9 Tips on how to hire Tech Talent when you are not a Techie

how to hire tech talent

While answering questions on Quora I found too many questions by entrepreneurs and recruiters on how to hire tech talent being non-technical themselves. Those particular questions provoked me to write this blog.

Looking for the tech talent, without being a tech expert yourself can be difficult, but there are a few ways which can help you find the best person for the job without learning how to code yourself.

So how should non-tech people go about hiring tech talent?

Tip 1 – Identify Tech Business Objectives

how to hire tech talent

As a recruiter or an HR or an entrepreneur, first of all, understand the job and business requirements well. Consult a knowledgeable and experienced tech expert who can listen to your goals and recommend the right technical language, platform, etc for your business.

Once you have decided the technology and platform now learn and understand the job role you are hiring for. For example, Saying that you need IT Specialist isn’t really meaningful because it doesn’t represent what you really need. What you might need instead is a backend software developer or an expert in building product software.

Tip 2 – Ask for help

Once you have established the tech business objectives, now it’s the time to clearly list the skills required. Consult techies here. It is important to be extremely clear about the skills you seek and the responsibilities the new hires will have.

how to hire tech talent

What should Entrepreneurs do?

If you are an entrepreneur hiring techies for your startup

  • Consult with a trusted friend in the industry.
  • If your business heavily depends on technology consider having a technical co-founder or hire a CTO(Chief Technology Officer)
  • Consider working with collaborators by joining a local co-working space or business incubator, where you can network and leverage tech resources to help you get a better understanding of the industry.

What should HRs and Recruiters do?

If you are a recruiter or an HR, the best thing is to make sure that the people who are expert in that field are involved.

  • Bring more technical resources into recruiting. Put your developer team in a room together and talk about how to hire people like them.
  • Ask the team members if they are aware of any skilled expertise for a particular programming language. They can help you with the correct terminologies for the job descriptions and what skills to test.

Tip 3 – Attract Right Tech Talent

how to hire tech talent

Once you are clear with the right technical details such as Technology, Platform, Languages and other skills that are required for the job. Now, it’s time to take the word out.

While designing your Job Ads and Job Description to attract the techies, do remember that techies not only looking for a fat pay scale but also other effective attraction magnets like –

  • Opportunity to work on challenges
  • Work on latest technologies
  • Better Work life balance
  • Company Culture

Write good job description. A good job description not only attracts candidates but the right candidates. Be sure to include these in your job description.

1. Proper Job Title – Use the proper job title that will convey best what the employee will be doing. Having the incorrect job title will lead to a great deal of confusion for both the parties.

2. List only what is required and expected – Write what you are looking for? Avoid unimportant information such as detail about who reports to whom or unimportant administrative policies.

3. Talk about the particular position – Provide a link for the applicants to learn more about the job role. This gives the candidates insight into what they should expect if they were to work there.

4. Tell your story – Facebook has a video on its career page to convey their culture and what’s it like to work at Facebook? This is a compelling way to speak your company’s goals, vision, and culture. This will help attract candidates with shared interests.

5. Perks and Benefits – Mention benefits and perks your companies offer. Consider exactly what developers want from a company, and provide it.

Tip 4 – Reach Out

how to hire tech talentNow for searching the top tech talent leverage the platforms that tech talent uses every day.

1. Referrals

Ask a Friend

Referrals will always remain the first and the strongest source when searching for candidates.

Start by asking referrals to the people you know your family, friends or relatives or ask someone you have done business with.

Ask for ‘Refer a Friend’

Hubspot offers $10,000 to anyone who refers an ‘awesome’ developer that they go on to hire.

All those organizations and startups that are looking for an extraordinary developer create a ‘Refer a friend’ page on your website. Ask non-employees to refer a developer who would you go on to hire and reward them in return. (For startups they can either pay to one who recommends a friend or just offer them a one day treat in a five-star hotel.)

2. Attend Meetups and Hackathons

Forget Job fairs and try looking great talent at other events that aren’t traditionally recruiting-related.

