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Tech Recruiting in a Constrained Market: What You Need to Know

Updated: Feb 27, 2022

According to the latest Conference Board Annual Survey, recruiting talent continues to be a top concern for CEOs; it is also a top concern for the entire executive suite. The state of today's workforce has shifted, and companies are struggling to find the right people with the right skills. It is more important than ever to find the best talent for your company and ensure that your talented tech employees are not being lured away by competitors offering higher salaries and other perks. HR leaders must leverage all resources to create a roadmap for successful technical recruiting to keep top talent on board. This article will show you how to engage a technical recruiter to increase your hiring success!

Enter technical hiring

Technical hiring is the art of hiring skilled employees to fill technical jobs and requires technical recruiter skills. Tech recruiting can take any number of forms. Each option has its advantages and cons depending on the available money, consistent need in the hiring process, and the required volume of workers to hire. Employers have a business relationship with technical recruiters similar to a client-supplier relationship. To hire successfully, both parties should align around a common goal that identifies priorities and expectations.

In order to hire technical talent, recruiters must have a unique set of skills. Technical recruiters should be able to understand a manager's needs. They recognize that successful recruiting requires considerable knowledge as a specialist in recruitment to attract potential candidates for technical positions. To effectively screen candidates, the technical recruiter must know the industry you're hiring for and understand the terminology.

What you should know about technical recruiting

Technical recruiting is a specific type of recruitment focusing on finding and hiring people with technical skills. Technical recruiters typically have more knowledge about the work than someone unfamiliar with technology, software engineering, or software development. The role of a technical recruiter in technical recruiting has been around for some time and continues to evolve as new technologies emerge in the marketplace. It’s a specialized field requiring knowledge and experience in recruiting for technical roles.

A technical recruiters job involves helping organizations save money while expanding your business with their expertise. In this way, you help avoid misalignment of talent when scaling your workforce and identifying where employees will be most effective. By partnering with Recruiters who specialize in niche recruiting services to source tech talent, Tech Recruiters become an extension of your business by acting as recruitment brand ambassadors.

What is a technical recruiter?

The need for technical recruiters is a growing demand. A technical recruiter's job is to help organizations find candidates who are a good fit for the company culture. They will source suitable recruits, screen interviews and extend offers to candidates for tech jobs.

Unlike some recruiters, a technical recruiter or recruiting firm with specialized recruiting capabilities will have at least two years of tech background and an understanding of the technical jargon to source and assess tech workers adequately. HR duties vary tremendously depending on the size and specialty of an organization and the resources available to manage the project. These duties include writing the job descriptions to attract the talent you need, technical interviews, and the use of soft and hard skills tests to ensure sound hiring decisions and high-quality hires.

A results-oriented technical recruiter’s duties expand beyond sourcing to include sharing the employer branding and telling the compelling and honest narrative of your business. An excellent technical recruiter can write enticing job descriptions and implement a recruitment marketing strategy that targets tech candidates with specialized skills for highly sought-after roles, such as software engineers and software developers.

In addition to having technical knowledge, technical recruiters are skilled at recruiting strategies such as conducting technical interviews and using soft and technical skills assessments as part of the hiring process. In this way they make sure they hire the right talent for supporting the company's existing and future business goals.

Technical recruiters can assess candidates' other skills, such as creativity and risk-taking, by asking the correct questions and imagining hypothetical situations. As well, the applicant tracking system further streamlines and automates the hiring process. A recruiting technology that uses data and analytics from assessments will provide the client company with valuable insight into candidates' personalities. Plus, recruiters can use analytics to improve recruitment outcomes by recommending best-fit candidates.

Overall, technical recruiters have strong negotiation skills and a lot of responsibility for finding potential employees. It's a critical role because it can impact an organization's growth or decline in productivity and a subsequent increase or decrease in revenue.

What is a constrained market?

What makes the constrained market unique is that companies often know they have limited opportunities to hire. Opportunities might come from their size, a company’s industry/sector, its location, or a combination of these and more. In a constrained market from a jobseeker’s viewpoint, it’s not a question of whether there are job openings, but which of those jobs are available based on their core skills, and how quickly can they get hired.

The demand for technical skills has never been higher, but supply of suitable jobs is projected to grow at a rate of just 3%. A small margin of growth means many HR professionals are struggling to find qualified candidates. If you have an opening in your organization that needs filling today, this blog post will provide some practical tips on hiring more quickly and with less risk.

