How to hire tech talent for non-tech companies

February 23rd, 2023
HireVue Team

Despite economic concerns and many tech layoffs, tech talent is still in high demand. And it’s evident by the numbers: 4 million tech positions opened up in the past year, yet the tech unemployment rate sits at just 2%. Understandably, this gap between job seekers and jobs that need to be filled is a big concern.

And it’s only getting worse.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that some tech jobs, like computer and information technology, will increase by 15% between 2021 and 2031 — resulting in 682,800 new jobs. This number doesn’t include the 418,500 projected openings just to replace current jobs where workers left.

Tech has taken center stage, and in order for non-tech companies to remain competitive, they need to harness the full power of technology. Like the federal government, which is streamlining hiring processes in an effort to scoop up recently laid off tech workers.

No tech hiring experience? No problem. Here’s where to start.

Lead with technology

Only a few years ago, tech talent considered the Amazons and Googles of Silicon Valley the gold standard for tech jobs. 

Not anymore. Now, they are optimistically considering jobs outside of the tech sector. For hiring teams, this is good news. However, attracting these job seekers still remains a challenge.

Where to even begin? We’d suggest that companies start with the very thing they’re hiring for: technology. What better way to attract tech talent than with technology itself? 

It should be no surprise that tech talent wants to be a part of a tech-savvy company. In fact, 71% of them say they want their company to provide the same level of technology they use in their everyday lives. This means mobile, connected, and personalized experiences.

Now is the time to leverage a digital talent engine that quickly and seamlessly takes tech candidates from source to hire. Here’s how hiring teams can captivate even the best tech candidates:

Prioritize diversity

Only 26% tech jobs are filled by women.

And while the long-established “men’s club” of tech jobs may be changing, there’s still a big underrepresentation of diverse talent.

In some tech roles, black representation is shockingly low — one study showing that only 4.5 percent of software developers are black. And the lack of diversity at the graduate level is not much different.

It’s no secret that a more diverse culture is a more innovative one. So what steps can you take to make sure biased opinions don’t creep into your hiring decisions?

Assess competencies that matter

For hiring teams, this means one thing: hire for the skills the job requires.

Now, technology empowers hiring teams to mitigate hiring biases and assess tech candidates solely based on job competencies. Here are three ways you can quickly assess skills:

  1. On-Demand interview and assessment to measure soft skills
    Incorporate structured technical interviews at the top of the funnel to assess soft skills, like problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking.
  2. Coding challenges to assess hard skills
    Auto-scored coding assessments measure the most relevant competencies, so recruiters have confidence that the candidates they advance are the most qualified for the role.
  3. Game-based assessments to test cognitive abilities
    Assess candidates’ skills in a quick and fun way — helping you match them to job-relevant competencies in three areas: personality and work style, how they work with people, and how they work with information.
Widen your search

When you limit your job search to geographical location, you’re automatically eliminating an entire group of diverse tech workers. The workforce has expanded globally — and you should too.

If you find a tech candidate in a different location, don’t assume they should come to you. It’s likely you can take the job to them. Offering hybrid or remote roles is a great way to land diverse tech talent — especially since 60% of tech professionals prefer remote work — up from 53% just a year prior.

Remove strict degree requirements

While degrees may matter for some jobs, they certainly don’t for all.

More and more employers are thinking about qualifications differently and removing unnecessary tech-degree requirements. Even the White House has jumped on board, announcing limits on education requirements when hiring IT professionals.

Okta, a SAAS company, recently removed degree requirements for a number of positions with a promise of on-the-job training instead. 

“We’re moving more to looking at motivation and skills and experience, not ‘What college did you go to?’ ” said Rachele Zamani, manager for business development.

One of Okta’s hires, Alexis Ayala, applied for a software job — with a sales background and zero tech experience — and got the job. Okra saw his potential and passion, then trained him on the necessary skills.

Evaluate beyond tech skills

We’ve been reiterating that skills matter. And they do. But don’t limit yourself by assuming all candidates must fit every required skill.

Did you know that 44% of people who hold a tech job did not start out in tech? Many came from an entirely different profession, but along the way learned the skills they needed to switch jobs.

Fully-remote tech courses — like Pivot Tech — are on the rise, giving people the skills to jump from no-knowledge to career-ready in a matter of weeks. Now we’re seeing blue-collar or hourly workers learn tech skills — then move to tech roles that provide much better pay and schedules.

If this tells us anything, it’s this: you don’t always need that tech-exclusive fit. 

Instead, you can find the right people with the aptitude to learn the right skill. Maybe a candidate has the soft skills to do the job, but not the hard skills. If you see the potential, provide the learning and development they need to upskill.

This benefits the candidate, but it also benefits the company.

Sixty-one percent of respondents in a Gallup survey said that upskilling opportunities are extremely important when deciding whether to stay in a job.

This seems to be the sentiment across all industries, but with the fast-changing nature of technology, providing learning opportunities will pay off in two ways:

Interested candidates will see your dedication to learning and upward mobility.

  • And current employees are much more likely to stay when they can broaden their digital skills within the walls of your company — not somewhere else. 

And in the end, this yields results in the form of productivity, innovation, and retention.

Engage, assess, and hire tech roles faster

Hiring tech employees when you’re not a tech expert can feel intimidating. But, with the tools in place, it doesn’t have to be. 

HireVue builds a faster, fairer, more flexible hiring process with automation and structure at every step. And with special solutions catered to technical hiring, it’s the leverage you need to easily assess, interview, and hire the right tech talent.