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Evaluating, Hiring and Retaining In-Demand Engineering Talent

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Hiring software and hardware developers is among the biggest challenges — if not the biggest challenge – for the companies who need them. With demand growing exponentially and the talent supply limited, this issue is sure to become even more critical in the future.

“The next 10 years will separate the good companies from the great, in terms of their ability to make competitive products,” predicts Thad Gruss, strategic recruiting director for Aerotek. “The stakes are so high for companies in need of this talent — hiring decisions they make today will have a long-term impact.” Because of this, he notes, “it’s never been more important for companies to maximize the way they evaluate, hire and retain this in-demand talent.”

Evaluating potential

Given the rapid-fire evolutions in technology, Gruss advises companies to shift their strategies in hiring accordingly. “In the past, hiring managers would seek out engineers with three to five years of experience in a certain niche area, for instance. Now, because the technology didn’t exist three to five years ago, hiring managers should be more focused on technical competency,” notes Gruss. “They should look for people whose experience allows them to learn new technology and expand their existing skillsets to accommodate the day-to-day technological expansion.”

For employers accustomed to hiring based strictly on experience, this shift can represent a roadblock.

Hiring priorities shift

This new paradigm often means that hiring companies need additional support and resources to manage the increased challenges of finding and recruiting this scarce talent. The most effective companies employ a proactive strategy in acquiring talent, he notes.

This can consist of a number of tactics:

  • Know the market value of prospective candidates
  • Bring a strong candidate onboard even if there’s no specific position open, knowing there will be a need
  • If you’re looking for a hard-to-fill niche specialty, fill that position internally with someone working in a skillset that’s easier to backfill

Retention takes on new importance

“It’s a different dynamic than we’ve seen in the past,” Gruss explains. “Companies who rely on software and hardware development talent are not just competing with local or regional employers – they’re competing nationwide and across industries. Skills such as C++ or Java are very transferable.”

“It’s more important than ever for companies to value their employees and provide a satisfying work experience, or see them leave for an employer that does. It’s putting corporate culture at the forefront. You want to make sure your employee value proposition is helping you attract and retain candidates rather than limiting your talent pool,” Gruss concludes.

Want to know more about evaluating, hiring and retaining engineering talent? Contact Aerotek now.