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3 Strategies to Differentiate Your Team and Win Over Technical Talent

differentiate your team with technical talent

Either you’ve experienced the hard truth, or you’ve heard it. Hiring technical talent can feel like you’re grasping at straws that just keep slipping away. The numbers confirm it. Today, 82 percent of employers who hire engineers struggle to fill open roles. Software developers can get as many as 20 calls a day from recruiters trying to convince them to leave for another company. If you’re one of those recruiters, how on earth do you compete with 19 people?

The answer lies in differentiation, according to David Nason, Head of Talent Acquisition at Infor. To successfully recruit tech talent, you have to find ways to distinguish your recruiting process, team, and company values. Recently, David joined us to reveal five meaty tips on how to do just that. While we’re just recapping three today, you can absorb every single one in the full webinar recording.

  • Simplify and shorten your application

60 percent  of job seekers say they’ve quit filling out an application due to its length or complexity. According to David, this proves that your volume of technical applicants will drop if your application is unintuitive. No candidate wants to use clunky products, but engineers who build easy-to-use interfaces may become especially frustrated. On top of that, they’re both busy in their role and fielding several reach-outs from recruiters, meaning they don’t have time for lengthy application processes. Make your candidate’s user experience seamless, on the other hand, and you’ll save them time and deliver a positive impression. “I want to make sure that in every place that a candidate interacts with my company, their experience is excellent,” explains David. “The goal is to make the application easy to get through, while still providing the information we need.”

To test the intuitiveness of your application, David suggests an experiment. “Get a friend, go to your careers page, and have them walk through an application process,” he suggests. “Is it easy for them to share their story, and are you able to get all necessary information?”. David also holds that choosing the right tool will help you build that easy experience for candidates. “I love the Lever application process. It’s simple, it’s beautiful, it’s intuitive,” David gushes. “It allows the candidate to think only about what they’re trying to communicate. They can instantly parse their resume and use LinkedIn to easily share details. That’s huge.”

  • Give candidates every piece of information you can

Before you communicate openly with candidates, establish what’s unique about your team. Maybe you know what’s great about your own experience, but that doesn’t properly encompass what your candidate wants to know. “To talk to technical candidates, I’ve made it my job to know what our technology does, what implementation cycles are like, and what the tech stack looks like,” says David. “You need to have real business conversations with your candidate.” To give them as much information as possible, create a ‘unique hiring proposition’ that relates to their motivations. What can your team help them do that no one else can?

Too often, David sees recruiters treat interviews like a one-way street – wherein they expect that candidate to give them information. That’s a mistake, he says. Not only should you give them details about your team, but you should push yourself to share feedback with them. “At conferences, the number one complaint I hear from candidates is that they didn’t hear back from a recruiter or hiring manager, or they did hear back and got a lukewarm response,” says David. Yes, giving feedback is admittedly one of the scariest parts of recruiting, but it’s extremely meaningful to your candidates. Whenever possible, provide them with high-level, constructive insights into why you’re not moving forward with them. Need some tips on what to say? We wrote these two posts on how to soften job rejection through email and over the phone.

  1. Leverage the selling skills of your greater team

“Hiring and recruiting are everybody’s job,” begins David. Treat it like a team-wide responsibility, and you are almost guaranteed to elevate your success with technical candidates. Before you even open up a role, set up a face-to-face intake meeting with your hiring manager. Walk through a few resumes together so that you can develop a picture of their ideal candidate. You’ll also want to understand what your candidate’s future day-to-day will look like. Say you’re hiring a software engineer – ask your hiring manager questions like: ‘Which features might they work on?’, ‘What are the coolest parts of your tech stack?’, ‘Which teams will they work most closely with?’. Then, after this initial kickoff, continue having conversations like these with your hiring manager. Don’t forget, they’re your partner.

The rest of your company is also there to help you woo your candidate. Introducing them to different team members will provide a more holistic glimpse at your culture and differentiate your team.  There is quite literally no other company like yours, and encouraging your interviewers to share their divergent experiences will automatically show your candidate why you’re special. One concrete strategy to begin employing? Before you kick off each interview process, train your interviewers to put on their selling hats when they sit down with candidates. Encourage them to share why they joined, talk about what they love about the company, and allot time to answer the candidate’s questions.

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A huge thank you to the inimitable David Nason, who has trained thousands of recruiters throughout his career, for sharing his tips on how teams can stand out and successfully hire technical talent. It was a pleasure working with you!

If you want to hear all 5 of his tips, don’t forget that the full webinar recording sits here.