Investing in a strong recruiting strategy is important, especially during times of job market instability.
With so many companies reducing their headcounts lately, it’s easy to shift hiring to the back of your priority queue. However, as a senior engineering leader at CodeSignal, I’ve learned that healthy companies are always hiring. Attrition is a reality at any company – so if you’re not making an active effort to hire, your team will struggle.
That’s not to say that your technical recruiting strategy should stay stagnant. As leaders, we need to do more with less. And, despite the current hiring landscape, there are some advantages to be found by pivoting your tech hiring plan to succeed in 2023.
There’s an abundance of talent for employers to capitalize on
After years of self-reported overhiring, large tech companies are correcting course. During the hiring boom, startups and mid-sized companies had to compete against big tech’s insatiable appetite for talent. Now that big tech is downsizing, smaller companies stand to gain.
Smaller and mid-sized companies that are able to hire in 2023 will face less competition from big tech for top talent. Not only that, but there is also a larger supply of qualified candidates in search of new jobs. It’s rare to have access to a vetted talent pool of this size, so companies should make the most of the opportunity. Businesses are in a great position to find amazing team members who might have been off the market a year ago.
Don’t neglect active sourcing and outbound recruiting, which remains one of the most effective recruiting strategies, even in this environment. The opportunity for talent goes beyond active job seekers. With business uncertainty or low morale affecting even those who are not directly impacted by a layoff, you should expect to see more success in engaging with passive job seekers who might be open to new opportunities they wouldn’t have considered in sunnier times.
Retention should be your top priority
If you’re not focused on retention, my point about actively sourcing unhappy employees from other companies could just as easily work against you. Now more than ever, it’s important to reassure your employees and give them confidence in your overall mission and business health. Of course, don’t sacrifice honesty or transparency. Your team members will appreciate transparency around business decisions, especially difficult ones. You’re on the same team, and they want to know the plan.
Attrition is inevitable; you can’t retain everyone. But you can minimize fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Build trust with your team and make sure they understand how the business is doing. Review compensation and benefits and make sure they’re keeping up with the market. Help your team members set and track personal growth goals. Don’t give external recruiters an opening by neglecting your team’s morale.
Use your resources efficiently
Sooner or later, every company will feel the pressures that have been rippling through the economy. There may come a time when you don’t have new headcount and can only backfill. When that happens, treat every position as the precious resource it is. Don’t backfill on autopilot. For example, maybe a frontend engineer left the team. Is that still the position of greatest need? Perhaps you have a more pressing requirement on the data science team, and the company would be better served by a reassigning of headcount.
Be careful not to make the mistake of shutting down your technical hiring pipeline without a very good reason. You will have to hire again in the future. Hopefully, your company will kick-start its growth again soon, but even if it doesn’t, you’ll need to backfill due to inevitable attrition. By halting recruiting, you put yourself at a disadvantage when this time comes. Setting up a healthy recruiting funnel takes effort, and you’ll be starting from scratch if you halt hiring for too long.
Let’s say it takes around 60 days to fill a role – which is probably a conservative number for highly specialized or senior positions. Companies that fully stop hiring will take at least this long to hire a new employee as they have to restart the rusty pipeline from scratch. Efficiently using resources doesn’t mean going on indefinite hiring freeze. If you continue to nurture your funnel, you’ll have a head start when conditions improve.
Technical recruiting depends on steady sourcing, strong relationships, and a fleet of engineers trained to conduct interviews consistently. So long as your business keeps its recruiting pipeline going, even in a limited capacity, interviewers can stay sharp and recruiters can scale up their efforts at a moment’s notice.
Compared to previous years, every technical hire you make in 2023 will likely carry even more weight. That’s why it’s critical to identify top candidates who will make an outsized impact on your business.
The good news is that there are now more talented candidates than ever open to new opportunities. Whether you’re periodically looking for backfills or actively expanding your team, configure your hiring pipeline to tap into this rich talent pool.
Recruiting is very much a long-term play; investing now will pay dividends well into the future.