10 things you need to know as an IT recruiter
March 1, 2024
min read

10 things you need to know as an IT recruiter

Eli McGarvie
Eli McGarvie

Did you know that the tech sector experiences one of the highest industry turnover rates? According to LinkedIn research in 2022, turnover rates in tech is at 13.2%. This figure not only highlights the dynamic nature of tech but also underscores a significant challenge for those involved in recruiting in IT. The fast-paced evolution of technology coupled with a highly competitive job market demands that IT recruiters stay ahead of the curve.

It's crucial for anyone recruiting IT professionals to arm themselves with a deep understanding of the sector's unique demands and trends. With that in mind, we aim to equip you with ten pivotal insights that will both enhance your recruiting strategies and ensure that you're well-prepared to meet tech's high expectations. So, if you're looking to successfully recruit IT talent, here's what you need to know.

1. Market your brand to attract IT talent

The significance of employer branding in tech cannot be overstated. Your company shouldn't just be a workplace but a space for innovation, creativity and opportunity. Top IT talent are on the lookout for roles that can challenge them and align with their values and aspirations. With 75% of job seekers considering an employer's brand before even applying for a job, it's clear that they want environments where they can thrive, innovate and contribute to projects that ignite their passion.

This is where the art of marketing your brand comes into play, transforming the traditional recruitment approach into a dynamic engagement with potential talent. Showcasing the company culture, projects, and technologies is crucial if you want to appeal to any software engineer worth their salt. They want to be a part of something bigger, and this is your opportunity to show that your company can offer just that. Paint a picture of a genuine look into the day-to-day life of someone working within the organisation, highlighting the real collaborative, creative and forward-thinking workplace that awaits keen talent.

Hot tip: Leverage social media platforms like LinkedIn and X, and engage in tech forums like GitHub, Stack Overflow and Reddit. These platforms can help you tap into the pulse of the tech community, understand what matters to them and position your company as an active participant.

Discover more tips for hiring software developers here →

2. Build a network of IT professionals

In the grand scheme of things, a well-nurtured network of IT professionals attract talent through genuine relationships and mutual respect. So, it goes without saying that the strength of your professional network can be the difference between simply filling a role and securing a game-changer for your team. But it's not a one-and-done job—cultivating a robust network requires regular care and engagement.

Attend industry meetups, conferences and seminars, not just as a bystander but as an active participant. These events are goldmines for meeting passionate IT professionals. Make a point to introduce yourself, exchange contacts and follow up. A simple "It was great discussing the latest in cloud computing with you at the WAD Conference" can go a long way. Don't forget that maintaining these relationships is as crucial as establishing them, so make it a point to have regular check-ins and share relevant articles or opportunities with them.

3. Tap (and expand) your network

Networking in any sector thrives on active engagement and strategic expansion. The key to unlocking its full potential lies in how well you engage with it. Expanding your network also means stepping outside your comfort zone and exploring different tech communities and platforms. With creativity, persistence and a bit of networking savvy, you can transform your network into an expansive resource for discovering and recruiting IT talent.

One of the best recruiting practices for hiring software engineers is participating in online forums and discussion groups related to your niche. Start with social media, since recruiters report a 50% in the quality of candidates through social media. You could also consider attending workshops or organising hackathons, coding challenges or webinars with industry leaders. By hosting or participating in these events and spaces, you not only provide value to your network but also create an avenue for discovering passive candidates who you might tap into in the future.

4. Create attractive referral programs to get quality talent

Referral programs are the secret sauce to recruiting top-notch IT talent. And with 46% of referred hires staying longer than those sourced from other methods, it's a trick to add to your repertoire. The beauty of referral programs lies in their ability to tap into the vast yet often underutilised networks of your very own employees, reaching potential candidates who are already pre-qualified through the endorsement of someone you trust. Utilising this not only accelerates the hiring process (by removing the need to seek out applicants) but also often leads to hires who can seamlessly integrate into your company culture, thanks to that pre-existing connection.

To craft an attractive referral program, start by ensuring the rewards are genuinely enticing. Monetary bonuses are the standard, sure, but don't stop there. Consider offering experiences or products that align with your team's interests, such as gadgets, software subscriptions, extra days off or vouchers for professional development courses. Then, ensure that you clearly communicate the process, from how referrals are tracked and evaluated to when and how rewards are distributed. It's all about creating a program that feels more like a community effort than a company mandate.

5. Understand the exact job requirements

Grasping the full spectrum of job requirements is crucial when hunting for the perfect candidate in IT. While it might be common practice to make it all about the keywords, recruiting IT professionals goes a step beyond. You need to understand the combination of technical prowess and soft skills that make a candidate truly stand out—and oftentimes, these things aren't clear on a single sheet of paper. Be sure to engage in detailed discussions with the right people to break down the role beyond its basic responsibilities.

It's a common stereotype that the common tech worker is introverted, but that's far from the reality of the modern tech team. Collaboration and innovation are paramount in tech, so soft-skills like problem-solving, adaptability and communication can make or break a project's success. Gather your tech team and get them to paint a picture of their ideal candidate's personality and work style. How do they approach challenges? How do they interact with colleagues and stakeholders? Again, things that are hard to discern from a resume alone.

