A snapshot of the current technology and engineering hiring market reveals several major trends that are creating a challenging landscape for employers and recruiters. Economic factors, changing candidate behaviors and increasing social media usage have converged to reshape the way recruiters and HR staff connect with tech candidates.
“There’s a bit of a perfect storm that has happened as a result of all the trends that have played out in the last few years,” says Jason Warner, a principal at Recruiting Toolbox, a Seattle-based talent acquisition and management consulting company. Warner and his team help organizations refine their recruiting efforts and achieve the best results from their hiring processes.
Warner advises companies to build an integrated sourcing strategy that capitalizes on positive trends and reduces the negative effects of other trends. Here are three key trends and ideas for addressing them:
1. Immobile talent pool
Roughly 25% of American homeowners are underwater with their mortgages due to the housing bubble. Because of this, many excellent tech candidates who are willing to move for a new job or relocate to a more active hiring market, simply cannot because they are unable to sell their homes.
Adding to the problem is the fact that with tight budgets, many companies can’t pay relocation costs or buy people out of their homes. “If people can’t sell their homes, then those people are no longer viable candidates,” says Warner.
One way to overcome the challenge of an immobile talent pool is to focus your efforts and resources on finding local candidates who don’t require relocation. “Companies could pay more for local candidates in terms of salary and sign on bonuses and still come out ahead compared to what it would cost to get someone to move,” says Warner.
2. Candidates coming in the back door
Just three or four years ago, a candidate who was looking for a new job would visit a company’s website, review its employment brand materials, submit a resume online, and then wait to hear back from the company. Those days are long gone. “Candidates are no longer content with going through what I refer to as the ‘front door’ of a corporation,” says Warner.
Today, candidates are avoiding established screening and hiring processes and using other ways to access information about a company’s job opportunities and work environment. Candidates often know someone who works at the company and will ask that person for help getting a job, or they’ll reach out to their social media network to learn about open positions and get direct referrals to hiring managers.
“Now we have candidates going through a different entry point and that creates problems,” comments Warner. That unconventional process results in less control over employment brand messaging and can increase administration for Human Resources and hiring managers.
A smart, cost-effective way to manage this change in candidate behavior is to build talent networks that meet prospective candidates at different entry points. One strategy is to involve your current technology employees in the recruiting process and find ways to leverage their social media networks to connect with current and prospective candidates. The new Dice Talent Network lets you do just that by seamlessly integrating recruiting and social networking. With it, you can build a network of professionals, communicate with that network quickly and manage your employment brand through social media outlets.
3. Greater employment brand transparency
Social media not only makes it easier to connect with prospective candidates, it also creates greater transparency when it comes to a company’s employment brand. It’s easy for candidates to use social media to validate – or invalidate – information companies provide about what it’s like to work for them. “The paradox of the reputation economy in which we now live is that a lot of perception is being shaped through a concept of social proof,” says Warner. “Employment brands are owned by the collective group of people who have a voice, and it’s no longer primarily the marketing material shaping candidate perceptions.” Indeed, employment brand is shaped by bloggers, networks and related mechanisms that enable anyone to provide a point of view on an employer’s brand.
Because of this greater transparency, authentic employment brands should be supported by company employees. Consider conducting an audit of your employment branding messages and materials to ensure that the message you’re sending is true and supported throughout the company. Also, make sure that the candidate experience you provide is positive and consistent so even those professionals you don’t hire have good things to say about their interaction with your organization.