Meetups/Group Events- Search forums such as Meetup for group events that are likely to be attended by people qualified for your open position.

For example, if you need a Developer in New York City, you could attend a Software developer-focused meetup in the area and look for potential candidates. You’ll already know they’re passionate about what they do, and you’ll be able to get a feel for what they’re like in person.

Hackathons – A hackathon is an event where computer programmers and software developers collaborate to create new software. Many hackathons are narrowed down by specific focus, and you should target those that are relevant to your product. Companies are increasingly using hackathons as a recruitment tool to evaluate coding skills in real time by giving developers “think on your feet” scenarios.

3. Use niche Job Boards

There has been a paradigm shift in the way companies recruit thanks to the value, efficacy, and ease-of-use of today’s career sites. Online job sites have revolutionized the recruitment landscape for both employers and job seekers and largely increased the efficiency with which hiring decisions can take place. Use good job sites to search your perfect candidate.

4. Social Media Platforms

LinkedIn – Widen your search, use LinkedIn where you can ask your contacts to introduce you to someone they happily worked with. Look for the candidates on LinkedIn as nowadays it is the platforms where candidates are actively searching for the jobs.

Technical Blogs/ QA Forums – Many programmers have their own personal blogs or might be mentioned on the blogs of other programmers. They also help people with their questions on Q/A forums. This can be a great source for potential candidates, and it allows you to learn about the candidate before even contacting him or her for a resume.

Open Source Code Contributions - Sites like Stack Overflow, GitHub offer an online repository for code where programmers can contribute to open source projects. You can look at samples of a candidate’s code before contacting them.

Personalized Emails – Most of the times, the best talent isn’t actively looking for a job. These types of candidates are called passive candidates. Personalized emails are a great strategy for attracting passive candidates. Personalized outreach beats mass mailing.

Tip 5 – Test the Candidates

how to hire tech talent

After all the hard work, you have a talent pool in your hands and you need to filter them based on their resumes.

Resumes don’t speak the reality, and asking questions on the basis of resumes is a big mistake. Anyone can claim to be an expert in almost anything. The only way to see if a candidate is going to work well is to test their skills and evaluate their expertise.

Being a non-techie, does it mean to go out and seek tech help again to prepare the skill tests, conduct the test drive and ask your tech experts to evaluate each and every test attempt by the candidates? Really! HECK NO!

Thank God! Online Skill Testing Service is at your rescue!

Choose valid & reliable online testing software with ready skill tests to assess and evaluate your candidates. It is a fast and easy alternative and will save a lot of your time, efforts, and costs.

And yes, your tech team will also be more than happy because you have saved them a lot of their valuable time spent in creating skill tests, evaluation time and interviewing time spent with the irrelevant candidates. Online skills testing help companies by identifying the candidates most likely to perform well on the job.

Interview Mocha – Online Skill Testing 

When it comes to online skill testing, no doubt Interview Mocha is the most trusted and used software by companies of all sizes. With Interview Mocha’s skills assessment, you can easily and effectively assess the candidate’s practical and coding skills.

Some benefits of using Interview Mocha

  • 1000+ ready to use latest and updated skills test with for all latest technologies.
  • Custom tests – if we don’t have a skill test which you need, just ask us we will create for you.
  • Save billable hours – you want to save billable hours of your tech team, right?
  • Interview Mocha’s assessments have helped companies to eliminate 80 percent of unqualified candidates.
  • Coding and other simulators to test hands on experience.
  • Most companies have found that their face to face interview conversion ratio has increased by a huge 70% as the hiring team now only interviews relevant candidates.
  • Candidate evaluation process with Interview Mocha has become objective and they are now able to select right candidates.

Interview Mocha strives towards helping hiring managers to quickly conduct the pre-hire screening and assessment to test candidates.

Skill Testing software

Tip 6 – Determine the pay and training period

Get an idea of the pay. Look at what similar companies are paying to the candidates at different levels for the job roles, research for similar tech jobs in your area through resources such as Payscale.com or Salary.com. If yours is a startup, consider using equity to attract talent.

