Unemployment for Tech Professionals drops under 2%

According to a recent survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the tech economy continues to thrive, with a reported unemployment rate of only 1.9% as of April 2018. This is down from a reported 3% last year. This is good news for tech workers looking for their next career move since falling unemployment rates mean companies are increasingly competing for talent.  This results in a rise of multiple job offers and/or counter-offer negotiations. Companies are also having to reevaluate their benefits and retention strategies in order to keep their best tech employees happy.

Recruiting the right talent is also becoming more challenging, with the high market demand for skilled technology professionals. Positions are often open for months, resulting in current tech teams being overworked, potentially negatively affecting retention rates. It can become a vicious cycle – not filling open positions in a timely fashion can result in even more open roles due to employees leaving. Being able to recruit and retain qualified technical talent is mission critical for success in today’s market.

With unemployment rates so low, how can a company successfully recruit the right talent?  There are many factors but one of the most important and yet overlooked is streamlining the interview process to make it as tight as possible.  Long interview cycles flush out the best talent since more nimble companies will be able to get through the interview process and make solid offers more quickly.

Having too many decision makers involved in the process can have adverse results in hiring the best. Although it is a good idea to have a potential hire meet colleagues in order to build excitement and interest for the candidate, be careful in who is invited to provide their feedback on a potential hire. Many organizations were successful in the past by allowing everyone on the team to evaluate and provide their input on a potential hire – and in smaller organizations or teams this can still work. However, in larger organizations or for more strategic roles, it’s essential to limit decision makers to as small a group as possible.

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Having more decision makers, especially colleagues, does not necessarily result in the best hire. In fact, it will more likely than not simply result in a homogeneous team – since a colleague interviewing a potential colleague may not be looking for what would make the best hire but simply for the person most like themselves. Hiring someone that is most liked by the team does not always result in hiring the best person for the role – but instead the person most like the rest of the team. Cutting down the number of people involved in the hiring decision will not only promote positive diversity in your organization, but it will also allow you to make key hires before they are hired by your competition!  Studies have shown that a diverse company can perform 35% above the national median.

Along with shortening interview cycles, it is now critical to get candidates excited about the prospect of working for your brand. Your employment brand and reputation matters more than ever before, and it is even possible to win candidates over with lower salaries than your competitors if you have a more reputable employer brand.

Reputable, well-known companies with excellent reviews often do not have to pay as much since there is value to working for a well-established company or one focused on something a candidate is looking for – such as work-life balance. Many tech-professionals have worked in environments that expect 50+ hour work weeks, and they have no issue considering a lateral move or even a slight pay cut for a better working schedule. As a part of your interview process, make sure to share about the exciting things your company is working on – whether it’s new technology you’re building, interesting partnerships/clients, or even cool benefits/perks. The interview process should be split 50/50 on both interviewing the candidate and allowing the candidate to interview you as a potential employer.

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Engaging candidates quickly during the interview process along with significantly shortening the interview process are two critical ways to make key hires in today’s competitive tech market.

Unemployment for Tech Professionals drops under 2%
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Elizabeth Becker

Elizabeth is Marketing Manager at PROTECH. Comments and feedback can be directed to her at jobs@protechfl.com.