The tech hiring market has never been busier, so what should your company be thinking about if you’re about to scale up your engineering teams? Client Server Director Nick Boulton offers his advice.
Tech start-ups are one of the most competitive markets I have seen. There are open vacancies growing by the week, while the talent pool diminishes by the day. What do you need to be aware of when trying to scale your engineering team?
I can’t remember a time when technologists have been in such high demand. The speed, volume, and general appetite of companies to hire people is extraordinary. But the demand for technologists now outweighs the talent available. You could throw money at it to create a solution, but it will only get you so far.
This means the way you approach the talent market is extremely important. How you plan to scale up will be vital to your success, and to hire the team(s) you need.
In recent months, companies have fallen into bad habits, which is costing potential hires, time, and money. Unless you have a strong approach with a laser-like focus to hiring, and have partnered with a recruitment consultancy, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.
The trend over the last 24 months has been to hire big internal hiring teams, and this can be very helpful. But, in an ever-changing market you will never hire the volume required if you don’t marry this with a quality external recruitment partner.
Partnering with an external recruitment team will bring value by having a bigger cross-selection of candidates, with live comparisons of other businesses who are hiring in the same space. They can also provide more meaningful market intelligence.
The biggest hurdle to jump over is about fees. Many businesses feel recruitment fees are too high. I’ve written recently about why haggling over fees is pointless. With the current rate of salary increases, counteroffers, and candidate shortages, recruitment costs pale in comparison if you don’t hire enough of the right people. It comes with the territory, and in this market What you pay for is what you get.
Assuming you have found your favourite recruitment partner, and have a wonderfully symbiotic working relationship, what are the things you need to focus on when trying to scale?
- Process: Make sure this is nailed down and watertight. Doing an all-in-one process doesn’t work. Yes, you might make the odd hire, and be the quickest to the offer stage of recruiting, but hiring candidates is like trying to woo that special someone. This process takes time, effort, and you need to show them why you’re the best choice. A long-protracted processes turns people off—in other words, you snooze you lose. Make your process thorough, engaging, and to the point.
- Diversity: Never more apt important than now (especially in the aftermath of the shocking social media behaviour of certain cretins after the Euros final). This is a very important issue and one that you need to be serious about as a business, not just pay it lip services. Make sure the whole business has bought into this idea and reward/remunerate accordingly. There is absolutely NO point in business owners/c-suite executives banging this drum, but none of the people who actually make the hiring decisions are fully informed
- Approach: Have a clear and concise picture of what your business is about and what the culture is. This is extremely important in the current climate with WFH, hybrid working etc. We are seeing more and more people leaving jobs because they had no idea what the culture of the company was/is. You will have massive retention issues if you don’t get this right, and recruitment costs will spiral.
- Remuneration/Benefits: This is more than just giving your new hires cash. There is a temptation at the moment to just throw money at people and hope they grab. This tactic can work, but it devalues your business and will create other issues later down the road.
Here are three things to remember when scaling your engineering teams:
- Check the current market rate for the roles you’re hiring. At Client Server, we run quarterly reports on the latest renumeration figures
- Pay what is fair, but enticing.
- Build a package of benefits that the modern candidate is looking for, not the traditional offering that is completely outdated.
- Provide flexibility for those that deliver and show responsibility, and provide an environment where people can thrive.
There are a number of other things you can do to help your new hires, and I would be more than happy to take any question or queries that you might have, please contact me if you want to discuss in more depth.