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Reimagining hiring in the tech sector: improving the candidate experience

Given the recent spate of layoffs in the tech sector, things don’t appear to have cooled down following the so-called tech winter of 2022, as we’ve seen yet more casualties in the news of late. And while this could be seen as an excellent opportunity for those companies who are looking to snap up the best talent, given the supply of labour that is now readily available, this could pose a range of both compliance and candidate experience challenges. Given the potential increase in the number of candidates applying for jobs, companies may be tempted to cut corners in the background screening process. In this article, I’m going to be focusing on some of the key areas that can immeasurably boost hiring outcomes across the tech remit in the current climate, without compromising on the candidate experience.

Even if you’re not planning on recruiting right now, chances are that you will be soon, especially as economic growth starts to pick up and inflationary pressures ease. My point being that now is the perfect time for tech companies to review recruitment processes and importantly their brand messaging. Indeed, crafting a powerful “go to market” employee value proposition (EVP) is one of the most important aspects of any talent attraction strategy – your unique selling points must come across at all stages of the process, from the job description to interviews, all the way to onboarding. This not only represents your organisation accurately, but enhances the candidate experience.

To compete for the top tech talent, you’ve got to get your EVP right. Now there are many strands to this, but generally speaking you have to think about what makes your company stand out, both from a work environment and culture perspective. In practical terms, this means not only talking about benefits, which are of course important and I will mention more about this later, but also key topics such as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Are you using inclusive language in your job description and encouraging applications from women and minority or under-represented groups?

The devil is in the detail and you must leave no stone unturned. We know only too well that there is an acute shortage of women in tech, so you need to cater for the fact that they may be returning to the workplace after a career break. Are you putting them off by including too many requirements? We also know that tech candidates want and would expect to work flexibly, so a hybrid working arrangement is an absolute must to attract these highly skilled individuals. Other factors such as providing a company laptop and other relevant tech tools will also be looked on favourably.

Improving recruitment and screening processes

Improvements can always be made to the recruitment process. Sterling’s recent “Hiring Imagined” report found that 7 in 10 candidates either considered dropping out of the hiring process or had done so – with the top three reasons cited being processes that were overly long (39%) and complex (37%) as well as bemoaning too many touchpoints (27%). Now is the time to review and streamline processes, which could include looking at reducing the number of stages and interviews. But due care must also be taken to improve communication, especially with those who are rejected.

Another important aspect is ensuring that you have the right technology, such as the right AI-powered Applicant Tracking System (ATS) recruitment software that will vastly reduce the time taken to sift through CVs as well as help with monitoring and tracking. This is particularly pertinent when an uptick in the number of applications is likely given the layoffs that have been noted in some Big Tech firms, and candidates are wanting to move quickly.

Application Programming Interface (API) technology for screening is another form of software to consider – according to our survey, a quarter of candidates had issues with the screening process with over half of employers (52%) looking to add more services to make their screening processes more robust.

Crucially, tech frees up the time of internal talent acquisition teams to focus on those other key areas that will radically improve the candidate experience and, by default, hiring outcomes. Getting that cultural message across as well as your values is a vital part of engaging with candidates. If hiring globally, are you communicating in the local language to better connect with candidates? Our report also highlighted a glaring disconnect between what candidates wanted – the most important factor for them being that values and culture were reflected during the screening process – and what employers thought they wanted.

Having an efficient hiring process and a powerful EVP will clearly improve the candidate experience and can boost hiring metrics. But without effective background screening and vetting, both for permanent as well as contingent workers, those efforts will be significantly undermined, especially in a saturated tech talent market like the current one.