When it comes to sourcing emerging tech candidates (data science, machine learning (ML) engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) professionals, etc.), traditional mediums like job boards aren’t as effective as they are for, let’s say—a java developer or a quality assurance (QA) engineer. Since the demand far exceeds the supply, most of these professionals have multiple offers in hand and they can pretty much choose to work with anyone they like. In a market that’s so candidate oriented, finding the best emerging tech talent is not just about job broadcasts or mass mailers, it’s about strategic sourcing initiatives that involve reaching candidates on the right channels at the right time.
What Is Strategic Sourcing?
Strategic sourcing is the use of proactive searching skills to find the best talent for your company instead of waiting for them to come to you. With good strategic sourcing operations, you can get the chance to meet both active and passive candidates who might not have applied to your company because they didn’t know you were hiring or had enough knowledge about your company in the first place.
So if you are into tech staffing, these are some of the sourcing channels that work well when recruiting emerging technology candidates:
- Technology Forums & Platforms: Forums are a great way to get in touch with these candidates and also judge their potential. While Stack Overflow and Techspot are great forums to assess a candidate’s problem-solving ability, platforms like GitHub give you the right idea about the candidate’s coding skills. You can also use start-up networks like AngelList to find the best technology talent.
- Collaboration with Local Universities and Meet-up Groups: Collaborating with top universities and meet-up groups (Google Developer Group NYC, UX Meet-up Albany, etc.) is one of the best ways to come across talented tech candidates. Make sure you also register for top universities’ placement sessions to pitch your brand among these candidates. You can also sponsor community development initiatives like Women in Tech to establish a partnership with these universities.
- Automated Referral Platforms: Referrals are and will be one of the best ways to hire tech candidates. Referral platforms use AI to drive referrals from not just a user’s immediate network but also his/her social graph and email lists. Some of the best referral platforms like TalentDome and Aevy also let you see the conversion metrics as well as the ROI quotient of your campaigns.
- Attend Top Technology Conferences: Technology conferences bring the best talent together on one platform. What better place can there be to spot bright talent? They not only offer a great platform to see new innovations but can also get you in touch with candidates who may be looking for a switch or who may be open for a change in the coming 6-12 months. So use these conferences as a tool to build your candidate network and keep targeting these candidates on social and email. That’s how you build an awesome tech talent pipeline.
- Tie-up with Coding Schools: If your company hires newbies then collaborating with coding schools is a win-win for you. Since these coding schools have access to every candidate’s assessment scores as well as live coding projects, the system is pretty transparent. You can also check the student’s online footprint on tech forums to be double sure. Some of the best coding schools that you can tie-up with are Lambda School, Holberton School, CodeCademy, The Coder School, and more. These schools are also a great source of qualified referrals even for niche roles like data science and artificial intelligence.
- Promote Your Employer Brand on Social Media: You might implement all of the above points perfectly but if your brand doesn’t give the right vibe on social media than all this effort can go for a toss. So make sure you promote your brand values (diversity, integrity, innovation etc.) regularly through employee testimonials, success stories, in-house events etc. Tell your audience about the career progression plans and trainings that you have in place for your employees. Before joining, every candidate goes through the employer’s social profile and this is the moment that can really make or break your efforts.
Tech talent is in great demand but with the right strategy, you can build a robust pipeline in a period of 6-12 months. Remember, your employer brand will play a big role in tech staffing so make sure you spend a considerable amount of time in improving your brand image.
This article was written by Tyler Kempson, VP Sales at Infojini Inc., for SWE’s AllTogether blog. Tyler is an experienced business development manager with interest in HR tech, talent analytics, and diversity hiring initiatives.