Labor Shortage Solutions: How to Find and Hire Non-Traditional Tech Talent

Labor Shortage Solutions: How to Find and Hire Non-Traditional Tech Talent

By John Bemis On September 17, 2019 · In

Updated: October 6, 2022

Imagine that you have an open IT position within your organization. The job offer includes a good salary, great benefits, company perks, and growth opportunities. The candidate will play a crucial role on the tech team, but there is one problem – an IT labor shortage. As a result, you can’t find tech talent who has the skills and experience required for the job.

Sound familiar? There is a high demand for skilled tech professionals in today’s job market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports that computer and information technology occupations is expected to grow 12% by 2028. This is a faster growth rate than the average for all other occupations.

However, there are not enough students graduating with degrees in computer science and information technology to keep up with the demand. As businesses focus more on cloud computing, big data, and information security, the demand for IT professionals to fill these specialized roles will also increase. These are just a few of the reasons why demand for IT professionals will continue to outpace supply and contribute to the tech talent shortage.

It’s time to look beyond traditional tech candidates and consider non-traditional talent to fill these empty roles. Expand your search and look outside your traditional IT talent pipeline to find qualified professionals you wouldn’t have otherwise encountered overlooked.

Your ideal candidate is out there. They just might not be what you expect. Let’s look at three ways to expand your talent search to find and hire great non-traditional tech talent.

1. Revamp Existing IT Hiring Practices

To recruit and hire more non-traditional candidates, consider overhauling your organization’s existing hiring strategies. This includes rewriting your current job descriptions. Instead of a list of skills an applicant needs to have for the position, consider the outcomes an employee in the job will be expected to achieve.

Additionally, companies can consider what abilities applicants need to be successful. Focus on aptitude over credentials to help find candidates who can really do the job. This is often a better indicator than specific IT skills on their resume.

Similarly, you can broaden candidate recruitment by implementing skills testing earlier in the application process. Instead of requiring your human resources team to conduct initial phone screens, applicants can complete an online test that qualifies their technical abilities. This will save time and resources by considering a broader range of candidates based on actual technical aptitude.

Finally, consider adopting inclusivity measures to attract more diverse candidates to your company. For example, Microsoft trained managers to interview non-traditional candidates to help break down unconscious biases and stereotypes. This process allowed IT management to understand diverse candidates better and offer them options like interview accommodations.

These changes made interviews with non-traditional candidates more successful. In fact, they led Microsoft to focus on inclusive hiring practices to develop programs to recruit and onboard individuals on the Autism spectrum.

Update existing hiring practices through revamped job descriptions, technical recruitment tests, and inclusive hiring measures. Doing so will broaden your current candidate pool and help find qualified talent for your organization.

2. Expand Your Tech Search

Traditional IT recruitment practices focus heavily on candidates with degrees from elite universities and experience working at big tech companies. But This focus overlooks candidates from non-elite schools and those who learned technical skills through non-degree other programs such as coding boot camps. To find more quality candidates, consider refocusing your talent acquisition resources. Expand your search to a broader list of schools and non-degree programs with a tech focus.

You can also grow your candidate pool by reconsidering minimum degree requirements. While a four-year degree used to be standard for a job in tech, many companies are rethinking the importance of a university degree.

There are a wide variety of educational options available today. These include certificate programs, online courses, online badges, and degree programs that offer an alternative to a traditional university education. Similarly, veterans and retirees might come from different educational environments, but they bring many practical skills and real-world experience. Opening your jobs to applicants from these backgrounds can quickly expand your talent pool.

Even big tech companies embrace these new forms of education. IBM, for example, started a program called New Collar Jobs, which focuses on skills over degrees. They partnered with community colleges across the U.S. to help better prepare students for the technology jobs of the future.

How can you overcome a tight labor market, low unemployment, and a growing tech skills shortage? Expand your search beyond traditional talent pipelines and lower minimum educational requirements will help you find and hire great non-traditional tech talent.

3. Go Beyond Hard Tech Skills

When recruiting for IT positions, it’s easy to compare entry-level and experienced candidates to a laundry list of technical qualifications. However, this approach can cause companies to miss candidates with soft skills but have great potential. Hard skills like learning a new coding language can always be taught. But qualities like a strong work ethic, emotional intelligence, and good communication can be much more difficult to develop.

When interviewing potential candidates, pose questions that allow them to speak to these soft skills. This will demonstrate how they responded to past work situations. Their responses can be far more telling than a list of tech skills and qualifications.

Candidates who show passion are willing to learn, are more hardworking, and are more likely to succeed. This type of dedication and determination could outweigh any technical skills they bring to the job.

Finally, consider expanding your search for non-traditional tech talent by looking internally. You might discover that you already have a great candidate for the job within your organization. All they require is a bit of training and development to learn the tech skills they’ll need to succeed.

About Benchmark IT –Technology Talent

Benchmark IT offers technology consulting, executive search, and direct hire recruitment and staffing services. We service a wide range of clients and industries throughout the metro New York area and beyond. Our proprietary recruitment process and dedication to precision, ethics, and personalized service set us apart from other recruiting firms.

As a result, Benchmark IT has become a trusted partner among Fortune-ranked companies, mid-market, start-up, and growth-phase firms since 2007. For additional information, visit: www.bmarkits.com.

Are you searching for top tech talent for your company? Benchmark IT can help! Contact us to learn more.

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