We’ve talked a lot about how the tech recruitment landscape has been changing recently. We all know that hiring tech talent is now highly competitive, with more and more companies, both tech native and not, competing for the same skillsets and experience. As a result, great tech talent is being swept up incredibly quickly, and it’s causing many challenges for scaling businesses that do not have the advantage of a big name or reputation to tempt talent their way.
However, what does a competitive market actually mean? It’s one thing for us to keep stressing that the market is changing and growing increasingly competitive, but how does it affect those searching for talent? As we have many recruitment experts in-house who spend their time navigating the tech talent landscape and speaking with leading scale-ups about talent acquisition challenges, we decided to ask them about the everyday difficulties they’re seeing.
To help you better prepare for this competitive market, here are just some of the trends our recruiters and clients have noticed. Keep this in mind when thinking about your recruitment strategy.
There’s a huge increase in people moving around
The first noticeable change compared to pre-pandemic tech recruitment is that many tech employees are suddenly moving around. There could be many reasons for this talent migration; it could be that talent can see better compensation elsewhere, they’re ready for a new challenge or even that the pandemic has changed their values and priorities – perhaps they want to work remotely more often for work-life balance, or they may be looking for a more empathetic employer. Plus, with passive candidates, there are so many offers going around, they can be tempted to leave their roles a lot more easily. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t change the fact that more tech talent than ever is moving jobs and finding new employment. The challenge here lies in the fact that once they’ve changed employer, it’s harder to get tech talent to consider leaving again. They’ll want to give this new workplace a chance before moving again unless it’s an unmissable opportunity. To allow them to consider you, you’ll need to ensure your messaging communicates how great you are and the opportunity you offer.
Higher amount of counter offers or declines
Despite this, our recruiters have noticed a higher number of offers being declined or counteroffers from current employers preventing talent from moving around. This, we can only assume, is because employers are aware of the current hyper-competitive state of the recruitment market; they’ll do all they can to prevent their employees from leaving and being forced to recruit again. It makes more sense to offer their existing team members better compensation or benefits if it encourages them to stay than to risk high recruitment costs or long periods without a team member, which could be detrimental to business. If you’re recruiting in tech, you need to be aware that the chances of candidates getting a higher counteroffer is increasingly likely, as employers naturally want to hold on to talented people. This means you may have to be prepared for an almost recruitment bidding war or have a pipeline of talent waiting in case your first choice doesn’t work out.
More people not wanting to talk to recruiters
Because so many companies are hiring right now, tech candidates are becoming overwhelmed with messages and opportunities. Imagine the number of times every week a recruiter approaches these candidates; it’s bound to get tiring. Unfortunately, this means that InMails and outreach methods are having less impact on tech candidates. No matter how brilliant the opportunity your scaling business is offering, it’s going to get lost in a sea of messages, and your recruiters will just be another name trying to get in touch. It’s frustrating for recruiters, too, as they have great career opportunities at exciting businesses, which could be perfect for these candidates. However, we must accept that many outreach messages may fall on deaf ears until the noise dies down.
Longer notice periods
We’ve explored this one in more detail in a recent blog, but it’s worth mentioning again. Another trend we’re seeing a lot of is extended notice periods, even for junior candidates. Typically, we expect a candidate to have to give a month’s notice to their current employer unless they’re in a more senior tech role. Therefore, when a junior candidate unexpectedly has to provide three months’ notice, it can delay your growth plans significantly. So, do you look elsewhere and risk an even longer recruitment process or do you wait, hoping this candidate will be loyal to you during these three months? It’s a big challenge that startups have to face. The nature of startups is that they have to scale rapidly, and therefore these long notice periods could really throw a spanner in the works.
What’s the solution?
It’s going to be challenging to stand out to tech talent for a while. Every day there are a considerable amount of job adverts going live, and yours has to be able to cut through the noise and resonate with top talent.
However, a few tactics can help you stand out to top talent even in this highly competitive market.
Make your employer brand irresistible
When all other aspects are level, your employer brand will be the difference in whether a candidate chooses to continue their career with you or someone else. Therefore, by making it irresistible to like-minded candidates, you could win the race for talent. By updating your employer brand and messaging to ensure that it resonates with current mindsets and priorities and painting yourself as a desirable place to work (authentically, of course), you can stand out to candidates. Raise employer brand awareness with the right messaging, and you’ll have a pool of candidates who want to work with you, making future recruiting easy. It’s all about reaching and resonating with the right people and promoting the relevant elements of your company culture. Find what your employees love about working for you and what will entice future team members and use this to raise awareness of who you are as an employer. The more tech candidates that know about you and hear about you, the more applications you’ll get in the future. You’ll be on their radar as a top tech employer, and they’ll look out for your job ads and recruitment marketing.
Up your recruitment marketing game
Although it feels like everyone who is trying to entice tech talent is engaging in recruitment marketing right now, you can always be one step ahead. In this current market, recruitment marketing won’t work if you’re not strategic. You can’t fire out ads to a broad audience and expect applications. For example, this tactic only works for raising employer brand awareness. You also can’t just run campaigns continually without optimisation; you need to constantly look at the candidates you’re attracting and the data from your campaigns to ensure the best results. Recruitment marketing is all about data and learning, from market data telling you how and where to reach candidates to learning what messaging style works and what doesn’t. It’s all about experimentation and letting your failings inform your future strategy. By applying a more strategic mindset to your campaigns and putting time and effort into the visual elements and messaging, your adverts will stand out to the right people. This will improve your chances of attracting tech talent in this competitive market.
The current state of the market means you may have to be a bit more flexible when it comes to your recruitment and growth strategy. Flexible could mean thinking outside of the box when it comes to the ideal candidate, or it could mean waiting more prolonged periods for the right person. By planning ahead and allowing for some flexibility (basically not hiring developers three weeks before you’re due to need them), you’ll give yourself breathing room and a chance to find the right people, not just the available talent.
So, while the changing tech recruitment landscape creates many challenges, there are tactics and mindsets which will help you to get ahead. And if you need help refining your messaging or reaching out to candidates, there’s always the option to outsource your tech recruitment to an RPO provider.
At Talent Works, we offer a flexible approach to RPO which means our services can be scaled up or down to meet your demands. It’s a risk-free and affordable approach to RPO, which makes it accessible to businesses of all sizes, including startups and scale-ups.
To find out more, or to discuss your talent acquisition challenges, contact us.