“Two of the biggest challenges in technical hiring are identifying people who are smart but don’t get things done and people who get things done but aren’t smart. A company in a competitive industry needs to avoid hiring both classes of people.” – Joel Spolsky, CEO of Stack Overflow
As soon as the demand outweighs the supply, you have a problem to solve. Being a technical recruiter is a tough job, primarily when you are recruiting for a startup. There is massive diversity in the candidate pool, and you need to hire the perfect match for your company. Startups have their own set of vulnerabilities in terms of drop-off, sourcing, and assessment tools. Moreover, this is not even the start of the tech hiring challenges faced by the talent acquisition team; there is a struggle at every small milestone. Then what do we do? How do we find the right team for our company? Wait till you go through this article.
Here we have tried covering all the significant challenges concerning technical recruitment along with expert solutions. In this article, we will discuss
- The technological landscape.
- What do the tech candidates expect from your startup?
- Challenges faced by startup tech recruiters.
- The solutions you need.
- Successful entrepreneurs talking about their hiring.
- The takeaway.
The Technological Landscape!!
Do you know, the global unemployment rate for IT workers is just 3% which is considerably low?
Is this good news?
Of Course, Yes!
But only for candidates. What about the recruiters? These people have an unfairly small pool to find people of the required skill set. That’s why it’s extremely tough to be a technical recruiter in today’s dynamic world. However, with changing times, recruiters are also trying to stand out and be highly efficient.
Gone are the days with piled-up resumes; now it’s a candidate-specific industry. Here, human resources are expected to adopt more creative ways such as personalized emails and social platforms to attract the top talent.
Now we know that the significance of a coder candidate is super crucial in IT startups. The biggest constraint occurs when the startups look up to hire developers or coders. However, hiring can become a piece of cake for you, If you already know how to figure out the relevant coder/developer. Then what are we waiting for? Let’s find answers to who are your candidates and how do you categorize them?
You will find two kinds of candidates for your company:
The Active Candidate-
The one who is actively looking for a job irrespective of the fact that he/she is unemployed.
The Passive Candidate-
The one who is not actively hunting for a job but is open to new opportunities and career growth.
Both the categories carry talent, but the ultimate decision relies on the requirements of your company. Until you make a conscious effort and meet them, you will not be able to crack which one is better.
Moreover, to resolve these difficulties, first understand what do the tech candidates expect from your startups.
The Techies Expectations From Your Startup:
What will they get to learn?
Career growth is vital for every candidate. However, it is not limited to the raise in the salary bar. Growth also exhibits the opportunities a new job might present to taking up a more challenging role or learning new skills. Candidates take this from a long-term perspective. Therefore, ensure that the required job profile in your company offers them growth.
How big is the company?
Every company comes with its own set of pros and cons. Many developers believe that joining an early-stage startup can result in a life-changing financial gain. On the other hand, big and established companies can offer mentors from whom they can learn a lot. And If it’s a mid-sized company, it can do pretty much a bit of both worlds. So validate your candidate’s concern for the company size before you move ahead.
How can you contribute to their future?
When it comes to career, long-term planning is always better than a short term one. If your candidates feel that their current skill set does not have a stable future, they would probably not stay for long in your company. In this case, offering the right role is essential to make them confident that you value their future.
According to a recent research study, Every company will have 25% of the active seekers who prefer a more stable and responsible profile along with a better package.
On the flip side, there are 75% of the passive seekers who have a strong sense of being needed in the company. They believe in quality and will only switch for the desired role.
It is customary to create a benchmark for the required candidates to exhibit the kind of environment, culture, and non-monetary benefits your company will provide them.
Let us now discover some of the significant startup challenges that restrict you from finding the right man.
Hiring Challenges Faced By Startups Today
An Inavero report showcases the major obstacles hiring managers face while looking for quality talent. Some of the most popular ones are mentioned below:
Access to the candidate’s skills :
Approximately 53% of the recruiters and managers on a global level stated “access to the candidate’s skill set” as the biggest hindrance in the hiring process. This proves the fact that great talent is rare and hard to come across.
Further, about 31% of the managers cited limited hiring resources as another huge challenge. Resources such as agencies, staffing firms, and consultancies are finite in number and, therefore, are the major blocker. This states the obvious that we need more innovative and better hiring solutions to make the process easier and smoother.
Limited pool of relevant candidates
A major chunk of hiring managers believes that lack of workplace competencies and soft skills is the core hamper in the recruitment process. Recruiters easily do not find a great developer with essential communication and interpersonal skills.
Other prime factors that hinder start up tech hiring are high salary and losing a potential candidate to the competitors.
Let’s explore these in detail.
Top Tech Hiring Challenges
In the previous section, we saw what the hiring managers have to say about problems they face while recruiting for startups. Let us discuss this thoroughly.
