A small business looking to hire a tech candidate has a lot of competition for talent. The digital technology sector in the UK is growing 2.5 times faster than the economy as a whole which puts pressure in the system.
Finding the right person to hire isn’t an easy process. There are two issues: firstly, the nature of the candidates themselves, and secondly, a recruitment process that isn’t fit for purpose.
Technology people tend to be either extroverts who can talk a good game, but often don’t have the skills to back up their claims; or introverts with great skills, but a lack of salesmanship that will get them through the interview process successfully. CVs and interviews rarely tell the whole story.
In practice the recruitment process is led by gut feel and intuition rather than facts and hard data – twice. First, the recruitment agency will intuitively pick the candidates they feel best suit the role you’re trying to fill, followed by the business owner doing the same.
This is why you should always include testing tech candidates as part of your hiring process. You’ll identify the true level of their skills and avoid a variety of pitfalls…
When a small business needs to fill a vacancy because it is holding up growth, there is a tendency to recruit someone from the candidates presented, even if there is nobody that properly matches their needs. If they have to pick from a pool of intuition-based candidates, there is a real risk of putting the wrong person into their team. A recruitment decision on hard data will not only put more of the right candidates into that pool but ensure the chosen one really does fit the needs of the business.
Saving valuable time
Recruiting anyone takes time. Writing a job description (if one doesn’t already exist), choosing and briefing the agency, sifting through CVs and then interviewing. They all use up a lot of expensive time, often from more than one person. Managers are often in place because they are great at managing projects and people, but they may lack the specific knowledge to assess a candidate’s skills. Pulling a developer off their project to do this uses up time and slows down the delivery of that project.
If this process has to be repeated more than once because of a poor hire, the costs multiply. Up to three times that person’s salary can be wasted if they are the wrong person.
Finding the missing piece
Adding tech staff into a team, particularly in a high-growth technology business, often means that new hire needs a blend of skills, across a range of technologies. Full stack developers, for example, will be expected to have a wide range of skills across the front and back-ends, as well as UX and customer-facing skills. Recruiters will assume that Cloud Systems Engineers know Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure and other platforms so they can contribute across the needs of their client base.
Balancing the skills pool across multiple staff may mean that you are looking for skills across multiple technologies, but with an emphasis, or depth of knowledge, in one or two; skills that maintain equilibrium within the business and allow the business to meet expected future demand.
Hiring mistakes can affect morale and retention
Bringing the wrong person into a business can negatively impact the business, particularly the morale in the office. Someone with the wrong skills means others have to take up the slack, or projects are delivered later than expected. Staff not used to this happening may start to believe that standards are being allowed to slip within the business, leading to a decline in their productivity or the quality of their output.
The widespread benefits of getting it right
So far, we’ve considered the negatives; the consequences of a poor hiring decision brought about by a process that is no longer fit for purpose. Making the right hire delivers in a range of ways…
- Productivity improvements: the closer the overall skills mix is to what is needed, the better a business will run. Smooth-running businesses are always more productive and more profitable.
- Growth enabler: adding capacity to a team, with the right skills, allows a company to grow as they simply have more of what their target audience needs and wants.
- Reputation Enhancer: the right skillset means projects are delivered on time, on budget and to, at least, the standards expected by the client. Happy clients talk and reputations are enhanced.
- Staff retention improvement: companies that recruit the right people (and look after them) often only need to recruit for growth, not to replace leavers. Happy staff stay where they are respected, supported and fit well into the community.
For small businesses every hiring decision is crucial. With limited time and resources you need all the help you can get. Build testing tech candidates into your hiring process so that you can make the decision with the hard data in front of you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gurvinder Singh is the co-founder of TechRank. TechRank sources, expertly tests and objectively ranks tech talent helping companies hire the best, and most capable person for the job. By testing candidates for the level of skill the position requires, businesses can make an objective decision about the person they hire to fill a vacant tech role.
Gurvinder’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gurvinder-singh/