Tony Hai is a consultant and CIO who has worked with companies implementing massive technology upgrades and overhauls. Getting the right people on board for these projects is critical. In the following article Tony Hai discusses what businesses are doing now to locate and hire the best tech talent on the market.
Look at any list of the 10 most in-demand jobs of the year and the same titles appear repeatedly: Information technology specialist. Data engineer. Artificial intelligence engineer. Cloud architect.
Tony Hai says the ever-expanding world of tech has become increasingly specialized and vital for many companies to be successful in the 21st century. According to the Harvard Business Review, in 2019 over 40% of developer and software engineer hires were made by companies not primarily operating in the tech space.
That number continues to rise as more companies increase their internal developer and software engineering staffs, and because large companies like Facebook and buzzy tech start-ups are aggressively courting tech talent according to Tony Hai.
The pay is high. The job security is pretty ensured. Tech is still king.
But Tony Hai says simply creating technology-based positions and hiring someone competent can be elusive. To keep up with innovation on a global scale, companies are also looking at how to recruit the very best tech talent.
They’re looking for employees who not only do their jobs well but do it with vision. Tony Hai explains they want tech talent who understands data but also can help a company analyze and track that data seamlessly. They want tech superstars.
How do you draw them in? It seems to require a very strategic approach.
Forbes recently asked the members of its Technology Council about successful strategies they rely on to recruit exceptional tech talent.
Tony Hai reports that the strategies ranged from investing heavily in recruitment efforts on college campuses, offering mentorship to young talent as part of a hiring package, and showing potential employees that the work will go beyond high pay and benefits and have a real purpose.
They want to show tech talent that the work they will be doing will be worth doing.
Many of the council’s suggestions reflected the changing cultural atmosphere of the workplace. The tech industry is very competitive, and talent may not be easy to find. It looks like companies are relying on outside-of-the-box recruitment techniques that appeal directly to millennials and Gen Z.
Other recommendations from the council included refining a company’s culture and pitching that to prospective employees, as well as emphasizing support for fully remote work or a hybrid schedule.
Tony Hai explains that 90% of those looking for jobs on popular career boards say they are very open to remote work. Many job applicants are only looking for remote work.
They Want to Make a Difference — and be Challenged
Perhaps most interesting is the suggestion from Tony Hai that the best tech talent is looking to be challenged. He suggests talking with potential employees about a serious problem they need help with, such as healthcare infrastructure or reimagining a platform that can reach millions more users within the year.
WorkXpress and CitiizenDeveloper.com Founder and CEO Treff LaPlante told jobs listing website Monster that several of the most talented tech workers want to feel like their work will change the tech industry and even the world.
Tony Hai says that companies can successfully target top tech talent by counterintuitively not just focusing on technical skills. Yes, those skills are still crucial for tech roles, but top recruiters say they try to look for people who have the most potential to be successful within the company in the long term.
They look for those who can manage stress effectively and thrive on collaboration. Tony Hai says they look for those with good people skills who can work well with managers and customers. They want tech talent with confidence but who are open to training and constructive feedback.
A More Inclusive Environment
A focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion is also important to tech talent. Tufts University recently pinpointed six states that offered the most promise for tech recruiters: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia. All had many Latinx, Black, and female STEM graduates.
Cost of living is a big factor says Tony Hai. A company can make itself more enticing by selling its location as a way for a person’s salary to go further than ever before, especially for those who had lived and worked in tech meccas like San Francisco.
Tony Hai reports that tech talent also wants to feel like they belong. That’s why more recruiters are relying on special events to target employees rather than sit and wait for the applications to roll in.
Many companies are holding networking events that are designed to show off the company’s culture and environment by having passionate current employees share their exceptional experiences with the company.
One old-school recruiting approach is still being used, though. Offering unique benefits that make a company stand out from the pack, something other than a few extra vacation days or free lunches, can lure in top tech talent. Such benefits include unlimited leave days for community volunteer work or help with finding a home.
The top tier is looking for careers that offer more than just a paycheck, says Tony Hai.
They want to be a part of a place with purpose, one that values personal happiness and recognizes the potential that they must change a company for the better.