“At the end of the day, you bet on people not on strategies.”
– Lawrence Bossidy (former Allied Signal CEO)
In this classic quote, Bossidy lays bare the truth that employees are the key ingredient in a company’s success. But with demand for skilled tech employees sky high, how do you win over the talent that you need to accelerate your company?
The obvious option here is to offer huge salaries like some of your big-name competitors, but that’s not feasible for most companies. And thankfully, money’s not the only ingredient needed to bring in the best people.
In this article, we’ll share five ideas to help you recruit standout performers in the tech industry without breaking the bank.
1. Broaden your Search
You can go through the standard job posting sites, but if that’s not yielding what you need, think of creative ways to expand your talent search. Start from within, alerting your existing staff about potential job openings. (We realize this may not be possible if you are replacing an existing employee and need to keep the search confidential, but if it’s common knowledge, word-of-mouth recruitment is a great way to go.)
Think out of the box, and don’t confine yourself to a rigid set of prerequisites. For example, college recruiting fairs are great, but there is some amazing talent coming out of community colleges and tech schools that you could miss out on if you limit your search to candidates with four-year degrees.
You can also go to the places where techies hang out, including GitHub (an open-source software development platform) and StackOverflow (a Q&A site for programmers). You can hone in on people’s tags and keywords in their profiles to find those who might match well with your particular job opening.
And finally, if this all seems a little overwhelming, consider reaching out to a talent recruitment firm with a strong emphasis on tech. These firms often have deep networks that they can draw on to help you find candidates in unconventional places—including those who may not be actively looking for a job but willing to consider yours if the offer is good. You will pay more for your hire, but it could be well worth it to tap into a broader network of high performers and land someone who will energize and advance your company.
2. Speed Things Up
Take a good look at the efficiency of your recruitment processes. Is it taking too long for you to set up initial interviews? Or to make an offer once you’ve found a promising candidate? If you can’t present a concrete deal quickly, recruits may walk away in favor of a “known quantity.”
Perhaps you need to devote more manpower to your hiring process or establish better communication between company leadership and the HR department. Or maybe it’s something as simple as adopting an online scheduling app that will make it easier to set up interviews with job candidates. Wherever the shortcomings are, figure out how to shore them up so that you don’t let good talent slip away.
3. Sell Yourself
Your company has doubtless invested heavily in selling your products and services to potential customers. With tech employees in high demand, you’ll need to wear your “selling hat” in the recruitment arena as well. Perhaps you can’t offer the salary of a Microsoft or Adobe, but you can offer your unique company culture.
Let potential employees know how your company:
- Has solved difficult problems.
- Has helped employees grow and progress (through continuing education, opportunities to promote, etc.)
- Has recognized employees’ efforts (through open-source programs, incentive programs, bonuses, etc.)
- Is making the world a better place.
- Values your employees’ personal lives (through remote working opportunities, paid time off and perks such as on-site child care or gyms)
And while all of this information is important to share with the person sitting across from you in an interview, be mindful that you should be promoting your brand and culture on an ongoing basis. For example, use social media to share the bulleted items above, and the world will begin to see you as the company that volunteers at the food bank, successfully resuscitates dying projects or sends their programmers to continuing education conferences on a regular basis to get the latest certifications. Potential customers will take notice—and so will potential employees.
4. Offer Merit-based Bonuses
You may not be able to offer the most dazzling salary or benefits package, but you can still let money talk. Rather than offering standard bonuses for everyone, offer bigger bonuses to top-performing employees. With this strategy, you win because you only pay out when your profits increase; employees win because they have the potential to earn far bigger bonuses than they would when these incentives are tied to time-in-position or other standardized incentives.
5. Make it a Team Effort
Recruitment should not be confined to your HR department. We mentioned earlier in the article that you can encourage your existing employees to spread the word about job openings, but they can help with far more if you empower them. For example, you’ll get a more accurate job description if you ask for their input. You can also ask them to join in on the interview process. This shows prospective employees that you value collaboration. It also puts a face on your company and helps them feel the positive momentum of your team.
In addition, getting feedback from your employees after the interview can help ensure that you hire someone who meshes well with the personalities and styles of your current workforce.
While there’s a crowded field of companies needing employees who know their tech, there are also many ways to make yourself stand out—even if you can’t offer a whopper of a salary.
Our final advice is to consider ways to consolidate duties so that you aren’t paying people to do tech jobs that software can handle. For example, is your workforce spending time on mobile management services or invoice processing that a technology expense management software solution could handle? If so, consider streamlining these processes so that your payroll is devoted to people who spend their time growing your company.