June 6, 2013

Tricks for Hiring Tech Talent

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If you’re mission is to find top notch tech talent for your SMB you’ll quickly find out that it’s a jungle out there in the wide wide world of do-it-yourself tech recruiting.  When you think about how many of the 20-somethings out there that have been coding since they were in diapers you would think that great tech talent would be everywhere.  This is definitely not the case.  When you’re running an SMB and sticking to a budget (a rather small one at that) it is essential to have a hiring plan of action and maybe a few tricks up your sleeve as well.

The first step is establishing a job description that details the required skills for your open position.  There are no corporate training courses offered at an SMB so you have to be sure that your applicants actually have the skills necessary to do the job.  It’s just too easy for some applicants to list on their resume every acronym they’ve ever messed around with and pass it off as a true skill.  Tip #1:  Don’t hire someone who says “Oh sure, I’m proficient in PHP, XML, API, FTP, HTTP, LINUX, SQL, etc.  Well, I haven’t actually used them since high school but I’m sure I can pick it up in 20 minutes.  I pick things up really quickly.”  Test your applicants in order to prove that they are actually qualified for the position.  Services like the Resumator provide applicant tracking systems that incorporate aptitude tests for a variety of different specific positions.  The tests are integrated through Smarterer, an innovative web app that makes quantifying applicant skills a breeze.  There is nothing worse than finding out you’ve hired a phony.

The next step is  actually finding the job seekers and telling them about your company.  Tip #2:  Attract tech talent with technology.  SMB’s are uniquely disadvantaged in hiring despite the fact that they employ 35 percent of the workforce.  According to a Wall Street Journal and Vistage International survey, 31 percent of small businesses surveyed are having trouble finding workers with skill sets and experience for the job.  Every month small businesses list about 1.3 million open jobs, but they do not get filled without an incredible amount of extra effort.  Can you’re SMB afford that?  Probably not.  So it seems that the internet is the only choice for building your team on a budget.  There are plenty of free services that offer  a place to post jobs and browse applicant resumes without paying exorbitant fees.  The obvious choices, like Craigslist, may be enough but if you’re not finding the talent you need try regional resources as well.  University job boards are a great resource and so are local organizations, like MeetUp where like-minded people gather and network.  Recruiting in-person allows employers to get better candidates, faster and people will also refer highly coveted ‘passive’ candidates that already have jobs but might want to jump for a better opportunity.  You may meet a freelancer who actually wants to find a permanent gig but just hasn’t had the time to start looking yet, or make a connection that will lead you to the perfect fit for your position.

Whichever path you choose when navigating the wild world of tech recruiting remember that the most expensive hire is a bad hire.  Every SMB knows that time is precious and it is always worth it to hold out for someone that is the right fit for you and your company.