Also, decide over the training period of the candidate and inform them before taking them onboard.

Tip 7 – Look at the big picture

how to hire tech talent

Now before interviewing the selected candidates look for their portfolios, online presence, and repos. Start by browsing their social media profiles, their portfolios, websites, and their contribution on sites like GitHub, Stack Overflow, Quora, etc.

Look for the following things –

  1. How they showcase their work?
  2. Whether they contribute to the community?
  3. Whether they write blogs or answers about relevant topics?

Broaden your research and look for their participation in the groups they belong. And, if you find anything that doesn’t feel right to you, just move on and keep looking for someone else.

Tip 8 – Interviewing Candidates

how to hire tech talent

When interviewing you need to bring a right mix of right people in the hiring team. A right hiring team is crucial to reap benefits of your hiring efforts.

If you are an entrepreneur you will need someone with the tech knowledge to rate the results. So consult your network for advice and call them in the interview panel.

If you are an HR or Recruiter and you are hiring for the technical team, make sure you include technology officer or a Senior Architect. He will make sure the next hire in the development team is strong and will help you making the process a lot easier.

See to it that your panel members (who are well versed with technology) apart from asking technology based questions they focus on three things –

What the candidate has accomplished? - It’s hard to be a good programmer without some previous experience and these days anyone can get some experience by starting or contributing to a free software project.

Understanding of Technology – When it comes to technology a great developer always keep on learning new languages and cares about their craft.

Understanding of Business – The other thing is the understanding of your business and the kind of problem you are trying to solve.

Now since you’re unable to assess their code, you should focus on what’s important to you and start the casual conversation for finding out the other necessary things.

Find out whether the candidate is Smart. To find out whether someone’s smart, try to have a casual conversation with them. Under any circumstances don’t ask them any standard interview questions, chat with them like you would with someone you met at a party.

During a casual conservation, try to emphasize on below things, just to make sure the candidate is really a smart one and just not seems to be one.

First, ask them what they’ve been doing and probe them about it. Do they seem to understand it in detail? Can they explain it clearly? (Clear explanations are a sign of genuine understanding.)

Second, are they curious? Do they actually ship? Are they genuinely interested or just pretending? Do they ask follow-up questions about what you’re saying?

Third, do they learn? How much do they enjoy programming? Do they actually understand it or do they just nod and smile?

Fourth, what they have mastered? Is the candidate biker? Is the candidate great football player? Or something else? Mastery in anything is a really good predictor of mastering something else. That’s a sign they can be a master on your project too.

Lastly, see whether the candidate is good cultural fit, team player, check whether he sticks around the duration allotted for the projects.

Offer Internships – After the interview if you feel that the X candidate is a potential one, and, but you want to assess his skills more then a good way to evaluate is to offer them internship. This will give you the real picture of candidates’ skills (this can be specifically offered to entry level candidates).

Tip 9 – Post Onboarding

Hiring for a job you’ve never done before is really hard. So is managing that person after they’re hired.

Call in your network or friend who had helped you in the hiring process and ask them to evaluate the candidate. But make sure you observe how he evaluates the candidates so that next time you can.

A good way is to provide new hires with a mentor or peer buddy, this can have a positive impact on both productivity and retention.

Make it happen!

All the above stuff can help, but the absolute good way to hire a programmer is to know at least a little bit about programming. So get creative, leverage your resources and go for it.

However, if you don’t feel like taking this important journey all by yourself, find someone with a technical background who could help you out identifying “what you want and what skills would be necessary for said requirements” and then go on to build and grow your business.

Do you have other tips or ways for non-techie people to find top talent? Share with others in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “9 Tips on how to hire Tech Talent when you are not a Techie

  1. Thanks for the helpful text, Nikita! Just experienced exatly this situation a month ago and intuitively followed most of the tips you gave. Next time I´ll be able to use all of them! :)

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