It's no news that the demand for developers is skyrocketing. In Germany, the tech talent shortage is growing 12% year over year. It is not a unique case - the talent shortage is present globally. That’s why it’s likely that recruiting developers will continue being a challenge for employers and HR teams worldwide.
To help companies tackle this challenge, we decided to host a webinar on hiring tech talent. We had two amazing speakers who shared their extensive knowledge and experience:
- Jaana Rästas, Technical Recruitment Team Lead at Bolt
- Olga Shatokha, Co-founder at Bee’s Knees & former HR business partner at PipeDrive
In this post, we’ll go over the key takeaways from the webinar. For those of you looking for a brief overview of recruiting developers for your team, let’s go on to the first topic!
Finding candidates during the tech talent shortage
Recruiting tech talent has always had its challenges, but recruiting during a global tech talent shortage can seem impossible. What are some ways to find and attract top engineers even in 2022?
Jaana and Olga agree that a collaboration with the tech teams is the main ingredient of a successful talent acquisition strategy. Olga shares how this approach helped PipeDrive build a strong employer brand during her time at the company.
Our first interview was always with the recruiter and the hiring manager or the team lead. That has, of course, wasted quite some time of the technical team. But, on the other hand, it created a really positive impression on the candidates. In general, it created a very good employer brand on the market - at PipeDrive already at the 1st interview you can talk to the technical person. People were more keen to come to PipeDrive for the interview. Actually, some candidates were even coming for the experience of the interview.
Jaana adds that sourcing and referral programs are two valuable strategies which set up a company for success in hiring. Working closely with the tech teams means that you can source “close to home”. Your tech team members have people in their network who might be perfect for the job. Referral bonuses encourage them to introduce these people to the company.
Recruiting developers on a budget
In startups or smaller companies, the budget is often limited. We wanted to explore the best way to handle this scenario so we asked Olga and Jaana for advice. Let’s say your friend wants to hire a developer but can only offer a salary of €4000. What would be the best approach?
• Start with your own network
Make sure to start the search within your network. Olga points out: “If the offer is below the market average, there has to be a personal connection with the founder or with the team.” If there are no good candidates in your network, go on to the networks of your team members.
• Figure out what you can offer besides money
We can’t deny that money is the crucial part of the job offer, but that doesn’t mean other factors don’t play a role in the decision making process. Flexibility, career development, a big part of equity or an attractive position in the company (like a founding engineer) will make for a much more attractive offer for many individuals. Hands-on experience or freedom when it comes to the architecture can be key drivers for developers joining early stage startups, according to Jaana.
• Lower the bar in terms of seniority
If you can’t find the candidate you’re searching for, it might be time to think about lowering the bar. But, only in terms of seniority! Olga’s tip is to never lower the bar in terms of culture. Hard skills, on the other hand, can be taught and improved over time. Bringing in a junior or mid developer and investing in their education can be a feasible option for many employers. Jaana points out that being honest with the candidate and explaining how they can grow into a certain role is crucial in this scenario.
Testing for engineering roles
Should you always test for engineering roles? And, should you test candidates with home tasks or live coding sessions?
Olga says that in the ideal scenario she would give the candidate a choice between a home task and a live coding session. Even though home tasks typically take more time, some engineers would pick them as the option with less pressure. Others might be too busy to commit to a home task and this is where the live coding session works better.
We were lucky enough to learn the main technical stages of the hiring process at Bolt. Bolt’s approach has many similarities with the hiring processes of large global tech companies. Although recruiters do use home tasks to determine a candidate’s seniority, the focus at Bolt is on the live coding sessions. Jana explains:
We have two live coding sessions. They’re very algorithmic and very data-driven. Overall, the main purpose of the first two live coding sessions is to understand the experience, how the person writes the code. They’re language agnostic, so we’re not after one specific language. The person can choose their own language where they have the most experience. It can be Java, C++, even .NET… We have this one assignment that they have to solve and our engineer checks how the person solves the problem, how the person thinks, how clean is the code, how much experience does the person has with data structures, algorithms and so forth.
After the two live sessions that are similar to each other, there is one final session about system design and API design.
Hiring tech talent - how can Relancer help?
Relancer is a marketplace with a large pool of freelance recruiters and recruitment agencies, specializing in various roles, such as tech. Employers get matched with experienced and trustworthy recruiters based on the budget, location and role. If you need a tech recruiter fast or have additional questions about recruiting tech talent, book a 30-minute consultation with Relancer Advisors.