How small businesses can compete for tech talent

August 13, 2021

Young woman doing a whiteboard interview

Source Shutterstock/Jacob Lund

Attracting and obtaining tech talent has become more challenging in recent years. As demand often surpasses supply, the technology job market has become increasingly competitive.

This is particularly true for smaller businesses competing against larger global organisations. 

That said, many tech candidates now look beyond the big names in the tech industry when searching for a new career.

They are just as likely to look at other values, such as diversity, company culture and flexibility when considering a job opportunity. In order to attract the right talent, it is important to consider these factors when putting together a job specification. 

Here are some helpful tips for finding IT talent: 

Establish a presence within the tech scene 

According to research by Stack Overflow, the majority of developers learn about prospective employers through the organisations’ content. This includes press releases, videos and blogs. 

With that in mind, it’s essential to make your company visible to increase your reach. This can be done through digital marketing across your social media platforms. 

Increasing your media visibility will help you to attract and hire tech candidates and consolidate your brand image. Posting good quality content can boost your brand awareness and identity, impacting your reputation in the hiring market. 

Some ideas for making your company visible to tech talent include:

  • Use paid advertising to boost your social media posts on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook 

  • Produce tech-specific content relating to your business 

  • Participate in events and conferences, or host your own events

Offer an attractive career path

To hire top talent within the tech space, it’s important to provide attractive career opportunities. Employees will want the opportunity to grow within your company. 

You can help your employees to achieve their career development goals by providing performance feedback at regular intervals. This gives you an opportunity to listen to your employees and provide meaningful feedback on how to reach their goals. 

Bear in mind that every person is unique, and has a different set of skills and requirements. For each employee, create a personalised career development plan that focuses on how they can reach their individual goals.

By advertising that your company offers unique career plans for employees, you can set yourself apart from other businesses.

Promote skills development 

The digital age requires constant learning. According to research, three out of four developers said the chance to learn new technologies was an important factor when choosing a job. 

Tying in skills development to your employees’ career development plans is important. It will reflect well on candidates seeking a new role with your company. 

Support remote working

pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3844524Source: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many businesses work. Now, many companies have adopted a remote working policy as a result of the social distancing guidelines. 

What’s more, many organisational processes are becoming digitised. In particular, roles revolving around IT and data can be carried out at home as part of a virtual workspace. 

This means that geographical location is now less important when it comes to hiring candidates. This benefits the employee by offering them a more flexible work/life balance and is also good for you as an employer. It means you are not limited to a local talent pool. Instead, you could hire staff from anywhere in the world. 

Provide a perks and benefits package

Tech companies have the opportunity to offer unique benefits and perks that fit well with a new, hybrid style of working. For example, perks could include:

  • A work-from-home budget to help make working remotely as comfortable as possible - e.g. offering a budget for standing desks, eye tests, supportive desk chairs etc. 

  • A time budget for personal development to allow time off for personal development and skills training 

  • Flexible working hours 

  • Paid parental leave 

Create and highlight an attractive organisational structure

It’s important to ensure you have adequate resources for employees to do their jobs properly. You can do this by benchmarking ratios of the roles you need to hire; don’t over-hire in some areas, as this risks burnout in other departments. 

Former PayPal COO David Sacks suggests this optimal organisation structure for each stage of your growth. This refers mainly to Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, but the recommendations can be rolled out to other technology businesses. 

If you are trying to hire software engineers, but they see 10 salespeople at your company for every engineer, they will expect to be overworked. They may even predict over-promising on features they are unable to deliver just to get a sale over the line. 

Conversely, a salesperson interviewing for an engineering-led organisation may expect to be overworked if there are no other salespeople or marketers within the team. 

By working with a recruiter who can map the market, you’ll be able to build out your talent pipeline to prepare for gaps within your team. 

How Airswift can help 

Here at Airswift, we’re committed to helping technical and engineering companies find IT talent.

Our talent acquisition specialists will support you throughout the recruitment process and identify candidates according to your specific needs. We’ll help you hire exceptional talent while offering a great candidate experience too.

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This post was written by: Andrew McLoughlin, Senior Manager - Technology at Airswift