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Terkel guest blog: 15 tips for where to find diverse tech talent

From working with a staffing agency to looking into programs that support STEM students, here are 15 answers to the question, “Can you share your most effective tips for sourcing a sustainable talent pipeline of software engineers, especially from underrepresented backgrounds in tech?”

  • Collaborate With Your Staffing Agency
  • Make Improvements to the Interviewing Process
  • Offer Software Engineering Internship Programs
  • Try Testing Applicants
  • Evaluate Talent with AI
  • Focus on Relationships
  • Use Employee Referral Programs
  • Host a Techathon
  • Create In-house Training Programs
  • Be Proactive
  • Provide Credible Career Development Opportunities
  • Negotiate a Flexible Work Arrangement
  • Take Your Time
  • Form Partnerships With College Hiring and DEI Departments
  • Search in Education and Mentoring Groups


Collaborate With Your Staffing Agency

Collaborating with a leading technology staffing firm in your area will give your company a steady stream of qualified developer applicants. Look for a company in your area with relevant experience and a solid reputation in the industry. Any tech company worth its salt will use this method in its hiring strategy.

Gerrid Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Joy Organics


Make Improvements to the Interviewing Process

Personally, I believe we have the best opportunity of thoroughly vetting a programming applicant if we break away from the standard interview format. You may have them observe one of your current employees at work. You can tell if an applicant would be a good match for your company by letting their potential coworkers get to know them.

Edward Mellett, Co-founder, Wikijob


Offer Software Engineering Internship Programs

Offering internship programs for underrepresented students helps businesses build a constant stream of talent in any department. For example, start a relationship with local or online colleges that require students to gain internship experience for credit. This partnership benefits all parties and offers unlimited access to fresh talent.

Patricio Paucar, Co-founder + Chief Customer Officer, Navi


Try Testing Applicants

Despite the widespread scarcity of software engineers, a company’s human resources department may ‌receive an overwhelming number of applications when a position opens up. I consider it would be beneficial to narrow down the pool of applicants to just the most talented programmers for your team by having them take a quick test of their skills. The coding competition that was cited earlier is also useful here.

Matt Magnante, Director of Content and SEO, Fitness Volt

Evaluate Talent with AI

Incorporating recruiting automation tools into your process can speed up time-consuming duties that don’t call for human judgment. Most executives expect that by 2023, AI will play a much larger role in the recruitment process, especially in the areas of candidate screening, onboarding, and competency evaluation. 

Perhaps they are correct. However, AI is not without its own danger of prejudice, so using it alone to assess applicants is not advised. A combination of technological tools and expert judgment yields the most reliable results for assessing abilities. Even though AI can’t replace the human touch in recruitment, it can speed up the process and help narrow down a big application pool to a select group of top candidates.

Andrew Priobrazhenskyi, CEO and Director, Discount Reactor


Focus on Relationships

Instead of concentrating on the practicalities of the transaction (they need a job, you have a position), think about how to develop a rapport with the applicant. You’ll succeed more in attracting and keeping employees if you tailor the experience to each individual. 

How can you retain top-tier software engineer prospects interested in your company after the initial screening, evaluation, and skills testing have been completed and a shortlist has been compiled? The solution is straightforward: emphasize interpersonal connections. 

Relationship development with candidates can begin early in the hiring process and continue throughout. Managers and recruiters can cultivate relationships with candidates by actively listening during interviews, sharing the company’s vision, maintaining open lines of communication, and determining the individual’s professional aspirations.

Nathan Hughes, Founder, Art Ignition


Use Employee Referral Programs

In order to collect a great database of talents and have a talent pipeline of software engineers, the best method is using an employee referral program where your inclusive and diverse employees can recommend and refer friends or previous colleagues and allow you to have a diverse collection of talents that companies and HR departments can easily refer to when needed.

Denise Hemke, Chief Product Officer, Checkr


Host a Techathon 

The talent pipeline is where you keep a stack of talent resources. If you’re not from a technical background, you can still build a talent pipeline of software engineers. 

You can go for techathons for a talent pipeline. It’s the smartest way because you won’t have to search for talent; it will attract automatically. Since you’re not a technical person, choosing professionals one by one would not be easy for you. It will require some technical knowledge so that you can interview the candidates. 

