As the tech skills gap continues to grow, hiring the best entry-level talent has never been more important
You naturally want to hire the top tech talent around, You naturally want to hire the top tech talent around. Unfortunately, the tech skills gap still has a stranglehold on the UK and its companies’ ability to fill gaps in their teams. There is a wealth of entry-level tech talent just waiting for the opportunity to enter and ultimately change the tech industry, but how can you ensure your business finds and hires the best people available?
Finding the best people is a process of balancing three key elements:
- Technical assessment
- Cultural assessment
- Diversity of thought
Technical knowledge assessment
Finding the best people is all about building the kind of tech team that will help you deliver today and grow in the future. These should be people who you can project becoming your next generation of subject matter experts, rather than simply filling a need in your team. Otherwise, you can find many qualified contractors who can provide short-term support (along with an expensive price tag for their services).
Tech recruitment will always have an element of assessment, and it’s right to test applicants and confirm their knowledge of essential tools, platforms, or frameworks that you use. But as technology constantly evolves, you must be aware of how your tech team will expand and grow, rather than only evaluating candidates on the skills you need today.
In the Ten10 Academy, we test people in a wealth of ways, including:
- Problem-solving abilities
- Analytical skills
- Critical thinking
- Numerical reasoning
- Diagrammatic reasoning
- Performance using pseudocode
These tests are vital for entry-level talent who you must equally evaluate for their potential growth as much as their present-day knowledge. You shouldn’t look for the finished product – but rather someone with the drive that will push them to ask the right questions as they grow into their tech career.
Recruiting new talent also means finding people who fit your organisation’s culture – or rather, who will help you grow your ideal culture. A tech team can feel pressure from many areas of a business, making innovation difficult to facilitate. Injecting new blood into your teams can often provide the spark needed to approach problems in creative ways, but hiring talent that isn’t fully bought into your culture can turn that spark into a flash in the pan.
A culture assessment should be an integral part of your recruitment process. When clients utilise talent from our Ten10 Academy, we use our own 3D Needs Assessment to evaluate individuals on their Skill, Lifestyle, and Cultural fit with an organisation. These are people we’ve trained, spoken with, and supported over months of career transformation, so we know who will fit into a workplace, not just for a project but also for a long-term career.
Of course, Skills are essential, so that is the first dimension of the assessment: looking for people who display aptitude and ability in a particular discipline. But for long-term recruitment success, you also need to look at the Lifestyle and Cultural elements of a hire. This can include:
- What cadence of work can they adapt to?
- Are they adept with multitasking across multiple short-term solutions or concentrating on multi-month projects?
- Does the personality of the candidate fit not just your business, but also the team that they will join?
- What long-term career goals and aspirations does the candidate bring with them?
Two candidates with the same level of technical knowledge may have very different career aspirations. One may be used to cross-department collaboration and another adept at working on single, complex projects. Unfortunately, many workplaces only learn this information after questioning a recent hire’s underperformance.
While you may have a set job description and know how to evaluate a candidate’s technical knowledge, how do you assess their cultural fit with your existing team?
Diversity of thought
The final element of ensuring you hire the best people is to pose an important question to yourself: will this person help us think differently?
‘Diversity of thought’ is the collective power of your team, department, or whole staff to bring a diverse range of perspectives to your work. It brings many benefits to your organisation, the first being that it improves creativity and decision-making. When a group of staff with different experiences come together, they can provide a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of issues, which leads to better decision-making. This deep level of understanding fosters innovation and creativity as new solutions to complex problems emerge that may not have been possible with a homogenous group.
Diversity of thought also promotes learning and growth. When individuals are exposed to different perspectives and ideas, they can broaden their knowledge and challenge their assumptions, leading to both personal and professional growth, which often enhances employee engagement and satisfaction.
When you have routinely hired candidates from the same background (which, in IT, has historically been white, male, and university-educated candidates), it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the best people to hire are ones that will fit the profile of your existing team. But the value of breaking this mould and broadening your team’s collective experiences can be huge for your company. That’s why we’re committed to championing diversity and inclusion in the Ten10 Academy. Since 2022, over 40% of our Academy Consultants are from minority backgrounds and nearly two-thirds of them came from a non-STEM background.
You must ensure your recruitment process will welcome people from a variety of candidates – across gender identity, nationality, neurodivergent, and socio-economic backgrounds. This can mean increasing the platforms that you recruit from or working with talent providers who engage with prospects from all backgrounds. Attracting this variety of candidates is the first step to increasing your business’ diversity of thought.