Hiring staff has never been easy, but if you’re scratching your head and wondering why recruitment is such a struggle right now – don’t worry, you’re in good company. As the world unlocks from a once-in-a-century pandemic, there are skills shortages in everything from coding to car repairs. Just like every other industry, recruitment has been dragged kicking and screaming into systemic changes accelerated by COVID-19 – from the ubiquity of video calls to the remote working revolution. But amid the upheaval, many firms are struggling to find those good eggs to make the dream workplace omelette. So how did we get here, and what can we do to make sure our hiring strategies are optimised for the road that lies ahead?
How Covid changed everything
When COVID-19 first reared its head, we could all be forgiven for thinking that the tech industry as we knew it would soon collapse like a Jenga tower. In early March 2020, Sequoia Capital were quick to warn that coronavirus was “the black swan of 2020”; in other words, an unforeseen outlier – like the appearance of a black swan – that could severely disrupt business activity unless we took decisive action to adapt. Fast-forward to March 2021, and Sequoia instead highlighted some of the opportunities presented by the pandemic, from the early adoption of new technologies to expanded geographic hiring. The verdict? “Now is the time to start carefully stepping on the gas”.
And it would appear that many investors took heed of Sequoia’s advice. In the first half of 2021, more than $288 billion was invested in global venture capital funding, shattering previous half-year records, according to Crunchbase figures. Far from being a time to batten down the hatches, the tech industry has been preparing for the ‘roaring twenties’. With banks pondering negative interest rates, another era of investor splurging could be upon us.
The demand for talent keeps rising
But even if there’s a consensus that opportunity knocks for those ambitious businesses that have adapted and endured through COVID, how exactly do we ‘step on the gas’? In Marc Andreessen’s prophetic and insightful piece, ‘Why Software Is Eating The World’, he observed that while software has transformed industries left, right and centre – from booksellers to film production – there is simply not enough talent to meet growing demand.
“Many people in the U.S. and around the world lack the education and skills required to participate in the great new companies coming out of the software revolution,” Andreessen wrote. “This is a tragedy since every company I work with is absolutely starved for talent.”
With such an imbalance between demand for tech and the talent pipeline, is it any wonder why recruitment has become such a wild goose chase? There are only 26.9 million software developers in the world, according to Evans Data Corporation. While this might sound like a fair amount, given how embedded software is in our lives – from microchips in cars to WiFi-enabled fridges – the finite talent supply is continually playing catchup with global demand.
How recruitment must change, and what you can do about it
The old way of doing recruitment was a numbers game, where simply chasing a high volume of leads in order to get that one prized candidate was the way of the world. This was never the smartest idea, but at a time where demand outstrips talent supply, it’s quite simply a non-runner. The most talented candidates are like those rare Pokémon cards that kids scramble over in the playground. Attracting these folks requires a lot more than a briefcase stuffed with banknotes. Working culture has changed, so a human-first environment that understands the value of remote and flexible working is attractive to candidates. The average tenure length is down, so a healthy and happy working environment can help you retain the good eggs for longer, and reduce your cost of continually rehiring. And a company’s mission and values increasingly matter to candidates. If you have the talent to work anywhere and can command a good salary, why wouldn’t you work for the firm whose values align with your own?
Are referrals the solution?
By pooling your employees’ collective wisdom, you can develop a selective hiring strategy to help you find and retain the candidates whose skills, experiences and values match your mission.
Recruiters are fishing for talent in an ever shallower river, so having the best boat is simply a no-brainer. Intrro gives hiring managers the tools to automate the hiring process and make sure the most promising candidates never slip through your fingers.