The Tech Recruitment Challenge

Today’s digital landscape is undergoing rapid and radical change

McKinsey recently forecast large companies will invest, on average, several hundreds of millions of pounds – and in some cases billions – into digital transformation over the next five years. According to McKinsey, demand for talent is expected to significantly outstrip supply by as much as 50-60%.

For businesses to keep abreast of change, it is crucial that they invest in technology as well as the talent to implement it and continuously improve a business’s digital capabilities. This approach will help create a more agile, progressive and future-proof organisation.

Present day problems

It’s no surprise that business leaders commonly cite attracting and retaining tech talent among their greatest current challenges in business. On average, the recruitment process takes approximately 52 days according to a study from Bersin by Deloitte. However, the top candidates only stay on the market for approximately ten days.

Integrating new talent into tech functions can be equally costly and time-consuming. The whole process involves vetting applicants, conducting interviews, skills testing them, negotiating terms of employment, before finally getting the new hire up to speed in their role. The process can take several months, depending on seniority.

Future solutions

With competition in the jobs market fiercer than ever, businesses must come up with new and innovative ways to find and attract job seekers, while also speeding up the hiring process – a tall order. So what solutions are there?

In the UK alone there are over two million freelancers, yet businesses continue to struggle finding and hiring for complex technical and digital projects. In line with the increasing popularity of flexible working and the growing size of the gig economy, businesses can benefit from more flexible solutions such as outsourcing tech briefs or accessing contract workers  by  employing them remotely or for a certain number of hours per week. At hackajob, we identified the growth in pan-European demand for greater flexibility and launched a new contract hiring service to address this exact issue.

However, businesses will not only have to think more creatively about how they find top tech talent but also the recruitment process itself. Is their current pool of candidates diverse? Are they hiring based on CVs and grand claims or is there a proof element of pure skill?

Companies like Microsoft and Google are already looking into such methods, seeking candidates with hands-on experience in favour of more traditionally screening them for college degrees. The rise of hackathons and online academies is making this process easier.

Relying on the assumption that candidates with better educational backgrounds outsmart candidates with more real-life experience is potentially damaging. Businesses who continue to approach assessing candidates’ CVs and applications as merely a box ticking exercise risk missing out on possible recruits. Skills testing is therefore an important step in the recruitment process and one which could eliminate unwanted unconscious bias.

Our research shows that there’s a clear cause and effect between being effectively and fairly assessed for a role and employee happiness. Matching jobs with applicants using data and skills testing, talent can be sourced and recruited on an entirely meritocratic basis.

This can and should be achieved through a combination of AI and human intervention in the hiring process to ensure fairness and to facilitate faster and more cost-effective recruitment.

McKinsey accurately identified the issues arising from the changing digital landscape and how this impacts recruitment. Businesses must invest in technology and create a strategy that enables them to continue hiring top tech talent or risk losing a competitive advantage. The key is in future-proofing technical talent by re-evaluating existing hiring processes and ensuring investment in people as well as technology.

About the Author

Razvan Creanga is CEO & Co-founder of tech recruitment platform hackajob. hackajob was born out of the frustration with the traditional recruitment agency approach and the difficulty of hiring top engineers. Rather than allowing recruitment to be clouded by unconscious bias, hackajob reimagines the process by building it around the needs of technical talent and the framework required to engage with them.