September 5th, 2019

Guide to Hiring and Retaining Technical Talents

Key practices to establish solid hiring and the future convoy of technical talent. Explore how you can make both employees and the company happy.
When you first meet a cool candidate, it seems like you are gonna stay together for the rest of the days. Seriously, what could happen? You fit each other so well, what's the point of splitting up and going separate ways if it's mutually beneficial?
The thing is, life is unpredictable and what seemed like a strong union today, could be nonexistent by tomorrow, so it's important to stay in constant search of high-quality talent. Usually, it's the moment of tranquillity when the hurdles emerge out of nowhere, so we would strongly recommend you to distance yourself from personal bias and be ready that one day a replacement should be made, not to mention if the project scales.

So we would like to share our view and how you could make effective, stress-free hiring and secure happy candidates for the time being.

1. Improve the Candidate Experience

Show some respect, humanity is the key.

Gain some expertise or invite a person who could address the technological questions. Not only this will help you ask about a candidate's coding skills but it will show that the company has a clue about what the duties are supposed to be fulfilled. This will make you be on the same page and feel equal between each other, rather than being viewed as a rigid overseer.

Also, regardless of the verdict, don't create a vacuum leaving the candidate with no result - the world, especially in a digital realm, is a much more tight space than you may think, leave your reputation clean to approach tens or hundreds of candidates further on. No matter how much the devs value hard skills, your decency, humanity, and respect will be appreciated.

Descending to visiting interview could also be a great move, especially if it's about the executive positions. Sure, you can't always be there but the SMBs proved to benefit from this move a lot.

2. Remove Bias from the Hiring Process

You could notice behavior disconnect between the final decision and the interview itself: both parties may change their verdict even if it seemed they were a perfect match for each other.

One-to-one interviews is a common practice, but rarely you conduct hiring based on your sole opinion. So try to get the verdicts from every responsible person before they convene to discuss the candidacy. So, after everyone is acquainted with the candidate, writing down yes or no within a brief synopsis will be the insurance that prevents from bias, which is a common case after the first speakers project their views and people unwillingly lean towards that choice.

And remember, what seems like a negative perk for us, might end up being a positive one the others.

3. Improve the Diversity of Your Teams

Technological diversity is a sign of a healthy team. If you don't want to end up being surrounded by tens of similar engineers who serve the same purpose, you should draw attention to filling the positions that are lacking.

If often happens that we project ourselves onto candidates—we've seen a few instances when the whole space was filled by guys with tattoos and long hair because our low-tier HR wanted to hang out with similar dudes during lunch breaks. And indeed, people like to surround themselves with those who share similar values but the difference in views should be the case in IT—you constantly rely on brainstorming.

But first of all, it has to be role diversity—no team would benefit from having 2 workers that are constantly in spat because their duties overlap.

Make it a Rooney Rule but applied to technical expertise, but instead of race make it a role criteria where passive workers should be injected with a proactive new member.
JavaScript developers salary by company size
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

4. Organizations Frequently Pass on Good Talent

Don't mind asking about the slightest candidates' experience. For instance, many of them mention "I know C#... sort of... to some extent"; if that's the case, don't shy away to dive deeper in that area—despite many like to exaggerate their skills, some are just not confident about their experience. Make sure you don't miss rare gems (no Ruby pun intended) by skipping the questions—even detailed rankings fail to assess the exact skill level, and people with no certificate may know the subject better than the recognized ones.

5. Time Efficiency

Despite youth unemployment being a global issue, the companies have their own struggles when attracting vast talent, and the true pros are real gems worth fighting for. There's no better way to be first other than... being literally first; yes working overnight pays off great - approaching candidates as a pioneer puts you first on the list even if the conditions were similar. Moreover, some of the devs are used to working during night time, especially when working from home.

This also gives the edge when competing for developers overseas - being limited by local talent is a recipe to lag behind, so make sure you gain the potential from all time zones.

The early bird gets the worm!

6. Develop Them

Everyone is different, and while some prefer to have a quiet corner in the office, others would like an active involvement during all production stages. Be sure to cater to such needs and explain how deep a potential employee will dive into side-activities of each project. Many of them see themselves as product owners, PMs, and tech leads in the future - not everyone wants to write code until dawn when they're 35 or older. That's why having such experience become precious and be sure to describe how they garner this intel when working in your company. Despite only a small number of people having true leadership qualities, by encouraging mentorship among workers you have to pay a fortune when a chief position becomes a priority hire.

Another thing is, many of the IT-pros share progressive views and realize how important it is to keep up with the techno pace. Here's why they don't mind trying to broaden expertise by accepting challenging tasks with new technologies usage. We're not talking about full stack, but rather certain languages that emerged not so long ago and are slowly creeping into a must-have category like Rust, Go or Swift; even Android developers like migrating towards iOS area due to obvious monetary reasons. Always mention that you don't mind about your workers improving in such way, trust me, both parties will be satisfied.

Conclusion

Basically, the easiest way to hire and make people stay is to imagine that you're the candidate. Apart from the obvious wage question, each potential worker wants decent treatment during the interview, valuable experience gain, friendly schedule, and not to overlap someone's duties.

It's your job to make it appealing, so adjust yourself and your schedule — it's a must but the one that surely pays off. Being the first to approach a candidate is a night and a day difference between yes and no, that's why your sleeping hours will be unstable like the stock market. Oh yes, and don't forget about the bias, it should be nonexistent; no one likes to be either blamed or praise based on prejudice.

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