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5 Unique Challenges for Recruiting IT Talent

SmartDreamers Team
5 min. read

Every recruiter, in every department, at every company on the planet thinks their situation is uniquely challenging. We’re not going to dispute those claims. Seriously, the current world-wide job market has amped up the difficulty for everyone across the HR field. 


When it comes to IT recruiting, however, our experience has shown that many of these same challenges are amplified to a whole new level. At the same time, other challenges just seem to melt away completely.


The IT job market, it's been experiencing a sea change in recent years:


• There’s been a shift to a nearly 100% candidate focus;

• More companies turn their recruiting attention toward intentional diversity and inclusion efforts;

• The explosive growth of recruitment marketing due to the necessity to attract and retain the best passive candidates out there;

• Increasing the use of techniques and tactics borrowed from the world of inbound marketing.


Drawing on our own experience in IT recruiting, and recruitment marketing, in particular, has highlighted five challenges that rise above the rest when it comes to finding the right tech workers and building a solid team.

1. Talent Shortage

We hinted at the fact that the current “many openings, few candidates” situation was at the core of the situation; moreover, according to a recent study of global CIOs, 65% felt that a shortage of talent was keeping their business back. 

In IT, Every Candidate is a Passive Candidate visuals-01

How can you overcome this challenge?


• With a strong employer branding gravity, that way when you’ll have a ready group of high-quality coders just waiting for their chance to jump ship and come on board at your company;

• Put some effort to craft the content your audience is looking for;

• Consistently post that engaging content to the right channels so your perfect candidates will see it;

• Build your campaigns around a strong long term strategy to nurture and develop the talent pool you need;

Then it comes down to engage, engage, engage.

2. Employer Brand is not One-Size-Fits-All

The challenge here is to make sure you’re presenting the aspects of your employer branding that will appeal to an IT crowd. The fact that your company is ranked #1 in your city’s list of “Best Places To Work” survey won’t matter much if you can’t also show people that you have cutting edge R&D abilities and an EVP that ticks the right tech boxes.


• Remember, the goal of an Recruitment Marketing campaign is to position yourself as the employer of choice for your industry, AND for your audience; 

• Software developers are likely looking for different things that a junior VP of sales or an entry-level executive assistant; 

• Focus on your existing reputation within the specific niche you’re targeting;

• Don’t try to reinvent the wheel here. Use testimonials from existing developers so they speak the same language, promote your tech articles and podcasts and will be better able to attract other, similar workers to your employer branding.

Social media recruitment - Tech Industry case studyBrand interactions and clicks 2018 vs. 2019


3. Find the Right Places to Spread that Employer Branding


If you already have a strong Recruitment Marketing strategy in place, you’ll already be using multiple social media platforms to help spread the word. The challenge is that a lot of people within the IT world tend to focus their online free time on niche sites that cater specifically to their segment of the population.

In IT, Every Candidate is a Passive Candidate visuals4-04

Start looking at sites like Github and Reddit, they have dedicated fans already, so it’s easier to get your message out by targeting the members of these communities who also happen to be for example Python developers. This tactic means more targeted audiences for your content, which will cut the amount of time, energy, and money you’re using to get your message in front of the right people.

4. EVP Matters, Just Maybe Not the Same EVP

As with employer branding, your employee value proposition is a key piece of a successful Recruitment Marketing campaign. It has to be stellar, and it has to resonate with your target audience. 

Talking about your awesome benefits package that includes family leave and unlimited PTO will work wonders on your entry-level salespeople. For IT, not so much. 


You’ll want to focus in on things like:


• Successful launches and challenging projects;

• Tech awards, exciting advances your dev team has made;

• Opportunities for learning new technologies and career development;


Tailoring the pieces of your EVP that you present to each target group helps snare their attention and keeps them interested in finding out more.


5. In IT, Every Candidate is a Passive Candidate

This is really an extension of #1. To bring our list around full circle, with nearly full employment across tech fields, your ideal candidate is likely already working for someone else. That means you’ll need to employ all your best Recruitment Marketing tactics to wow them with your employer branding and EVP. 

This also means you’ll want to fine-tune and refine your targeting, post times, and platform choices based on the fact that these folks are at work all day and can’t necessarily be scrolling Reddit finding your posts mid-afternoon. 


Understanding the differences between IT candidates and other candidate types is crucial to building the IT ream you need to keep business thriving. And being able to develop that stunning recruitment marketing campaign is built on the foundation of understanding your audience. You need to hit these passive job seekers where they are, when they’re there, and most importantly with the right information to draw them into your talent pool.

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