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Hiring the right tech candidates has probably become more difficult than ever before. In the wake of an unstable job market and remote work, the pressure is on the recruiters to continue identifying and attracting top talent. What are the common hiring challenges they encounter today? And how much have these changed over the last months?
Considering the necessity to hire remotely, it seems crucial to understand that every business will likely come across many challenges throughout the hiring process. From competition over top talent, to internal communications, tech skills assessments and onboarding, many things can go wrong along the way.
Starting as a start-up recruiter, Aleksandra developed her interest in hiring technical roles from the beginning of her professional career. Focused on sourcing DevOps, back-end, and mobile developers at first, she learned a lot about programming languages and cloud technologies. Today, Aleksandra is hiring for the world’s leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D (RT3D) content, where she’s responsible for the recruitment processes for R&D in EMEA. At Unity, she focuses on sourcing senior technical roles.
Aleksandra shared with us the challenges she faces with remote hiring and potential weak points that could make the recruitment process even harder.
Unique Challenges of Hiring Remotely
Remote hiring can bring a lot of real benefits, but it’s not without its challenges. As Unity continues to hire engineers with a rare skill set, finding them becomes even more difficult. “The job market is currently unstable and for many tech candidates it’s simply not the best time to decide to change jobs,” says Aleksandra. “While we cannot control the current situation, we can definitely be more flexible,” she adds.
Using Codility for technical skills assessments as an addition to video interview panels is one way of becoming more flexible, but according to Aleksandra, companies need to critically evaluate their expectations, too. “Think about what you are trying to test. Are you sure you want to check candidates’ fundamental skills or perhaps how they cope with a real-life situation?” she says. “While some of the developers may not have strict theoretical knowledge, they can quickly react and find the solution to a problem. And that might be what your team is looking for,” Aleksandra adds.
Secondly, as a technical recruiter, Aleksandra never underestimates the importance of the in-person experience in the recruitment process. “We used to invite our candidates on-site to meet and have lunch with the team. It helped them understand the company culture better and simply build these lasting relations with their potential teammates,” she says. Now that the face-to-face meetings are impossible, Unity’s hiring team is focusing on a unique onboarding experience. “We’re putting our efforts into turning our onboarding process into video sessions and we make sure to take the time for casual online meetings with the team, so they can get to know each other,” she says.
Collaboration with Hiring Managers
Remote work can also bring miscommunication between recruiters and hiring managers. “Everyone is juggling a lot right now in the current global environment – including hiring managers. This means we’ve seen a slow down on engagement during the hiring process. Plus, their expectations may not match what the market has to offer right now.” Aleksandra says.
What are her best practices for effective remote collaboration with a hiring manager? Always organize a kick-off meeting before the hiring process starts. “We set up expectations straight at the beginning. I need them to be engaged and available as without their active participation, I will not be able to move forward fast,” she says. During the kick-off meeting, Aleksandra writes down a simple document with requirements for the role, stages of the hiring process, and clear division of topics that are going to be covered in the interview panel. “In case of any miscommunication, this agreement is always our starting point,” she adds.
Additionally, Aleksandra underlines the importance of education about the hiring process. “We have to differentiate between required and desired skills,” she says. “I feel I have to make that distinction clear for the hiring manager so that I can understand the requirements for the role.” Aleksandra also makes sure to clearly explain the stages of the recruitment process or determine together who are the key people that need to be involved. In the end, both recruiters and hiring managers want to bring highly skilled employees, quickly and efficiently. In order to track the progress, she organizes weekly catch-ups which gives a lot of transparency and alignment.
Competition Over Tech Talent
Despite the challenging situation, many tech companies are still hiring, and Unity is one of them. The competition over highly skilled employees becomes even more aggressive as the best candidates are off the market in only 10 days. What’s the key to attracting the top tech talent on the market? According to Alexandra, it’s the candidate experience.
“We’re treating our candidates just as we’d like to be treated ourselves,” she says. “This is a small market, so make sure you’re transparent and never let bridges burn. You’re likely to meet your candidates one day again,” she adds.
What does transparency mean for Unity? Whenever the hiring process gets extended, the company lets its candidates know why, informing them about roadblocks or simply next steps. Most of all, Aleksandra’s team is very serious about managing expectations. “If the candidate is looking for a small organisation, we’re not trying to prove that we’re one,” she admits. Even if they’re not the right fit at the moment, this transparency and honest communication builds a solid foundation for future encounters.
As a Technical Recruiter Aleksandra predicts that remote work is not just a temporary hype, it’s the future of hiring. “Not only is my entire team focusing on moving the hiring process 100% remote, but on building the remote culture for the entire organization,” she adds.
Still Having Issues with Remote Hiring?
If you want to get more information on how to transition to a remote-first hiring organization, check out our Remote Hiring Guide, full of practical advice you can implement in your team this week.