Looking for new talent? Recruitment specialists Hired share some top tips on what to look out for
Given the predictions that the UK will need 2.3 million digitally skilled workers by 2020, it’s likely that we can expect to see a real shift in how the UK economy looks over the next five years. As a result of this digital shift, the demand for technology’s best and brightest talent is at fever pitch.
Consequently, the recruitment landscape – for both employers and candidates – is rapidly changing. Where once a company that was deciding between two individuals may have looked at academic qualifications to determine who got the job, now a more pragmatic approach is needed to determine that “ideal” candidate. To keep pace with the changing face of the modern workforce and ensure they’re finding the best of the best in the tech talent pool, employers need to consider the following:
A degree shouldn’t be a barrier to entry
Today, not every potential stand out engineer or entrepreneur has access to – or even wants to participate in – formalised training programmes or degrees. Hired’s own co-founder, Matt Mickiewicz, is just one example of this. Matt founded his first company at the age of 15 and has since gone on to start three additional start-ups, despite barely finishing school and never attending university.
Now, training opportunities like Google Code In, Makers Academy and Codecademy offer budding technology professionals the chance to develop skills they might have once only found through tertiary education. It’s these candidates that should stand out to employers. Practical experience, whether gained on the job or in their spare time, should be the first consideration when looking to hire a new recruit you’re hiring.
The thirst to learn is paramount
Self-starters who taught themselves how to code or spent their spare time tinkering around with new ideas and personal projects used to be the minority. Today, however, this passion and dedication is a prerequisite for being seen as a viable candidate. Attending regular developer meet ups or working on open source projects are solid indications that a candidate is hungry to sharpen their skills and build their professional network. Companies should consider these individuals as likely to evolve into a very valuable asset for their business.
Unconscious bias is an innate human characteristic; even the most open-minded individuals unwittingly allow unconscious feelings to guide decisions. This means during the hiring process, inclusion might be affected by biases that employers don’t even realise they have. This then might result in overlooking talented candidates.
It is important for organisations to take proactive steps to ensure biased recruitment practices aren’t preventing them from attracting a diverse set of candidates. By putting in place internal programmes to train their employees/hiring managers on unconscious bias, they can ensure their staff are better at recruiting a diverse workforce.
Also, one quick fix is using gender-neutral, inclusive language in job descriptions or questionnaires. This could involve removing the option to add “Mr.,” “Miss,” or “Mrs.” from any written materials a candidate must submit.
Additionally, given that developers are often willing to move country for their ideal job, it is important to review a company’s policies around visa sponsorships, it might affect its ability to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds. Organisations should work with both an immigration company and their HR department to avoid artificially limiting the candidate pool by not being able to offer the sponsorship support needed.
Tech can lead all others in top talent acquisition
Given the tech industry’s record for disruption and ability to transform quickly, in many ways it has the power and opportunity to change the traditional recruitment process and provide a new model for hiring. Using methods as mentioned above, this trend setting sector can completely remodel how all industries, across all sectors, search for and secure top talent.
Sophie Adelman is general manager UK at Hired.