6. Ask yourself: is that degree really necessary?

It's 2024, and it's time to question the long-held assumption that a formal degree is the key to talent. The tech industry is constantly evolving, rendering some traditional educational pathways less relevant than real-world experience and self-taught skills that passionate professionals bring to the table. Don't get us wrong, this isn't about lowering standards; it's about recognising the diverse routes through which expertise can be acquired and valued. Even big tech companies like Apple, Google and IBM have recognised that degrees aren't as important as they used to be.

The narrative of the self-taught programmer or the certified cloud expert is becoming increasingly common, especially considering that 32% of developers at small companies don't hold a degree. These individuals often exhibit a level of dedication, problem-solving prowess and innovative thinking that can outshine their conventionally educated counterparts. Acknowledging the merit of hands-on experience and specialised certifications that focus intensely on specific technologies or methodologies is the key here. So, when considering candidates without traditional degrees, look at their project portfolio, GitHub repositories or contributions to open-source projects.

7. Use unique sourcing platforms used by IT talents

Seeking high-quality IT talent requires thinking outside the conventional recruitment box and venturing into the spaces where professionals live and breathe code, innovation and collaboration. Sometimes, the best candidates might not actively be job searching on the more common job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed but are instead showcasing their expertise on platforms like GitHub and Stack Overflow. Engaging with these communities requires a bit of homework to understand their culture and norms, but the effort pays off by connecting you with highly skilled talent who might be the perfect fit for your open roles.

Exploring these tech-focused platforms offers a dual advantage to those recruiting in IT: you get to identify outstanding candidates who may not be visible on traditional recruiters' radars, and you get to demonstrate to these talents that your company is truly tech-savvy and proactive about engaging with the community. Going back to employer branding, it sends a powerful message that you value their skills and are willing to meet them where they are. This, in turn, could create a positive first impression that can set the stage for a fruitful conversation.

8. Create interview questions to dig deeper into candidates’ experience

When interviewing tech talent, it's important to move beyond the surface-level "What projects have you done?" to the more insightful "How did you do it, and what did you learn?" This approach can help you uncover the depth of their technical skills and shines a light on their soft skills. Consider adding questions that require candidates to describe specific projects or challenges they've faced in their careers to your repertoire. Ask them to detail the thought process behind their decisions and the outcomes, encouraging candidates to share their problem-solving skills while potentially highlighting their analytical thinking and creativity.

Remember, the goal is to test not just the technical prowess but also to understand how candidates approach problems, learn from their experiences and adapt to new information—all incredibly crucial, especially when it comes to software developer or engineering roles. You need to recruit IT talent who are both technically competent and capable of driving innovation and adapting to changes typical of the tech industry.

9. Evaluate IT skills before you invite candidates for the next round

Ensuring a candidate's technical abilities align with your tech team's needs is vital to making the right hire. It's basically checking the foundations before building a house; you need to know that it's solid. Technical assessments in the early stages of recruitment offer a reliable snapshot of a candidate's abilities, ensuring they have the necessary skills to thrive in the role. It's exactly why the big tech companies are famous for their tests.

When choosing the tools and methods for evaluating IT skills, consider the specifics of the role and what assessment will best showcase the candidate's abilities. For example, if the position requires expertise in a specific programming language, ensure the assessment focuses on tasks that demonstrate proficiency in that language. If you're not sure which assessment to deploy, consult with the tech team that the candidate might be joining. 

Hot Tip: Don't make the assessment too hard unless you're planning to compensate them for their time.

10. Track and measure IT recruitment efforts

By tracking the right metrics and leveraging powerful recruiting tools, you can transform your recruitment efforts from guesswork into a data-driven strategy that attracts, hires and retains top IT talent. The power of data cannot be overstated; it should be informing your decisions while helping you uncover trends and optimising processes to ensure that your recruitment efforts are strategically powered.

Consider key metrics that shed light on the effectiveness and efficiency of your recruitment process. Time-to-hire is crucial—reflecting the speed of your recruitment cycle, helping you identify bottlenecks and any areas for improvement. Quality of hire, although trickier to measure, is also pivotal. Look at new hires' performance metrics, retention rates and their impact to gauge this. Cost-per-hire is another vital metric, offering insight into the financial efficiency of your recruitment strategies. Each of these metrics can provide you with a comprehensive view of your recruitment efforts.

Key takeaways

Wrapping up, we've gone through ten essential things any IT talent recruiter should know. From crafting attractive employer branding to leveraging analytics, each step plays a pivotal role in sculpting an innovative and effective recruitment process. Remember, the goal isn't just to fill vacancies but to enrich your team with talents that drive technological advancements while cultivating and maintaining a positive team culture.

At WeAreDevelopers, we connect you directly with our exclusive network of software engineers, particularly in Europe. Why scatter your role on generic job boards when you can:

  • Reach a targeted audience: Over 1.2M unique visits annually, centred on development and IT.
  • Engage with an active community: A yearly social media reach of almost 22 million and 120k+ members.

We have fostered a developer community that trusts us — and we can help you. We're the platform you need if you aim to make a real impact with your job listing. Ready to get started? Check out our IT recruiting services.


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