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The Key to Hiring Top Software Engineers Isn't More Money

With demand for technical workers soaring, and an expected job growth rate of 17% by 2024, hiring software engineers is no easy task. To attract top tech talent in a competitive marketplace, it’s important to understand what the best talent is looking for and how to architect a strategy tailored to win them over. To shed light on the topic, we tapped Megan Flanagan, Talent and Development Director at 4C Insights, whose insights glean from 10+ years in talent and recruiting.

megan flanagan
4C Insights’ Megan Flanagan

Over the course of her career, Megan has become passionate about one aspect of the recruiting process in particular. “The first thing you need to assume is that everyone is interviewing everywhere,” Megan explains. “Experience is what stands out.” For Megan, hiring success starts and ends with a best-in-class candidate experience. Her team has adopted an empathetic approach, understanding how crucial it is to partner with candidates throughout the interview process and establish a healthy line of communication.

Day One

From the day a resume is received, Megan says, “Communication is key. And the faster, the better.” Her team at 4C is serious about ensuring that candidates don’t receive radio silence; they take the extra mile to make sure they screen inbound applications in real time for immediate communication with the applicant. Megan strongly believes that providing “a quick ‘no’ is better than no response at all.” To exercise best practices, the idea that her team would not respond to an applicant who has taken the time to submit for a position is never an option. Providing an excellent experience means they should never be left hanging to wonder about next steps or whether the initial application was even received. With 45% of job seekers citing “lack of response” as their biggest frustration in the job search, tightening communication in your interview process is a must.

Scaling Compassion

It is no secret that scaling personalization and providing a high level of attention during each candidate’s experience is a challenge for every recruiter. To tackle the issue proactively, Megan says “start by creating a human process” that puts yourself in the candidate’s position. Take a step back to reflect on – what their schedule looks like, who they would like to hear from and what form of communication channel would be most suitable. Establishing a process that is constructed from a candidate’s perspective allows you to begin automating tasks that are able to be scaled. Megan’s team frequently leverages technology to help maintain a high level of personalization without sacrificing quality. Creating email templates that become automated, utilizing calendar reminders and partnering with an effective ATS can help shave off a few hours of manual work. Finally, implementing a digital signature provider creates a buttoned-up offer process all help streamline the team’s workflow.

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Beyond utilizing technology to your advantage, successful recruiting requires strong alignment between multiple teams in your organization. Building partnerships with the other stakeholders in your interview process is critical. Frequent touch-points and reminders for incoming interviews and new hires alike get the whole team aligned on process and objectives. Megan sends updates to all of her hiring managers twice each week – Monday and Friday – to keep them fully engaged and excited about the hiring process. She understands that scheduling conflicts happen, but believes it should never interrupt an interview process because it derails the candidate experience. If by any chance something does come up for an interviewer, there is always a backup scheduled in case.

While frequent communication, process efficiency, and strong internal partnerships all contribute to candidate experience, at the end of the day, “trust is built by being honest with candidates.” The recruiter’s job is to help them find an opportunity that is going to be the right fit. Playing the role of a career coach and steering the conversation towards the work that the candidate will do each day and how that aligns with their goals (or not) will build trust and integrity for the brand.

New Hires

For the candidates that succeed in your process, trust extends beyond the day an offer letter is signed and into a retention strategy. “Companies win awards for ‘Best Place to Work’, not because of free lunch. They win when employees are engaged, love their work and find meaning in each day.” If finding happy, productive, engaged employees is the end goal, start with a foundation of honesty between you and the candidate. “Don’t oversell. Find what’s going to make both you, and the candidate happy.”

The increasing demand for tech workers means competition to find the right candidates is fierce.This year, differentiate yourself by focusing on bringing a human touch back into the recruiting process.