workable to post jobs and manage the workflow.

Employee engagement

Once employed, they people are a business’ best advocates – so treat them well. Keep them motivated and if they are on the journey with the company they will be the ones that will help attract the next hire. For most companies, it makes sense to do a combination of both insourcing and outsourcing.

>See also: The UK tech salary guide 2017

Interview process

Be open with potential employees from the start. This is so important and will help set realistic expectations from the start. Explain where the business came from, why and where it is going. Do not oversell the company or the role, and clearly define the good bits and the bad bits. This will help with retention rates.

Ultimately, the way companies hire tech talent is changing. The traditional recruitments methods are no longer good enough. There are no more middlemen, no more time wasting and no more irrelevant candidates. And what really counts is that quality job offers are brought to quality developers while the companies hiring this way are winning the war.


Sourced by John Hazelton, UK Country Manager at talent.io


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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