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Hiring Technical Talent

Top 10 Learnings from the 2018 Tech Recruiting Report

Written By Dana Frederick | June 19, 2018

Tech recruiting is nothing if not dynamic. With constantly evolving technical demands and a notoriously competitive talent pool, agility is a hard and fast requirement for securing top talent. In other words: the needs and priorities of tech recruiting teams are in a constant state of flux. To tap into priorities for today’s tech hiring teams, we surveyed nearly 1,000 hiring managers and technical recruiters from 50 countries across the world. We asked about their relationship with their counterparts, their biggest recruiting challenges, and more.

In our research, we found a number of points on which hiring managers and technical recruiters agree (and a few where they don’t), plus some insights on where tech recruiting is headed next. If you hadn't had a chance to read through the full report, read the cliff notes below. If you're more of a visual person, check out our infographic or watch the webinar!

An infographic titled "Inside the minds of hiring managers and tech recruiters"

1. Resume-based hiring may soon be a thing of the past

An astounding 75.4% of hiring managers and technical recruiters have hired candidates with non-traditional resumes in light of their proven skills. That means that recruiting teams are less focused on resume checklist items, like traditional education or certifications. Instead, it means they’re shifting evaluation towards a more holistic evaluation approach that also involves skills testing, past job performance, and the like. Since over 70% of developers are at least partially self-taught, deemphasizing resume-based hiring for tech roles may help expand the pool of eligible talent.

2. Hiring teams are ready to utilize AI in the recruiting process – sort of

With tools like Arya, Stella, and Mya on the rise, we’re seeing AI seep into the hiring process, but recruiting teams are more eager to take advantage of some technologies than others. Both technical recruiters and hiring managers are eager to use AI for sourcing and skills assessment but are less interested in tools for reducing bias, screening, and candidate communication (e.g. chatbots).

3. Tech recruiters can uplevel their relationship with hiring managers

While 82.6% of technical recruiters feel that they have a “Good” or a better relationship with their hiring managers, there's an opportunity to boost the sentiment. Only 67.1% of hiring managers feel that they have a “Good” or better relationship with their technical recruiters. But don't worry, we also asked them how they can improve their relationship.

If you're feeling misaligned with your counterpart (see point 4).

4. Aligning with expectations a universal hurdle, for good reason

30.3% of hiring managers and 20.1% of tech recruiters agree that aligning on expectations is a major hurdle in building a strong partnership with their counterpart. But when asked to identify the most difficult or time-consuming part of the recruiting process, “aligning with hiring manager/recruiter” wasn’t reported to be a huge time sink. Instead, it was among the bottom half of pain points in the rankings. It begs the question: could aligning on expectations be as simple as spending more time on it?

5. The definition of an ideal tech candidate is highly subjective

On one hand, hiring managers feel that quality of skills/fit, future performance, and retention are the most important qualities in a successful candidate. Technical recruiters, on the other hand, focus on the quality of skills/fit, time to close, and retention (in that order).

While both groups value the quality of skills/fit and retention, the mismatch in priority level stems from their own performance metrics. Given that hiring managers get rewarded for future performance, whereas tech recruiters get rewarded for time-to-hire, it’s not surprising that an “ideal candidate” looks different to each partner. Empathizing with each others’ needs is one way to seek common ground.

6. Referrals are the most popular sourcing method, for better or worse

A majority 58.5% of respondents indicated that “internal referrals” were the most effective method for sourcing candidates. But unfortunately, great internal referrals don’t always yield great teams.

While internal referrals can unearth phenomenal candidates, it can also leave teams vulnerable to a “culture fit” bias, inadvertently creating homogenous teams that think, work, and approach problems in the same way. More diverse teams, on the other hand, have proven to be more fact-focused, more innovative, and better at making decisions. So while this age-old sourcing method can work in some scenarios, it’s advisable to balance it with other options to build a well-rounded team.

7. Hiring managers and technical recruiters both want to invest in the recruiting process, just not at the same points

When asked what they’d invest in to strengthen their technical recruiting process, hiring managers and technical recruiters both had ideas for improvements.

Hiring managers indicated that they’d prefer to invest in skills assessments and sourcing improvements, whereas technical recruiters would rather invest in sourcing improvements, then in tech talent branding.

While skills assessments can help quickly cut down to the most qualified candidates, tech talent branding can help to attract desirable candidates in the first place. Both perspectives may have something to teach here.

8. Finding qualified candidates is every company’s #1 challenge

Across the board, teams at both large companies (>1,000 employees) and small to medium-sized companies (<1,000 employees) feel that “finding qualified candidates” is the most difficult or time-consuming part of the recruiting process. And that’s in line with what recruiters and hiring managers say they need to strengthen the recruiting process: both parties indicated that improving sourcing was within their top 2 priorities

9. “Non-traditional” tech hires may be on the rise

When asked what 3 most important qualifications they look for before an onsite, both technical recruiters and hiring managers agreed that previous work experience is their top priority (77%), followed by years of experience (45.8%), and personal projects (37.3%). On the flip side, more traditional asks, like skill certifications or prestigious educations both ranked in the bottom half of the priority list. The bottom line: Hiring teams are much more interested in the proven skills and historic performance of a candidate than they are in their “pedigree”.

10. “The future of technical hiring is based on skills, first”

Hiring managers are keen on investing in skill-based hiring, with 33.2% agreeing that investment in skills assessments would strengthen their technical recruiting process. Tech recruiters aren’t far behind, with 22.5% reporting the same sentiment. Echoing that, both hiring managers and technical recruiters reported that quality of skills/fit is the most important indicator of a successful candidate. And given the challenges they have aligning on that factor, a sharper focus on proven skills is a helpful shortcut to finding qualified candidates.

Which learning were you most surprised by? Let us know in the comments.



NEXT: Read the full, interactive 2018 Tech Recruiting Report here.



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