12 Tips for Landing Top Tech Talent in 2023

The global technology industry is always evolving, and yet, some things never change. 

As we look ahead to 2023, the global economy is in a state of flux, and many tech companies have reduced workforces to cut costs while earnings are down in many sectors. 

The constant, however, is that top tech talent is always in demand. Hiring talented engineers and developers — particularly those with capabilities in data science, cloud engineering, and DevOps — will continue to be a priority for companies of all sizes. 

And finding that top tech talent will continue to be a challenge, especially considering that tech recruiting teams will almost certainly see a flood of resumes for each job post — because of all those layoffs. 

In this post, we offer 12 tips that recruiters and talent acquisition leaders should consider to give them the best chance of hiring top tech talent in 2023. Spoiler alert: It starts and ends with delivering a technical hiring experience that is worthy of acquiring that top talent.  

1. Ensure Your Hiring Process is Relevant to the Role

When the hiring process for an engineer/developer feels disjointed and low-tech, candidates notice. 

Receiving take-home code tests that seem totally unrelated to the job at hand — or experiencing disconnected teams and systems that make the hiring process painful — talented candidates for technical positions are much more likely to remove themselves from consideration. 

After all, if you build tech solutions to streamline or automate processes for a living, why would you go to work for a company that has a broken hiring process? From start to end, make sure your hiring process is consistent with the skills and values of the people you want to hire. 

2. Encourage Employee Referrals 

A great way to acquire vetted talent is through referrals from team members of their previous colleagues. After all, if your team members have worked with candidates who have proven success solving real-world tech challenges in a related role, those candidates are more likely to succeed on your team. 

However, it’s important that those candidates are recommended for the right reasons. 

A financial incentive that’s too big might yield some marginal referrals. And your team members need to understand that you want talent referrals based on merit — not just people who are nice to work with. In other words...

3. Emphasize Performance Over Pedigree

Past experience matters. And four-year and advanced degrees, especially from top institutions are still valuable. But the most important attribute of a job candidate is their ability to solve specific problems that relate directly to the job you are hiring for, regardless of the school they attended or where they worked before. 

So, be careful not to over-emphasize a candidate’s pedigree, background, or relationships. Instead, focus on the skills that are most applicable to the job.    

To that end…

4. Simulate the Job, Not a Code Test 

Many code tests are deeply flawed. Candidates hate them because they can suck up time — and because potential employers often use and re-use code tests that are, at best, marginally related to the job. 

Meanwhile, cheating on code tests is a problem — whether it’s via a simple Google search to plagiarize others’ code, or (more advanced) using AI to generate code that can’t be traced back to any online source. 

For all those reasons, companies should find ways to simulate the job, going a step beyond  take-home tests. 

As an example, we at Filtered offer a cloud-based IDE that allows our customers to simulate their development environment — including the actual tools their team uses. And Filtered’s live interviews feature also makes it possible for hiring managers and candidates to collaborate and pair-program on projects — offering a clearer picture of that candidate’s problem-solving abilities. 

5. Expand Your Talent Pool to the Globe

Inspired partly by the pandemic, more companies are shifting to a virtual workforce or a “hub and spoke” model, in which fewer people work in a traditional headquarters setting. 

For recruiting, tapping into talent around the globe is a huge advantage — especially technical talent. From using typical digital recruiting methods to reach anyone around the world, to tapping into virtual boot camps and online career events, talent can come from everywhere. 

The caveat: Expanding your search may lead to a larger candidate pool at the top of the funnel, and your team will need tools to manage it. Tools that can…

6. Automate the Front End of Interviewing

With the wave of recent tech layoffs, recruiting and talent teams are likely to be overwhelmed by a crush of applicants for new technical positions. 

Your team will appreciate the best tools, especially in the early stages, to do more with less and move faster by better identifying and qualifying top applicants earlier, faster, and more reliably. And qualified technical candidates will also appreciate a higher-tech approach to the process.

