By Bala Ganesh – Chief Technology Officer, Staks

In today’s hiring market, finding top talent is no easy feat. And finding top tech talent? Even trickier.

What makes tech such a tough hiring scene? For starters, there’s an increased demand for the cost-saving efficiencies attached to advanced technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data. From finance to banking to manufacturing and beyond, companies of all sizes are looking for the right people to activate the benefits of these technologies for their organizations. And for newer technology companies, there’s the added pressure of winning out over tech giants in the battle for top talent—minus the massive budget for resources.

More and more, companies are turning to contract workers to fill the holes across different workforce needs. According to Robert Half, 71% of companies are increasing hiring for contract positions. They’re also relying on remote collaboration technologies to widen the search pool globally. If you’re planning to develop a new technology product but don’t have a blank check to recruit developers, here are some tips for finding (and winning over) the talent you need to meet your dev goals in a tight market.

Get crystal clear on product requirements
Under ideal circumstances, you would hire a product manager or architect to handle product requirements. But if you’re a startup trying to stay lean, you can save on budget and also make sure you hire for the right skills by establishing this foundation yourself. The key is to make sure you can communicate a deep understanding of your product and everything it will take to create it before you start hiring. When developing the Staks apps, we handled these requirements ourselves, collapsing the work of architect, designer, UI/UX and more into one job function.

Hire for talent, not soft skills
Once you know exactly what you’re going to build and what you need to build it, you can hire for those specific skills when searching for developers. From there, consider hiring candidates who demonstrate talent in those areas but may lack experience working with software companies.

Instead of battling it out for the 10-year veteran candidate, you want to find someone who has the core coding skills, then plan to supplement the gaps in their experience with added project management. A 10-year veteran developer, for example, will not only do the coding you need but also anticipate roadblocks and resolve them without asking. Someone with one to two years of experience can deliver on the coding, but you’ll need to check in regularly to make sure they’re staying on the right track. A welcome trade in terms of dollars saved.

Test first
If you’re going to lead with talent rather than experience, it’s a good idea to test for the skills you need before hiring. Have candidates complete a sample project to determine their coding capabilities and make sure they’re talented at programming. They may not possess a ton of industry experience, but they have to be great when it comes to computing skills to ensure a top-notch outcome that meets all of your requirements.

Work with a partner
Before you can follow these tips, you need to actually source candidates. Working with a partner can simplify the process and help you find the talent you need that much faster. We partnered with LD Talent, who helped us vet developers according to our needs. They even handled the testing component so we could quickly identify best-fit candidates who would be available to collaborate with us.To succeed in the startup world, it’s critical to stay lean and protect your budget without sacrificing on quality or user experience. It’s a tough market out there in terms of talent, but with the right approach, you can find the right resources to meet your needs.

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