From the employer’s perspective, operating in a constrained market means they often struggle to fill positions because they do not have a desirable employment package. There is also a smaller pool of skilled individuals who possess the necessary core skills. The location also plays a significant role in determining the opportunities some people are willing to accept and the communities they choose to live in.

tech recruiting passive candidates

What drives a passive job seeker to become active?

A fascinating study conducted on LinkedIn indicates that although self-identified "passive" job seekers are different from "active" job seekers, it's not the way we might expect. For passive job seekers, more money is the top factor that encourages them to move. For active candidates, the leading factors are better work and career opportunities. Active job seekers are more likely to report they are passionate about their work, concerned about improving their skills, and relatively satisfied with their current jobs. Their motivation to move is ambition, not higher wages.

Active job seekers do not report moving for money because their motivation stems from ambition rather than higher wages. High levels of both self-reported ambition and dissatisfaction are also found among more passive job seekers, indicating an opportunity cost associated with actively pursuing a new role. Many of the passive job seekers indicated moving might also limit various family opportunities.

By focusing on targeting top talent, employers have an opportunity to be intentional about every part of the recruitment process to create a winning strategy that will attract the best talent. Successful organizations should consider the following insights to help develop a successful recruitment strategy in a constrained labor market:

  1. Create career paths with opportunities for growth, further career advancement, and better job opportunities in the future.

  2. Introduce easy lifestyle benefits that promote a healthy work-life balance, including flexible work options for remote.

These insights lead us to believe that employers will need to think differently about attracting tech talent. Certainly, employers can keep wages competitive, interview candidates, use analytics, and assess candidates to uncover applicants with suitable skills.

How can you recruit in a constrained market?

  1. Three things provide recruiters with more leverage to help them get the best talent:

  2. Use data to make smart decisions.

  3. Go beyond the resume with a focus on skills and improving the candidate experience.

  4. Use technology to automate recruiting and leverage social media and networks to attract top talent.

Most employers do not have the means to “search for the good candidates” in a constrained talent market. While there are millions of job seekers, there is only so much time and money to go around. You must choose the people who will deliver the best results. Creating an effective search strategy means you must better understand the data to determine the best source.

Highly successful recruiters understand how to use data (e.g., performance management platforms) to look beyond the resume and better understand the available talent. They also recognize how quickly the industry is changing. A LinkedIn study shows that passive job seekers (the "low-hanging fruit") are the most open to online recruiting: 54% of all passive job seekers are open to using online job boards compared with 36% of active job seekers.

There are still opportunities to market to passive job seekers not actively searching for new positions. However, you must be intentional about your talent attraction marketing strategy to stand out from the noise and attract and engage the best talent.

It’s vital to be strategic about the hiring process for technical recruitment in a constrained market. To avoid making mistakes that could cost your organization money, consider doing the following:

  1. Define the role clearly so you know exactly what's needed.

  2. Identify gaps in knowledge and experience before interviewing potential employees.

  3. Speed up your hiring process.

  4. Check references thoroughly before making an offer.

  5. Fast decision making to attract the best candidates.

Use these guidelines so the partnership between human resources, the hiring manager and the technical recruiter can be a great one.

Recruiting tech talent, attract and engage

Most of the best technical talent already has a job. There is a good chance that if they are accepting new offers, there are several companies interested in them at the same time. The approach tech recruiters use to contact technical talent such as software engineers varies depending on the company size and available resources.

Sourcing is the first opportunity your company will have to create an underrepresented talent pipeline. Some firms are using an intentional approach to actively sourcing diverse candidates from organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and other diversity recruitment practices to expand their talent pool.

Candidates are connected, and talented candidates are often “self-selecting”: highly motivated, highly educated, and willing to travel, move, or change employers. Most employers do not have the means to “search for the good candidates” in a constrained talent market. While there are millions of job seekers, there is only so much time and money to go around, so you must choose the people who will deliver the best results. You can influence the landscape, but it takes time, energy, and patience.

Employers must take a proactive approach to recruiting and find ways to keep the best talent engaged during the hiring process. Technical talent enjoys being challenged. In general, these applicants welcome a screening test that challenges their abilities and demonstrates their skills. There is a balance to be struck here as you don't want to overwhelm your candidates with technical hiring assessments.

Employers should approach recruiters as partners and brand ambassadors. Businesses can leverage Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) providers as an extension of their internal talent acquisition team to provide additional sourcing or end to end recruitment support for projects and high volume and full recruitment outsourcing engagements.

