5 Common tech hiring mistakes to avoid

Finding the right hire for IT can be a chore, and if you get it wrong, the consequences can be substantial. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a bad hire costs at least 30% of the initial annual salary, but that number is believed to be much higher. It’s a mistake that companies simply can’t afford to make in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.

To help avoid the pitfalls of a bad hire and net the tech talent you require, here are five common hiring mistakes to consider:

1. Thinking it’s a business-driven market and not the candidate-driven market it currently is.  Companies looking for tech talent often operate under the misguided belief that they have the power since they are doing the hiring. However, when it comes to highly qualified, niche IT and tech talent, that is no longer the case. Because specialized talent with technical expertise is so difficult to find and hire, qualified candidates are the ones dictating what job offers they respond to, which companies they want to work for, and how much they’ll be paid.  To net top talent, companies must accept they are searching for talent in a candidate-driven market and act accordingly. Or, risk losing out on the talent they want to competitors that already understand this.

2. Offering too little due to small budgets.  Simply put, if you want top tech talent, you’ll need to pay up. Since qualified candidates are dictating the market, they are demanding higher salaries. Think you can low ball candidates after they are through the interview process? Think again. Current employee salaries are often one of the main stats candidates research on sites like Glassdoor to see if companies can match the rates highly qualified tech talent demands.

3. Failing to test coding and technical capabilities.  Due to the difficulty that high-end tech talent searches pose, many hiring managers overlook the importance of testing candidate’s skills and capabilities because their resumes often showcase the experience they are looking for. But, resumes only tell one side of the story. It’s crucial to test the skills of tech applicants more so than any other group because of the need for specific expertise. While it may seem like they have the skills you’re looking for, you will only know for sure by providing them with a test using a coding or programming language proficiency test. Tests should be task-oriented, requiring applicants to develop a function using the coding language or languages that are required for the job. These can be automated through platforms like Codility. Implementing this one method will significantly lower the odds of making a bad hire, meaning you won’t be left with any surprises once they sign on the dotted line.

 4. Overlooking internal talent.  When looking to make a new hire, your current employees can also be your best resource. While many companies believe creating a referral program is the best way to net new talent, don’t make the mistake of overlooking internal talent. Although internal candidates may need additional training, given the current hiring market, this could likely be the faster and less expensive route without sacrificing the tech expertise you’re looking for. Promoting internally also boosts employee retention rates and engagement because they are shown that loyalty and hard work are respected and rewarded in the workplace. Given that the average tenure for tech professionals is only 1 to 3 years, companies looking to boost retention rates, improve culture, and grow internally can’t afford to overlook internal talent for new job openings.

5. Not moving fast enough. One hiring mistake that almost every business makes is not moving fast enough when it comes to the hiring process. Tech talent is a hot commodity and candidates are more aware of this than ever before. Qualified applicants will simply move on with their job search if they don’t hear back within a reasonable time frame or if the hiring process drags on for weeks. Although hiring managers are overwhelmed trying to balance their day-to-day responsibilities with hiring, it’s critical they prioritize the hiring process and show candidates that they are the top priority. The more time lags, the more likely candidates will simply move on. Nothing is worse than dedicating time to interviewing all of the potential candidates just to miss out on the initial candidate they fell in love with.

Making the right hiring choice for your tech team is crucial. Avoid these common hiring mistakes to net the best talent available and dodge the expensive and time-consuming pitfalls of getting it wrong.

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