How to attract passive candidates amid a skills shortage

By Nicole Cooke

Published on 20-09-2021


With skilled tech workers in exceptionally high demand, it’s probably safe to assume that your dream candidate is already gainfully employed and happy with their current lot. 

At the beginning of 2021, for example, it was reported that the cost of hiring skilled software developers, security specialists, and data experts in Australia had risen by 30% - something which the AFR attributes to the country's COVID-19 response and closed border policy. In addition, research published in February by Deloitte Access Economics and RMIT Online found that Australia needs 156,000 new technology workers by 2025 to ensure economic growth is not stalled by skills shortages. 

If the government maintains its strict COVID-19 policies in the coming months and demand for tech workers continues to boom, competition to source the very best tech workers will only grow more fierce. To tempt high-performing professionals away from their current roles, you’ll need to bring your A-game. 

Here are seven ways for hiring organisations to attract and recruit passive tech candidates. 

1. Competitive compensation package

The inboxes of tech professionals will be bursting at the seams with job offers from recruiters and hiring managers. As such, you’ll struggle to turn a candidate’s head (or even receive a reply to your email) without the offer of an attractive compensation package that stands out from the crowd. 

Because tech professionals are well aware that they have the upper hand during salary negotiations, you’ll need to offer both a competitive salary and consider additional benefits, such as performance-based bonuses, employee benefits, and other perks such as health or life insurance. 

2. Career and learning opportunities

An ambitious tech professional who is happy in their current role will only consider a position with a new organisation if they can be reassured that there will be career growth and continuous learning opportunities. 

Will they be challenged with complex assignments? Does your organisation offer robust mentorship programmes with senior leaders, fund qualifications, or provide training and upskilling opportunities? Prospective candidates will also be interested to find out if you have a good track record for internal hiring. 

3. Workplace culture

Like talent across all industries, tech people want to love what they do and be proud of where they work. 

If, for example, there are rumours circulating of a toxic workplace culture, your prospective candidates will run a mile.

Similarly, employees want to work for organisations that support their local economies, are committed to operating sustainably, and champion diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. 

Passive candidates will be especially discerning when it comes to researching and assessing their potential employers. Fortunately, there are several ways to grow your online presence and build your brand’s reputation. Communicate the best aspects of your company’s culture through paid social media advertising, blog posts, in-person career fairs, or networking events. You could host webinars, invite prospective talent to Q and As, and leverage the stories of your existing employees to showcase how rewarding and enjoyable it will be to work for your company. 

4. Flexibility and work-life balance

As highlighted in our 2021 Tech Talent Trends report, one of the best ways to attract top tech talent in a competitive and candidate-driven market is to offer a range of flexible working options and encourage a healthy work-life balance. This could include remote working, flexible working hours, and initiatives to promote a positive workplace culture that prioritises employee wellbeing. 

Facilitating flexible working not only benefits your existing employees, increasing their motivation and productivity, but it also provides your organisation with access to a bigger talent pool. The option to recruit remote workers from across the country is a huge benefit given the current skills shortage.

5. Efficient recruitment process

A superstar passive tech candidate will regularly be contacted by recruiters and hiring managers regarding job opportunities. As such, they will become disenchanted with laborious and slow recruitment processes so it’s worth thinking about how you might fine-tune or shorten your recruitment cycle. 

Do you really need four separate interviews plus an assessment day spread across a three-week period? By condensing these elements into a one-day process, your candidates will be satisfied and you reduce the risk of other, more efficient, hiring organisations snapping them up. 

RELATED: Why you need hiring velocity in a tech talent shortage

6. Cutting-edge technology 

If you want to woo a tech enthusiast away from their current position, try appealing to their passions. Access to cutting-edge technology will be a huge drawcard for ambitious professionals who may seize an opportunity to work with the latest innovations. 

In addition, tech professionals want to work for organisations whose processes are streamlined and efficient. Can you demonstrate your use of modern frameworks and solutions? Are you working to eliminate slow and clunky processes? Do you have a clear vision for your company’s digitisation journey? Perhaps more so than other candidates, tech people will be eager to discuss these topics, and will judge your organisation based on your position. 

7. Leverage your existing workforce

Prospective candidates will trust the experiences of your existing employee base. A happy workforce (and one that is happy to shout about it) is indicative of an organisation that values and supports its talent. 

Always prioritise looking after your people, because you can be sure that they will organically spread the word about what it means to work for your organisation. 

You can also encourage employees to leave reviews about your company online, be more active on social media, refer candidates for open positions (with a monetary incentive), and attend networking or career events to talk about their experiences. 

Read the full Technology Talent Trends report here.
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