On a weekly basis, I am asked about the Atlanta tech job market by colleagues, customers, and candidates alike. Particularly with all of the new trends in IoT, Machine Learning, and Advanced Analytics, folks are always surprised that my answer to “What’s Hot in the Atlanta Tech Job Market” has been consistent for several years now… Full Stack Development.

As of today, there are over 25,000 postings and ads soliciting the help of a Full Stack Development professional, and only about 3,000 active candidates in the market near Metro Atlanta. With this type of talent shortage, and a less than 1.5% unemployment rate in the field, the ability to attract senior-level developers for projects has become both paramount and more challenging. Pitfalls such as lengthy interview processes and hesitant “window-shopping” have prevented some of the most promising and best revenue-generating projects from reaching their potential, or being completed on time. Here are some guidelines to follow (and avoid!) when looking to build out your dev team.

1. The interview process – Time, and time again, this is the #1 reason why hiring managers are missing the boat on the talent they need.

Pitfalls: The interview life cycle is either too lengthy, too demanding, or unorganized. Companies with bigger budgets, prominent reputations, and more urgent needs are cutting their vetting processes short to secure the talent that YOU had in the pipeline.

What to do? For a direct hire candidate, plan for a 10-day cycle from interview request, all the way to offer, with clear concise steps and an itinerary laid out. This will help your recruiting partners avoid candidates that are too far along in the interview process elsewhere, and mitigate the risk of you extending offers to candidates that are no longer available. For a contractor developer, consider either a “Working Interview” or a one round tech screen/meet and greet, as the candidate lifecycle for contracting developers needs to be less than a 5 day cycle. In fact, Working Interviews are encouraged so much here at Lucas Group, that we offer a free 8 hour trial when our clients agree to the process.

2. Window shopping – Bringing in dozens of candidates to interview without making a decision can negatively impact your company’s brand, as well your staffing partner’s choice to send their top candidates to you.

Pitfalls: Beginning the process too far in advance before budgets are approved, being indecisive, or holding out for that unicorn that requires no ramp-up or a resume that mirrors your wish list are all issues that can prevent you from securing the talent you need when you are ready.

What to do? Clear budgets with your proper channels. Next, effectively communicate to your recruiting partner what experience can or cannot be learned on the job. This is an important step, as many frameworks and tools can be learned quickly by material from different mediums. To ensure this step, engage with the candidates you do secure, and request them to read up on what is required that they don’t currently have in their skills matrix. Finally, be open-minded in regards to what you see on a CV. Nowhere in the rules of Technical Talent Acquisition, does it state that the top 50% of developers are also the top resume writers!

3. Demand a thorough vetting process from your recruiting partner – When working with human-capital, no two situations or candidates are exactly alike. Ensure that your staffing partners are properly vetting candidates for the skills required, the salary/pay rate that secures them, and validation of their previous employment.

Pitfalls: Candidates can often embellish their skills, experience, and environments they are exposed to as they work to gain upward mobility or more pay in their career. This can easily lead to disappointment or wasted time during the interview process, or even their first week on-site!

What to do? Require your staffing partners to provide previous/current salary information as well as the expected pay to make the switch to your team, direct quotes from previous managerial references, and a specific write-up or summary around the skills that the person has. With this information at your fingertips, you’ll be more equipped to effectively select the folks you want to carry through the process. Furthermore, if you’re on the fence, consider a “contract-to-hire” model in order to take some of the pressure off of you to make the right choice the first time.

With the expectation of delivering applications on time and of the highest quality, there is enough pressure on Software Development Leaders to meet and exceed expectations without considering securing adequate talent. Don’t let an outdated, clunky interview process or any other supply chain nightmare make your job more difficult!

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome, so feel free to address any of the topics covered, and reach me at Dyoussif@lucasgroup.com should you have any urgent needs for talent.