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Hiring for tech roles has evolved for the better following the COVID-19 pandemic, with “remote” creating a new paradigm and recruiters going across time zones to get top tech talents. Nick Bieler, VP - Flawless Recruit is in candid conversation with Aditya Sharma, Co-Founder - HiCounselor, sharing some of his favorite tips when it comes to hiring top tech talents.
Nick Bieler, Vice President - Flawless Recruit
Tell us how hiring for tech roles has evolved during the pandemic?
That’s a great question to start off with, Aditya. I mean, after being into recruiting for almost twenty years, I would say the pandemic has brought in a new and unique perspective to the hiring scenario. A great advantage is that we can now go into video calls. Earlier, we would be trying to set up coffee dates, phone calls and onsite meetings with potential hires. But now, it’s easier to meet people since a good percentage would be working from home and would not really have to move away from their desks to meet virtually. No more night or early morning calls either. That’s a huge plus point, I would say.
But the other side of the coin is this: job seekers are talking to more recruiters.
As a result, staffing companies and recruiters now have to connect with three to five times more candidates than they normally do and stay constantly in touch with them to literally sell candidates their dream job and onboard them before someone else does. The market may be more robust making it easier to get hold of candidates, but there is also an influx of recruiters. Constant communication with a candidate is key. You need to talk to more candidates, maybe several times to finally zero in on a good hire.
Let’s also add to that thought the concept of “Remote” which has created a new paradigm for candidates. As recruiters, we need to be very clear in our understanding of whether candidates would like to go fully remote or are open to a more hybrid model or if they wouldn’t mind going back onsite. Looking at the bright side, going remote allows us to expand our pool of candidates. I have been recruiting in Seattle and the Northwest for twenty years up and down the coast but now I am recruiting across the country since we now have more remote job roles as well. So, the great news is we have a bigger pool of candidates. But here is the downside: we have longer days to work.
Why I say this is because, post-pandemic, I am recruiting on the east coast in the morning and the west coast at another time zone. My days are no longer 8 to 5 and overflow into different geographical time zones.
That’s an interesting thought. In that case, would you say that hiring has become more expensive for companies?
Not really! I don’t think hiring has become more expensive. I would say it has become more quality-driven. Hiring is not seen as a commodity anymore. The pandemic has helped sharpen the profession. Before it was more of a quantity-driven hiring process with agencies aiming for at least sixty phone calls, interviews and submittals a week. Well, not anymore.
Hiring is still hiring. Post-pandemic, it has become quality-driven.
What you just said makes a lot of sense. It also inspires me to ask about any hiring tips you may have for recruiters who find it extremely challenging to attract talent. I have seen a lot of recruiters and hiring managers struggle to find the right tech talent especially in Software Engineering, Data Science or Data Analyst job roles. Any tips you could share would be a great help.
Of course, it is hard to attract great talent. But then, you have to change the way you are going after that talent.
Earlier, agencies and staffing companies would talk to more candidates, hoping that if they talk to enough people they might get to the right talent. That hiring situation has changed now. Over the past twelve months, I would say the demand for recruiting services has changed. Agencies are accepting too many job orders, preferring quantity over quality and hence not delivering results. At the other extreme, hiring managers are looking at a hundred resumes when they should ideally be looking at six or eight qualified ones. This slows down the hiring process and also affects the ROI on the business side as well as the agency’s side.
At Flawless Recruit, we believe in dedicated recruiting services. We pivot recruiters through talent advisory training and train them to become not just recruiters but Talent Advisor Consultant Solution Providers. We have moved over to having a dedicated recruiter who will take on three or more key roles. Or it could also be Recruitment as a Service model for us where we have our recruiters working only with one client to deeply understand the latter’s processes, what they are looking for, what their show stoppers are and devising a seamless path to help them get to the right candidates.
As you are aware, Aditya, consultive approach is a lot different from just entrusting a staffing contractor to fill in the need. Flawless Recruit perfectly understands that recruiting is a profession and we try to add more value to it.
During our last conversation, I remember that you mentioned having helped innumerable renowned companies across the US to hire the finest tech talents. And you will agree with me that there would be an influx of applicants whenever these renowned companies post an opening for a Software Engineer or Data Scientist. So, from the recruiter’s point of view, the biggest challenge lies in shortlisting 5 good candidates out of the 1000 or more applicants they receive. How does Flawless Recruit deal with this situation?
Oh, we get to deal with that a lot. What we try to infuse into the company culture or recruiting process is the Positive Candidate Experience. That’s the key foundation needed to improve the quality of the hire whenever there is a deluge of applicants.
Undoubtedly, you are going to receive applications from candidates who obviously did not read the job description or may not have the right level of qualification for the position we are trying to fill. The Positive Candidate Experience trains recruiters to ignore such type of candidates but also keep an eye on those who may be a possible hire later on. Our recruiters have been out there for years so it doesn’t take them a long time to figure out if a candidate is totally off the mark or worth a 10 to 15 minutes phone call. That’s why it’s important to have senior recruiters in your team.
You mentioned that there could be candidates with whom you may not prefer to go forward at that moment but who could be a possible hire in the future. How do you stay in touch with such candidates for your future hiring needs?
Well, this is what I tell my candidates: “Even though I don’t have an opportunity for you at this time, use me as a resource.”
I tell my candidates to keep in touch with Flawless Recruit. I also remind them that applying online for a position is like buying a Lotto ticket. There will be thousands of applications and the system is designed to look for a reason to let you out. But, at Flawless Recruit, we are looking for a reason to let you in. We are looking for that conversation where we could see you as a great fit for another client.
I encourage my candidates to stay in touch with me. Instead of reaching out cold through a website it is far beneficial for them to make a warm connect through a reliable network. Similarly, we send out monthly feeds within our team, announcing new hires as well as new companies we are working with. It’s a two-way partnership, the way I see it. I don’t look at it as a transaction.
Wow, Nick! It is really awesome that you willingly refer candidates to other opportunities when you don’t find any available openings within your radar. I am really happy to recommend every job seeker I know to get in touch with you. Coming over to challenges in identifying tech talent, incorporating diversity is even more challenging. What is your take on this?
(Nick is full of smiles) Diversity is the big buzzword these days. Every company is being coerced to bring about diversity at least at the interview level.
The way I see it, diversity should not be something that is driven down by a board member who read the morning news clip and announced, “hey we need to make a diversity hire”. Diversity in the workplace is challenging because we do not have the right information, awareness and understanding of the market situation at the ground level.
At Flawless Recruit, we have the right tools that help us look for diversity in our talent pool. We also have a Data Scientist as one of our partners who can take our database and do a talent mapping to identify, for instance, how many women in Seattle are software engineers with 5 to 7 years of experience in the field. With this kind of exclusive information, we are able to equate these candidates to a specific job description at a particular company.
At the end of the day, we are also able to better educate our clients on how they can bring about the desired level of diversity for a job position.
Click here to enjoy the full conversation with Nick Bieler
Flawless Recruit connects startups, small business, and enterprise companies with elite talent through a passive and active multi-channel approach. Our Talent Mapping Solution, Automation and AI tools, IP/Database with most Diversity and Technical Talent, and curated screening process scales to fit all recruiting needs.