Recruiting, Technology

Tech Hiring: Understanding the Data to Make Informed Decisions

Overwhelmed with hiring tech workers? You’re not alone! As the need for tech workers continues to increase due to technological advances, understanding key data about hiring tech workers will help you make informed decisions throughout the hiring process.


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Talent acquisition platform iCIMS recently released its “2019 Benchmark Report: Hiring tech talent for CIOs and CTOs.” In the report, iCIMS sought to provide companies—and, specifically, chief information officers (CIOs)—with a practical guide to hiring tech talent.

The authors—Keyur Ajmera, Vice President of Infrastructure Shared Services; Adam Feigenbaum, Chief Customer Officer; and Rhea Moss, Manager of iCIMS Insights—analyzed more than 25 million technology applicants over the last 3 ½ years.

We’ve highlighted a few key insights from the report and cover some of the suggestions iCIMS has provided to help you during the hiring process. Continue reading to learn more.

Tech Hiring Challenges

One of the most surprising revelations in the report is that hiring tech workers takes a lot longer than hiring nontech workers. “In the first five months of 2019, it took an average of 80 days to hire the typical app developer. This is a jump from 2016, when it took just an average of 66 days. It takes 50% longer to hire for a tech role than all other types of roles,” reveals the report.

However, the delay is not due to a lack of applicants; it’s because hiring managers are having difficulty finding qualified applicants. iCIMS found that “there were twice as many applicants for every tech hire in 2018, compared to all (types) hires.” The problem, it says, is the quality of candidates who are applying for these tech-related roles.

What tech roles are giving employers trouble? iCIMS reports that nearly one-third of all tech hires are for app developer positions, but that’s not the hardest role to fill. Security analysts, data research scientists, and database administrators are proving to be the most difficult jobs to recruit for. iCIMS says employers are “only able to hire less than half of their open positions” for these roles. But there is good news: Employers say they have no difficulty when hiring all of their frontline help desk support positions.

Additionally, iCIMS found that employers are focusing too much on finding candidates in locations synonymous with technology: Silicon Valley and New York City. Although it would make sense to assume these locations have an abundance of tech workers, the iCIMS report actually found that there are more tech applicants from Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Denver, Colorado; Madison, Wisconsin; Raleigh, North Carolina; Salt Lake City, Utah; and the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metro area.

iCIMS Recommends Doing This:

If you’re having difficulty hiring tech talent, the first thing you can do is look outside your company’s headquarters and hire remote workers from the locations mentioned above.

“Instead of promoting job openings based on your company’s physical location(s), begin your search by looking at where the talent is located,” the authors suggest. “Source from the biggest concentration of tech talent, measured by the number of applicants as a percentage of total population, which is led by the D.C.–Virginia–Alexandria area, followed by Boston and Detroit. To attract remote workers, clearly state in the job title that you’re hiring remotely.”

Second, be prepared to wait out the lengthy process. While iCIMS reports that the average time to fill for certain tech roles could take up to 3 months, recruiters and talent acquisition professionals can speed up this process by using different methods for filling the void.

For example, iCIMS suggests retraining, or upskilling, your existing workers so these employees can juggle multiple roles—and start with workers who are working the help desk. “Organizations of every size are investing in retraining employees. Start by putting your frontline support staff into fast-track training for more critical areas of IT, given that companies are not struggling to hire helpdesk talent.”

iCIMS also suggests sourcing nontraditional talent who has demonstrated an ability to perform the job but doesn’t necessarily have a 4-year degree to back up the skills. “We have found that recruiters often feel a coding boot camp is as meaningful as a college degree in the technology field,” say the authors of the report. You can also try offering a hiring incentive for those roles that are truly hard to fill, like security analysts, data research scientists, and database administrators.

Finally, if you’re struggling to find quality talent, consider looking at how you’re marketing these positions to jobseekers. iCIMS suggests these five areas to focus on when it comes to posting open positions:

  1. Nurture qualified talent. “Don’t wait for the perfect candidate to apply,” the authors say. “Instead, proactively identify and engage top targets and invite candidates to stay in touch by joining your talent pools expressly for IT.”

“Add candidates referred by employees and those who applied previously but they didn’t get the role,” they suggest. “Keep in touch with them with your latest news, insights and job recommendations based on their specific skills and interest.”

  1. Limit the number of always-open jobs. “Candidates see when positions are open for months on end and think you’re not really looking,” the authors say. “It’s important to refresh open job requisitions.”
  2. Spruce up your job descriptions. According to the iCIMS report, most job descriptions are written by IT, and they’re incredibly complex. Instead, have a marketer review them, suggests iCIMS. Your marketing team “will focus only on core responsibilities and the top three deliverables so candidates can better self-select and highlight their relevant experiences and skills specific for your need,” say the authors.
  3. Post the salary ranges in the job posting. “Few organizations are upfront about the salary ranges, in order not to limit people’s interest or their own abilities to negotiate,” say the authors. They suggest publishing the salary range because it will help to attract only the right level of candidates. They also suggest that these “perfect fit” candidates will appreciate your transparency and enhance your position with Google for Jobs, which is becoming an important source of candidates.
  4. Use analytics to help target the right candidates. According to the authors, few companies actually track the source of their tech hires. “In addition to providing candidate résumés, ask recruiters to provide you with the source of candidates. Focus on high-performing channels and activities that convert the highest quality candidates to fill roles cost-efficiently,” say the authors.

By looking at the data, you’re able to better understand the difficulty surrounding tech hiring. But not all is lost! Using the strategies iCIMS suggests will help you attract tech talent in no time. These strategies are fantastic for attracting applicants in all roles, not just tech, so be sure to keep them in mind as you continue to beef up your existing workforce.

To learn more about the research, and to see other strategies iCIMS has up its sleeves, click here.

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