Recruiters who specialize in delivering targeted recruitment services provide a value-added service to companies and talent acquisition teams. They use their expertise to evaluate all candidates through a quality filter to find the best fit. A Technical Recruiter knows the type of candidates you want to target and will be a trusted resource and intermediary. In addition, they provide real-time insight into the market conditions and supply organizations with critical data that gives them a competitive edge in the war on talent acquisition.

Negotiate and anticipate

Tech negotiations

The most in-demand jobs also required high salaries. As a result of this, the top technical talent will probably have a number of options to choose from and will use those as leverage in salary negotiations. An experienced technical recruiter can help with compensation negotiations by coordinating with a candidate, hiring manager, and executives of the company to devise a compensation plan that works for everyone involved.

However, not everything will always go according to plan in negotiations. Learn to anticipate the warning signs by addressing these challenges in three ways- creating a culture of success, valuing the candidate's time, focusing on company missions and values, and becoming recruitment ambassadors.

Create a culture of success

The best way to prevent top talent from leaving is to create a culture of success throughout the company. We define a culture of success with three components: the right compensation, the right benefits, and the right culture.

First, consider your company’s pay and benefits structure and place your values front and center. In most companies, employees work for a salary rather than equity. A competitive compensation plan will help you stand out above the noise.

Be mindful of the 'value' of someone’s time

Job seekers (or candidates) do not value your time the same way you value their time. For job seekers, time is finite and they rule the hiring process, and if yours is taking too long, this will affect your ability to find quality employees. Speed to hire is a critical metric in a candidate-driven market, because companies can likely increase the quality of their hires and fast decision making can help them attract top talent. Top candidates tend to make decisions quickly. In hiring the best talent and hiring a diverse workforce, the hiring process should be streamlined to minimize possible bidding wars with competitors and reduce the probability of losing candidates. In contrast, a job seeker attributes the length of the hiring process to be a negative impression of the company culture.

Focus on your company's mission and vision

The only place where technology is scarcer than talent is in the marketplace. A talent shortage is compounded by the fact that this economy sector is now at the very center of the economic and political universe. Compensation is rated highly, but many say that working for a mission-driven company is even more important.

Recruiters as Brand Ambassadors

Companies can improve their recruitment results by making recruiters more than glorified salespeople in the hiring process. A Harvard Business Review article explains the potential for recruiters to take a “business services” approach to recruiting. Recruiting has become very tactical in many organizations.

Recruiters are preoccupied handling a large number of requisitions, posting jobs to job boards and managing the full life cycle process from candidate and hiring manager engagement to reporting, rather than a strategic function where data drives the recruitment strategy. This is where opportunity lies for the internal recruiter to take a more strategic view of their supporting role in the business by performing the duties of a human resource specialist.

A good tech recruiter will view their technical recruiter responsibilities as a collaborator with the business units on benefits (e.g., help keep marketing costs down by locating on a campus, shorten travel time to on-campus candidates), provide visibility into the job market, engage with applicants (particularly in the social media age), and facilitate meetings between technical talent and hiring managers. Overall, they will ensure the hiring manager's needs are met.


The competition for talent with technical skills has never been more intense, especially with many job seekers possessing one or more years of experience in their fields of expertise. As a result, organizations face many challenges due to the adoption of technology.

Given these market conditions, there are three essential questions to answer: How can you find a technical talent pool that is attractive to your unique job characteristics and where? How can you measure whether you have the most attractive candidate pool for your job characteristics? How can companies prepare for the increase in demand for top talent?

To attract the right technical talent, companies must carefully position their brand. When job seekers evaluate potential employers, they pay close attention to company culture. Companies creating attractive work environments, even for entry-level and technical positions, appeal to ambitious job seekers. These progressive companies are more desirable to candidates who possess a strong desire to impact the business significantly.

In addition to traditional benefits such as paid time off, competitive wages, and job security, companies that strive to do right by their employees and offer competitive compensation plans, flexible work options and an outstanding work environment, will attract and retain the type of employee that is prepared to go the extra mile and help their company achieve its business goals.

Taking on technical hiring can be challenging, but with the right approach and strategy, you'll be able to beat out your competition and find the most in-demand candidates. Positioning your technical hiring initiative for success should include expanding your internal talent acquisition team delivery options by partnering with a third-party recruitment services provider. With a recruitment partner on your side, you may be surprised that the talent pool for your technical or specialized roles is much broader than you anticipated.

This article was written by Sr. Consultant, Antoinette Jones.

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