Techathons can pull geeks towards your company easily. Moreover, the gamut of resources received from such events offers genuine talent. So, what can be more celebrated for you than building a sustainable talent pipeline of software engineers not from a technical background? 

Techathons will also collect resources for different projects. You can have freshers to experienced engineers on your team, providing a variety of talent.

Yogesh Kumar, Digital Marketing Manager, Technource


Create In-house Training Programs

As a team lead, I’ve found that the best way to build a sustainable talent pipeline of software engineers from underrepresented backgrounds is to establish or support in-house training programs. Developing core programming and presentation skills helps to create an even playing field and facilitates an inclusive environment, which can benefit everyone on the team. 

These training programs help promote organic achievements within the team and provide more opportunities for individuals who may not have access to traditional resources. Moreover, having talented people already entrenched in the culture helps foster a sense of camaraderie and encourages further engagement between new and existing members of the software engineering team.

Ludovic Chung-Sao, Lead Engineer and Founder, Zen Soundproof


Be Proactive

Most companies are reactive with hiring: they wait until they need someone before they look for candidates. That’s great if you’re looking for someone with specific skills, but it doesn’t work well if you’re trying to grow talent over time. 

Your company needs a stable of candidates who can fill in as needed, which means identifying people early on and recruiting them into your pipeline. The key to this kind of recruiting is being clear about the candidate you’re looking for. 

Consider what skills will be necessary at different times in your future and ensure that those are reflected in your job descriptions and requirements. Then, look out for people who seem like they might fit into your culture—and ensure that those people know about open positions at your company.

Kimberley Tyler-Smith, VP, Strategy and Growth, Resume Worded

Provide Credible Career Development Opportunities

The nature of startups these days has become quite unpredictable. Most companies seem to churn out software developers in no time. For this reason, it is essential for organizations to offer software developers credible career growth opportunities, including the opportunity to develop additional skills and expand their network. 

This means that even if they are let go, they will still have something they can use to find other jobs. Besides, most talents in the tech and startup scene will feel more inclined to work for an organization that offers them genuine opportunities for career growth. This will allow your organization to maintain a regular flow of talent in the long run.

Logan Nguyen, Co-founder, MIDSS


Negotiate a Flexible Work Arrangement

As a recruiting specialist, my best tip is to always offer some kind of flexibility with the work arrangement. Make remote working an available option and ensure there are chances to find something that works for both you and the hiring-specific candidate. 

Offer flexible hours and part-time arrangements if needed, so potential employees would feel comfortable committing without a lot of pressure. This combination of initiatives goes a long way toward creating an open, diverse environment where different perspectives are respected and valued.

Haya Subhan, General Manager, Sheffield First Aid Courses


Take Your Time

It’s important to remember that building a sustainable talent pipeline of software engineers is a long-term goal and should be approached as such. This means investing time and resources into building relationships with your target candidates, and keeping in touch with them even after they have been hired. 

You should also look to create a learning and development program that will support your software engineers and ensure they can reach their full potential. By taking these steps, you can ensure that you are building a sustainable talent pipeline of software engineers, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds in tech.

Michael Lazar, Executive, ReadyCloud


Form Partnerships With College Hiring and DEI Departments

Forming partnerships with local colleges’ hiring centers and DEI departments can be an effective way to create a talent pipeline from underrepresented backgrounds. These partnerships allow companies to connect directly with colleges and universities to recruit and onboard talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. 

The hiring centers can provide valuable information and resources to help the company identify, attract, and keep candidates from diverse communities. Working with these programs can help the company establish diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs, and aid in attracting a diverse workforce. 

These partnerships can also help companies build strong relationships with the local community and provide them with the opportunity to positively impact underrepresented groups by creating job opportunities and providing career development opportunities.

Cynthia Davies, Founder, Cindy’s New Mexico 


Search in Education and Mentoring Groups

To find and source software engineers from underrepresented backgrounds continuously, consider looking for organizations that are actively working to promote and support STEM education. 

These organizations often have close ties to the local community, giving you access to potential candidates who may not have had the same access or resources to study tech subjects at school. Establish relationships with the teachers and mentors at these organizations to ensure they understand your idea of how this is a two-way relationship. 

It will then pass this message on in letter and spirit, ensuring your plan is working and strengthening your relationship for the coming years. Networking within these spaces will help create an inclusive culture while providing you with additional sources of talented engineers.

Harman Singh, Director, Cyphere


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