How to Attract the Best IT Talent (Even When They’re Not Looking For A Job Right Now)

19 Oct, 2020

An odd year has birthed an odd IT talent market – one with fewer candidates than usual and in which recruiting budgets are strained. Trying to rebound during what is now officially a recession, businesses find themselves in a difficult spot: they need to invest in recruiting that rare top talent, but may not have the resources to do so.

With both the candidate count and recruiting resources low, the ability to efficiently and effectively attract IT talent has never been more valuable.

So how do you go about doing just that? Today we’ll take a look at a few strategies that will not only help you attract the cream of the available IT crop, but perhaps a few drops of dairy that aren’t even looking for new opportunities.

Invest in your internal tech

Just as the first accountant to use a calculator was never going back to an office of abacuses, top tech talent won’t be keen to join a company that doesn’t invest in its internal technology. Adopting new and improved processes and technologies makes your employees’ jobs easier, while also making your business more efficient and competitive—a classic win-win.

Turn employees into brand ambassadors

With utilities like Glassdoor laying your workplace cards on the table, candidates now have more insight than ever into whether they’ll enjoy working within your four walls. Building a strong company culture and spreading the good word about it is therefore critical.

Google is the oft-cited employer brand archetype. They offer great salaries, a transparent, strong and supportive culture, and cool benefits that’ll get employees talking – the ping pong tables, the in-house chef and the scooters in the hallway. Word of mouth remains the most effective form of marketing, so building a workplace that your workers will want to tell their networks about is amongst the most effective ways to attract top tech talent, particularly for hard-to-find IT talent in niche sub-sectors where everyone knows everyone.

Find your unique

What do you offer that your competitors don’t? Identifying your unique selling position (USP) is the key step in developing your employer brand, as it allows you to set yourself apart. Perhaps you offer particularly flexible work arrangements, unmatched autonomy, or the ability for employees to bring their pets to work.

USP identified, your employee value proposition (EVP) should be built around it. This is the complete package that you offer your employees – the value they gain from you in exchange for the value you gain from them.

Put your name up in lights

“Did I mention I did some work for Canva?” “Yeah, I spent a few months at Slack.” There’s no two ways about it, some workplaces are more brag-about-able than others. While you might not necessarily be the disruptive upstart or the Fortune 500 company, there are still a myriad of ways that you can get people to both know and care who you are.

Position yourself as a thought leader by publishing insightful articles on LinkedIn. Get involved in tech conferences and industry events, even if they’re currently remote or online. Better yet, host your own virtual or in-person meet-up, bringing together industry players and talent. At Ignite we recently hosted a virtual event focusing on women in tech, She’ll Have What He’s Having. UberEats was delivered to each of the attendees so they could have breakfast together. Unique events like these build your reputation while being fun, memorable and perfectly shareable.

In short, you should do all that you can to establish your brand in the broader tech community.

Be prepared to be flexible

If a global pandemic has been good for anything, it has opened our collective eyes to the possibilities of remote work. In the tech sphere in particular working flexibility is no longer seen as a plus, but a must. The tech giants have been quick to extend their remote working arrangements long-term (e.g. Microsoft) or have even made the offering permanent (e.g. Atlassian).

Not only does offering remote work enhance your EVP, it also grants you access to a veritable and borderless world of talent! Geography becomes less relevant in hiring when every candidate  is only a Zoom call away.

Promote your career pathways

According to this Linkedin study, 59% of candidates’ primary motivator for a new role were career growth opportunities. Top talent is often characterised by an inherent interest in professional development; it’s no doubt how they became top talent in the first place. Furthermore, the technology sector is a highly dynamic environment requiring constant upskilling by talent to maintain relevant skill sets of value to employers. By showing that you’re prepared to nurture professional development and career pathways, whether through external or internal programs, you’ll be positioning yourself as an employer of choice.

While 2020 continues to deliver its share of challenges, it’s also offering up a healthy dose of opportunity. Demand for data and strain on IT systems amid remote working has never been greater. Many technology companies find themselves in the same situation – in need of top talent, but seemingly lacking the resources to obtain it. Your ability to rise above the noise will determine your success next year and beyond.

Securing the best workers needn’t be about spending big. Standing out from the crowd is often a matter of working smarter. With years of experience recruiting for the IT and digital spheres, we at Ignite are ready to help you do just that.

Get in touch with the team today!