The tech industry is booming in states like California, Utah, and Texas, and many companies are scouring for qualified candidates out-of-state, desperate to recruit the workforce they need to maintain growth. The hiring process is sometimes done remotely, often rushed, and the pressure to retain talent is just as intense. While it can take trial and error to find great employees that will help your business thrive, it's been shown that hiring just one unfit employee can cost a corporation over $50,000.
An applicant can look great on paper, deliver a great interview, and even perform well for the first few months they're in a position, there's really no way of knowing if they are a good fit long-term when you hire them...or is there? Here are 5 easy tips for hiring better talent for your tech company.
1. Test Before You Hire
One of the best job application experiences I've ever had was with a tech company who gave a practical test project as the first stage of my job interview. The test project gave me the opportunity to show what I could do in an actionable way, and prove that I was the best and most creative candidate for the position before even interviewing. Hint: I got the job.
Whether the test is written, verbal, or even a contest, testing applicants for how skillful they are in their craft and how creative they can be can give you a great idea of if they are a good fit for the position. It can also tip you off that they might be better suited for another open position at the company, let you test their reading comprehension, writing abilities, and attention to detail, and possibly even give you a fresh perspective on a stale project that you yourself have been struggling to reimagine.
2. Ensure they Fit the Company Culture
More and more tech companies are putting a huge focus on delivering a fun, creative, and stress-free company culture. Google, for instance, allows employees to bring dogs to work, take 3 months of unpaid leave, and even offer free rides to and from the office. While these freedoms sound amazing to many, the laid-back office setting might be shocking to someone who has previously worked in a more buttoned-up office. They may even find it distracting or unprofessional.
While culture fit is much harder to determine, it is a great predictor of how happy someone will be in their position long-term. No matter how great they are at their job, if they hate their work environment, an employee will not be productive and will not give their best work. Make sure to thoroughly expose them to your company culture during the interview and test their level of comfort with the noise level, dress standards, typical language, and office layout of your business. Also assess their strengths and needs as an employee to make sure it fits with the management style of their immediate supervisor and the company at large.
3. Conduct a Group Interview
Interviewing more than one candidate in a group interview can give you the opportunity to observe your applicants in action. You can see how they react to competition, if they play well with others in a team setting, and if they can think on their feet. You can also assess how introverted or extroverted they might be, as well as subtle things like how well they listen to instructions, give feedback, and receive criticism. This is especially effective for sales and customer service agents.
The most challenging thing about group interviews is scheduling that many people with different availability to be in the same room at once. Larger companies are solving this problem with appointment scheduling software that allows applicants to choose from a pool of interview times. If your business is smaller and only hiring a few employees, you might also consider throwing the applicant in a group with existing employees to "hack" a current project and give insight into how they could contribute to the team.
4. Hire for Potential, Not Skills
Qualifications, experience, and education are all important factors when searching for a qualified applicant, but if an employee lacks certain soft skills they will likely fail. Being able to remain productive under pressure, locate solutions to questions they cannot answer resourcefully, have integrity and deliver work on time, and react positively to failure are all traits are much harder to teach than a new technical skill.
Furthermore, technology is constantly changing, and requires an employee that is excited to learn and grow their skill set. If they see this as drudgery, they are likely in the wrong field and won't enjoy their position. Weigh inquisitiveness and a positive outlook equally to skill when hiring, and don't shy away from a less-qualified candidate who is hungry to learn.
5. Incentivize Employee Referrals
Employees hired through referrals are faster and cheaper to onboard, and generally stay longer at the company than a candidate hired in the traditional manner. Most current employees also won't risk their reputation by referring someone they don't feel is a good fit, and the referred party will already have a pretty good understanding of company culture and the expectations of the position.
Consider incentivizing employee referrals to make it more appealing for your employees to help you recruit new job candidates. You'll end up with a better pool of applicants, and the extra cash bonus for referrals will be one more positive reason to remain in your employment.
Hiring the best candidate for a tech position can be challenging, and it can cost you a lot of money and time if you choose incorrectly. Consider employing these 5 tactics for evaluating prospective candidates and you'll be much more likely to find a competent, enthusiastic employee that is a great fit for your company.