6 Strategies for Finding 'Unicorn' Tech Candidates

Hiring software architects, data scientists or experts for other tech related roles can be daunting: their skill set is incredibly specialised, competition is fierce, and there are hundreds of other companies after them. In fact, research shows that tech roles are the highest in demand in terms of postings, salary and growth opportunity—and those are just average tech roles. Finding very specialised candidates can be a truly impossible task.

So what do you do when you need to hire a particularly hard-to-find tech candidate?  Here are 6 key strategies you can utilise for hiring impossible-to-fill technical roles:

1. Be Present in Online Communities

Try expanding your database of potential recruits to niche online communities and job boards. Find out where the type of tech talent you are looking for spends time online—chat rooms, code sharing sites, etc. See if you can advertise, post a message or reach out to a candidate that might be a good fit for your role. Most tech specialists live online—use that to your advantage.

2. Invest in Promoting Your Company Online

To that point, tech candidates that you reach out to will Google your company and look at your LinkedIn page.  Make sure you capture their interest by producing content that matters to them. Marketing your company well online can help make people want to work for you.

3. Focus on Top Candidates

When you are looking for a unicorn, don’t look at the ponies.  You may receive a lot of interest in a job advert, but it is important to zero-in on your top picks by offering unique compensation packages that are most relevant to their needs. For example, maybe they would like an advanced degree your organisation could pay for, or a gym membership, or flexible working hours. Speak to the best candidates to figure out what benefits might make a difference to them. Not only will this make them feel that you have their best interests in mind, but it will mean your offer is more likely to strike a chord. 

4. Team up with a Tech Expert

Tech roles are comprised of very specific skills and capabilities that an interview sometimes can’t really assess.  A specialised tech recruitment agency will have consultants that are able to take that into account.  Moreover, they will have a network of candidates already in place, and be able to provide a shortlist of impossible-to-find candidates quicker than it would take you to post your job advertisement.

5. Have Offsite Working Options

Did you know that many employees feel that working offsite improves their productivity? You can capitalise on this by offering prospective hires offsite or remote working options. This is especially relevant for output-based technical positions. Just make sure to exert the extra effort to make remote staff feel like they are still part of your company’s culture.

6. Offer Competitive Relocation Packages

For tech positions that require moving to another city, an excellent relocation package is critical. During the recruitment process, make sure to fly them in, conduct in-person interviews and showcase the best of your area. Also, find out what their priorities are and make sure that that you present them with options (schools, transport links, etc) . It would also be a good idea to outline a concrete career path they can expect from your company.

If the mandate is very niche, and you are under time pressure, it goes without saying that it is best to get some help.  A good tech recruitment consultant could mean the difference between a disaster-hire and the hire that completely transforms your technical team for the better. As we often tell our clients, unicorns can be found—you just need to know where to look.

About Oliver Parks

Oliver Parks Consulting offers search-based recruitment solutions to the technology sector, specialising in the ERP, CRM, CMS, ECM, BI and Open Source Technology spaces. The firm’s multilingual consultants operate in narrowly-defined niche market segments, enabling them to gain extensive knowledge of the people and companies operating in each technology.  Oliver Parks has a proven track-record with more than 100,000 candidates worldwide and more than 300 clients globally.