business man in career climbing the ladderOh the hiring process. Filled with resume parsing, call backs, interview scheduling and salary negotiations. And though the process can often times become overwhelming for recruiters and hiring managers, some are facing an even greater challenge before pushing a candidate through their company’s intake process—actually sourcing the right candidates.

According to the 2013 Talent Shortage Survey by ManpowerGroup, 38 percent of the 38,000 employers surveyed reported difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent. Employers from the Americas reported that technician positions were the hardest to fill with employers saying the problem is a lack of candidates with technical competencies, such as professional qualifications and skilled trades.

The report explained how hiring managers said the talent shortage negatively affected their business performance by reducing client service capability, reducing competitiveness, increasing employee turnover and compensation costs, reducing innovation and creativity, and lowering employee engagement and morale.

From the study’s findings it’s pretty clear to see why it’s so important for businesses to source and hire quality candidates—not only for the sake of workers but for the overall health and performance of a company.

So, to help recruiters get a leg up when it comes to recruiting top technical talent, Erin Osterhaus, managing editor at Software Advice, has outlined five steps HR professionals can take to successfully recruit for technical positions.

1. Be Proactive and Targeted

A high volume of applicants doesn’t necessarily ensure high quality candidates. As is the case when hiring for most positions, that purple squirrel rarely just walks into your office. And those perfect hires get even rarer when you’re seeking out specific technical skills.

Instead of simply posting to job boards and social media, get proactive. Incorporate a combination of various hiring tactics, for instance: online advertising, attendance at local and national job fairs, regional university recruitment, a robust employee referral program, and sometimes, direct headhunting.

2. Implement a Structured Interview Process

One of the biggest challenges when hiring for tech positions is making sure the interviewers are as well informed about the skills required for the role as the applicant. In the interview phase, make sure you have your top engineers and managers evaluate the candidate with knowledge and behavioral based questions.

3. Remember to Hire for Cultural Fit

While recruiters do, of course, need to focus on finding candidates with the technical skills required for the job, cultural fit is also important to ensure a successful, long-term hire. Research has found a high correlation between cultural fit, job satisfaction and low employee turnover, so vet candidates based on your company’s core values. Erin Osterhaus

4. Know What You’re Looking For

Recruiters are sometimes eager to start searching for candidates as soon as a hiring manager gives them a job order. But, before you go in search of candidates, make sure you and your team of recruiters fully understand the job requirements. Ask the hiring manager questions before jumping into the talent pool, like “What kind of technology is the engineer working with?” and “How does it interact with other technology in this business?”

5. Expand Your Scope

Because tech talent is in high demand, don’t limit yourself to traditional recruiting techniques. Always consider new options for finding candidates, not just the ones that are tried and true. And don’t limit yourself to sourcing local talent either. Have a big vision, because quite often, the best technical hire will not be located in your backyard.

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