7. Accelerate the Hiring Experience 

Probably the most common pain point we hear from technical talent teams is that the hiring process takes too long — and that many qualified candidates drop out because the company doesn’t move fast enough. 

In fact, according to one LinkedIn study, the median time to hire an engineer is close to 50 days. One of the biggest sources of delay is having several rounds of live interviews. Tech tools (including ours at Filtered) can dramatically reduce this time by replacing some live interviews with customized job simulations that combine skill testing and automated scoring. 

Hiring managers can more quickly focus on the most qualified candidates rather than wasting time in conference rooms interviewing people that aren’t a fit. And candidates — good and bad — will appreciate a more efficient process. 

8. Make the Interview Process More Asynchronous

Another benefit to automating the interview process and reducing the number of live interviews is that more of the interview process can be asynchronous, or interviews that candidates complete on their time. 

Finding available, overlapping time between candidates and hiring teams is always a logistical challenge. And if more of the interview process can be performed as individuals are available, via online interfaces, that can greatly accelerate the hiring process.

It also allows candidates who are likely already working a full-time job and balancing the needs of their families or personal lives to fit the interview in where it best fits their already challenging schedules.

9. Revisit Silver Medalists from Previous Openings

In 2023, it may be easy to find new tech applicants — and an overwhelming volume of resumes — in the wake of increasing layoffs across the tech industry. 

However, you shouldn’t overlook your existing database of past candidates. You may have a wealth of qualified talent that passed multiple rounds of tests and interviews but didn’t quite get an offer for previous positions. If they had a pleasant candidate experience, there’s a good chance they’d consider a new opportunity with you. 

You don’t always have to start from scratch — mine that database, channel your inner alchemist, and you may find some gold! 

10. Consider ALL Biases During Your Technical Assessment Process

Conscious and unconscious bias that affects how management perceives different groups and workers has long been a challenge for companies of all types. In technical roles, gender bias, in particular, has been shown to negatively impact the career trajectory of women

Tech tools can help companies remove some of the bias in recruiting by standardizing interview questions and tests, and anonymizing profiles of candidates. 

As an example, Filtered includes an anonymous mode and blind reviews. Hiring managers who choose the anonymous mode are sent anonymous profiles and transcripts of video responses that prevent them from viewing a candidate’s demographics or hearing their vernacular. 

Another type of bias that is often overlooked is tech bias. Not all candidates have the same personal machine to run the program necessary for many take-home challenges. That’s another reason why we’re fans of simulations, because they level the playing field — providing each candidate the same IDE or remote desktop to complete the assessment. 

By using such tools, companies can focus on skill-based hiring, which is more objective, less biased, more equitable, and delivers higher-performing candidates.

11. Emphasize Soft Skills in the Interview Process 

While assessing hard coding skills is often the focus of the tech hiring process, soft skills are also important to succeed in technical positions. 

For example, developers need to have great communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills to work on teams, especially when peer programming is an important part of the work. 

To assess those soft skills, make sure your hiring process includes some open-ended exercises or questions where candidates can fully express their approach to a problem and solution. 

You can also learn what their career trajectory might be by asking questions such as, “Which advanced skills are you most interested in?”  That may mean text-based or video capture of questions where candidates can demonstrate communication skills and conceptual thinking — and where hiring managers can asynchronously review results.

12. Give Candidates a Glimpse of Life at Your Company

Last but not least, understand that the employee experience for your talent starts during the hiring process. 

There are many ways (including some of the tips above) you can improve the candidate experience — but the most important one is to give them a sense of what it will be like working at your company. 

For tech talent, that includes letting them use the tools they’ll be using on the job, and doing simulated work that’s more the job and less like simple code tests. It should also mean that your hiring process values their time just as management would value the time of its employees. And it means making sure that your hiring process is consistent with your values.

Anything you can do to improve the hiring and working experience will pay dividends — not just in acquiring top talent, but ultimately keeping it, too.