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Hackernoon logoThe Tech Job Market 2020: Can You Still Hit Your Engineering Hiring Goals? by@April

The Tech Job Market 2020: Can You Still Hit Your Engineering Hiring Goals?

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@AprilApril Bewell

Freelance Writer, Growth Hacker, Foodie

COVID 19’s impact in the tech sector highlights its importance in today’s circumstances, increased demand for consumer solutions, need for extra support and security, and clamor for more online services.

It’s not unfair to say that everyone is scrambling to understand and get a plan in place. Moreso, companies are discovering that technology is now a critical part of their survival. They need to reinvent themselves and innovate their processes, otherwise, they will be left behind, or die. 

As the whole economy is reeling, 70% of industries are freezing hires and laying off employees. However, the engineering and IT industries continue to hire and are driving demand primarily to engineering positions.

Engineering job hires increased steadily during the starting in February rising through July, and there’s the expectation that this will continue to rise till 2021. Companies who are hiring in IT are focusing on the roles of Software and App Developers, User Support Specialists, System Engineers, and Web Developers.

With the kind of demand for engineers today, can you hit your hiring goals for your engineering teams? 

On the upside, COVID-19 is changing the landscape of tech hiring and the industry is now more open to mobile hiring and remote work. This means that the geographic footprint for hiring is getting bigger.

Where you used to only be able to hire talents from your city, you can now hire further and even worldwide if you choose to. Logistics are also easier for remote interviews. Now more than ever, businesses need to get down and create a talent plan for hiring. 

Questions to ask when preparing for a Talent Plan

  • How are you hiring? Are you using/considering take-home exercises, pair ¹programming, and/or detailed architecture interviews) 
  • Are you fully remote or hiring across multiple metros in the US/Canada?
  • Do you have a full-time technical recruiter on the team?
  • Are you hiring 4+ engineers this year and likely next year? 
  • How are you handling your attrition rates?

After creating a talent plan, create your remote hiring playbook. This is important so you can make your processes consistent. This Tech Recruiting Playbook for Remote Startups from WovenTeams is a good start.

(Disclaimer: The author works at Woven Teams)

There's a slew of tips for companies shifting to remote and other best practices for today's distributed workforce. I would also recommend Gitlab's (super) extensive remote manifesto.

When it comes to hiring tech professionals, assessing the basics (technical know-how, problem-solving proficiencies, communication skills, and critical thinking abilities) will continue to play an important part in the early stages of the interview process.

But as the industry shifts to remote, a focus on values alignment will be more important than ever when making tough hiring decisions.

There are also other challenges that you need to consider. Businesses are so used to physical interviews. They need to be deliberate in shifting their interview processes. Where before you can catch a lot in a single interview, online interviews need to be designed for softer interaction so it doesn’t feel as transactional. 

The Secret of Tech Recruiting

Alongside the increase of unemployment and job applications, there has been a corresponding increase in the cost of reviewing those applications. Simply put, companies are not able to keep up with the incoming volume.

Most leaders know that identifying and recruiting the right talent to their organizations is one of their toughest and most important responsibilities. And yet they know that the main tools we use today — resumes and unstructured interviews — offer weak, unreliable, and often biased signals to a candidate’s true abilities and potential.

But they continue to use these tools because they’re familiar and they create strong feelings of certainty (even if that certainty is misplaced). Startups are hungry to recruit high performers for their organization. And despite the effort and investment they make in recruiting and interviewing talent, they often miss out on people with incredible potential all the time.

New concerns on the online work model arise such as job-hopping, frequent ghostings, or the developers’ inability to focus, makes it a tougher landscape for businesses with no action plan in place for a proper online onboarding which is not just a copy-paste of their face to face onboarding process.

By prioritizing performance over scanning resumes companies can build a hiring system with less implicit bias to ensure the right candidate gets the job. Advancing more fringe candidates results in a bigger pool of talented applicants. This in turn leads to more diverse teams and higher-quality candidates.

It’s an open secret but one that companies have ignored before. That you can only build a high performing remote team by testing engineers for technical and other essential job skills and not just on their resumes. And yes, you can hit your hiring goals by reanalyzing your hiring process. Because whether you like it or not, you are remote now.

Disclaimer: I write occasional articles in my industry to build my portfolio and often mention work that I'm proud of. Currently, I'm affiliated with @woven_teams, a remote hiring platform for engineers. We help you find those Hidden Gems, great-fit engineers whose resumes were on the bubble of being rejected. ⅓ of customer hires are great developers who would have been resume-rejected.This content is part of / inspired by one of our online resources at the Woven blog.

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