Intense competition with similar companies
Every company desires to acquire the best talent in its workforce. But due to the limited number of candidates, there is fierce competition between companies. Add tech giants to this fight, and it will become a painful scenario for startups to make good hires consistently.
Geography plays a significant role in this too. Take the case of Invision, a software design company with a 100% remote workforce; when they started out, there was a limited supply of talented developers in New York, making it difficult to hire developers. To make it even worse, Google opened its new office in Manhattan up to around the same time. This ultimately led to an impossible task for Invision to build a viable solid team in New York.
Nothing can be taken for granted in the hiring process—for example, the interaction with candidates. The candidate who just accepted your conditions might not be loyal to your offer after he leaves the premises. Usually, many candidates attempt to receive various offers and keep you waiting.
This behavior is still acceptable until your offer is used to get a better one from your competitors. Leaving aside the ethics of such action, it is, unfortunately, something one cannot prevent unless you are a tech giant like Google or Microsoft.
This results in a low probability of candidates who will actually join the team thereafter. It is hard for startups to constantly drain their resources and pursue multiple leads for the same profile in such circumstances.
Possessing skills to evaluate
Another unestimated and frequent hiring challenge is the lack of requisite technical expertise in the recruiters or the existing members of the talent acquisition team.
An understanding of the technology is extremely important when it comes to evaluating coders and developers. Moreover, lack of it may lead to lowering of standards.
Usually, in a startup, the most common scenario is the manager often resorting to basic keyword matching. An obvious result here is a pool hiring which is again poor hiring and loss of resources.
Limited bandwidth of the internal tech team
As we discussed above, when the hiring manager falls short of technical expertise, it becomes crucial for the tech team members to get on board in the hiring process. An enormous consequence of this will be the loss of time from actual product development. Your developer’s time decides the effort put into your client’s project, which is basically your brand image.
When joining a new company, candidates expect a lofty raise in compensation. However, many startups find it hard to offer the lucrative salaries demanded by the developers.
Even in the case of external funding, you might have to compete with companies that can afford deeper pockets. Some startups try to offer generous ESOPS (Employee stock ownership plans) to attract and retain distinctive talent to overcome this. Whether potential employees appreciate such grants is still a debatable issue.
“Employer brand” is an untold tech hiring challenge that many startups struggle with. When starting out, many companies understandably lack recognisability and PR. If candidates are unaware of what your company does or who you are, they are more likely to choose an established organization over you. Even If you offer exciting work and better terms, brand reputation is something that cannot be ignored.
The Solutions You Need
There are several analogies to enhance the tech hiring process. Let us consider some of the critical ones to combat the big challenges:
Manage quality of traffic
- When inviting applications and sourcing developers, recruiters need to ensure a high-quality inflow of the applicants,i.e., The percentage of quality developers should remain as close to 100% as possible.
- Use a suitable Applicant Tracking System(ATS) to ensure you have a streamlined process to optimize the time spent in hiring execution.
Pay attention to micro-conversions.
- It is essential to keep track of the efficiency of every step of the interview funnel, especially when it is for startup.
- Further, use the data to analyze where the candidates are dropping-off or get susceptible to rejection.
- This is an excellent approach towards optimizing conversion rate by addressing your bottlenecks and improving your hiring process.
The art of interviewing
- As a hiring manager, it is your responsibility to convince your technical team to invest their time in the process.
- You can even provide them the required training to conduct the process smoothly and effectively.
Communication is the key
- First of all, understand the compensation expectations of a candidate early in the hiring process. This will help you exclude candidates with unrealistic demands.
- If things do not work there, either breakdown their expectations and arrive at a realistic number or customize your offer along with some perks and stock options.
Keep candidates engaged
- Keep healthy communication between you and your candidates to maintain a consistent engagement.
- To do so, you can invite them to your office for a random employee meet.
- Or give them a signing bonus upon joining by a particular date.
Successful Entrepreneurs Talking About Tech Hiring
Paul Graham, Founding partner of Y Combinator
Hiring the right tech team in the early stages of your startup is definitely one of the cornerstones of your success. Put effort into deciding the workforce of your company because this is one thing that has to be correct.
Hooi Ling Tan, co-founder of Grab
The long-term success of a startup hugely depends on having a team that believes in whatever you are doing. Therefore, hire members not only on technical fit but on cultural fit as well.
Clark Valberg, co-founder of InVision
Never be afraid of exploring new methods while hiring talent. Get out in the field and look for ways to hack your problems. Do what nobody is doing and remove the geographical boundaries.
In addition to the above solutions, you can also explore freelancing online platforms that help companies overcome common hiring challenges. If you want to hire quality developers and coders, make sure you are looking at the right place. You can even try vetted freelance websites, where the screening process is streamlined to evaluate a candidate comprehensively within the networks. Lastly, make sure you pick someone who is reliable, genuine, and adaptable.