The current market for tech talent is a uniquely challenging one. There are reports of increased redundancies and cancelled vacancies, signalling an economic slowdown. And yet at the same time, companies are having a difficult time finding the people they need, especially in some particularly high-demand skill sets.
There are new realities to contend with in the competitive landscape, too. In addition to the higher numbers of resignations we saw last year, the rapid increase in remote work is erasing geographic boundaries, making it easier for companies to recruit employees wherever each of them are located.
Job postings alone won’t cut it. According to a survey conducted by Stack Overflow, while 75% of developers are open to hearing about opportunities, only 15% are actively looking. Clearly, outreach is critical. But where should we reach out?
We’ll assume that no more needs to be said about LinkedIn. Instead, let’s dig deeper, and take a tour through some less common sources of top tech talent. Online, in the real world, and lastly, a few that might be right under your nose.
GitHub is a cloud-based service that allows developers to store and manage their code, and track and control changes to that code. You can search GitHub by programming language, identifying developers who know it.
Stack Overflow is a question and answer website for programmers - pros and enthusiasts alike. Users are awarded points for knowledgeable answers, so you can quickly identify the experts you need.
More than just a collaboration tool, Slack is a platform for channels that create a community of some of the top tech minds around the world … and those who want to know them.
Are those three still a bit too ‘vanilla’?
As with Slack Overflow, you can find experts answering questions related to the technologies you’re recruiting for at Quora. Although Meetup groups are often designed for real-world encounters, there are lots of opportunities to engage online with people who share an interest in specific technologies. Some recruiters have even found the people they need on Goodreads, reviewing books related to the technologies they’re recruiting for.
Talent In Real Life
When you’re looking for tech talent offline, there are two ways you might think about the talent pools - geographic and demographic.
The tech hotspots of the world are bursting at the seams with talent … but they’re also overrun with competition. Consider going where your competition isn’t. Lesser-known cities may have smaller talent pools, but you’ll also face less competition for the people who are there - especially advantageous if you can accommodate remote or hybrid workers. Similarly, a longer-term strategy is working to build graduate pipelines in emerging talent pools where promising academic programs are located. For the shorter-term needs, requiring experienced talent, it can pay to map out adjacent companies and industries, rather than looking - again - to only direct competitors.
Specific communities of people with common characteristics can be diamond mines filled with gems that just need a bit of polish. Here are three to try.
Hosting boot camps and hackathons can be a fun and productive way to attract emerging talent to your tech team.
Many veterans have developed high-level technology skills - in network communications, and app and software development, for example - through their military service, and are excellent prospects for reskilling.
There are a great many people who’ve left the workforce for a variety of reasons - caring for family members, for example - and in some cases find it difficult to get their foot back in the door. A returnship program can provide the pathway they need, and the talent you need.
Talent On Your Doorstep
The talent you need may be closer than you think.
Your current employees can be a rich source of referrals to talented contacts in their networks. According to Miranda Kalinowski, Global head of Recruiting at Meta, referrals have the highest conversion rate in the funnel, and are retained longer than employees hired through other channels.
Upskilling and reskilling your current employees can also be a win-win solution. Your company retains a dedicated employee, and the corporate knowledge they carry with them. And your employee - perhaps with the support of an apprenticeship program like those employed by RingCentral - gets the mid-career change they’re looking for.
While unconventional, these can be incredibly rich sources of tech talent. Best of all, you’ll be ‘mining’ where fewer of your competitors are. Get your pickaxe and shovel ready, make your outreach unique and personal, letting the talent know where you found them and why they should be excited about what you’ve got to say. Let’s dig in.