It’s no secret that in Spain, there’s currently an imbalance between the supply and demand for people with technological backgrounds. It’s estimated that at this time, 350,000 positions related to new technologies are empty due to a lack of qualified professionals. Paradoxically, this is happening in a country where the unemployment rate remains higher than 18%. It’s clear that we’re currently heading in the wrong direction, and in the midst of companies’ digital transformation, this kind of selection will be increasingly important.
This situation is reflected in the serious frustration being experienced by all companies in general, and particularly those related to technology, when it comes to attracting talent and filling certain job openings. As a result, the process of selecting technology professionals entails greater difficulties and requires different recruitment methodologies. The fact is, faced with this new situation, traditional selection processes largely cease to be useful, and the methodology in place must be modified.
What are companies looking for?
Of course, all job openings in this environment have their own singularities and are greatly diverse, yet there are some highly common traits that can help us to understand the needs of current companies as well as the challenges they pose:
- The same position usually requires knowledge that is both very specific and extremely diversified in different technological areas, to the extent that such a profile might not even exist in the market.
- The contracts offered tend to be for a particular project and service, as employers usually want particular people for particular projects (app development, software programming, etc.), which are totally personalized to very specific needs. This is a double-edged sword; not offering a steady job can be problematic, but the rotation of projects, and therefore of technology professionals, can bring dynamism to the market and help locate people who match job openings.
- The importance of proficiency in English continues to grow given a lack of technologically competent professionals in our country requires us to hire foreign workers, who potential new hires would interact with on a daily basis.
- Urgency: because job openings are very often linked to specific projects, they tend to be more urgent.
Changes in selection processes
In general, it’s very difficult to find a person who meets all the necessary technological requirements in addition to other factors, such as those we’ve just examined. Changing the methodology is not enough—it’s probably necessary to expand the range of candidates in order to find the right solution.
It’s fundamental to understand that, because they are in such high demand, qualified candidates are in a rare and privileged position in which 1) they don’t tend to be proactive in their job search, as the companies are the ones searching for them, and 2) they have a greater capacity to negotiate wages and conditions. In other words, it’s a selection process in which the search is reversed.
Despite the existence of job portals and well-known recruitment sources, it’s necessary to conduct an active search. Finding candidates usually requires an in-depth analysis of the labor market and the talent available, even considering candidates that are already employed. In these cases, headhunting is undoubtedly the key to success.
Widen the search radius
It must be assumed that the shortage of these kinds of professionals cannot be remedied just by changing the method. If you can’t find the desired profile, there are two ways to expand the range of candidates: on the one hand, by focusing your efforts on searching for the right competencies. If you’re able to make a good diagnosis of the skills required of the candidate, you can assess their potential to be trained in the areas of knowledge in which they are lacking.
Here it’s necessary to point out that you should always seek to achieve maximum efficiency in these complex selection processes. During the search, you’re likely to find some people who are close to the desired profile, and who might be able to occupy the available position, but who could also be suitable for other positions in the company—something that tends to happen in tech companies, as they generally have a constant need for new employees.
On the other hand, to take a step back from the competency-based perspective, it can be a very good option to internationalize the search in order to overcome the imbalance between technology professionals and job openings. In this sense, widening the search radius and directing it toward other countries, especially those that have encouraged technological training such as Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, can deliver excellent results.
With regard to this last point, embassies tend to be an extremely helpful tool, as they offer a filtered pool of workers who are already prepared to work in our country.
The person in charge of selection
Without a doubt, a fundamental aspect that will determine the success or failure of the process will be the person in charge of selection, and their ability to understand the particularities of technological recruitment. While it’s true that they should maintain their key skills and some of the procedures used in traditional selection processes, the main differences that are demanded of them are:
- An understanding of the real needs of the company, which requires the acquisition of certain technological knowledge.
- A great analytical capacity to detect new niches of talent.
- Adaptability to the opportunities of the labor market.
- Reliance on the knowledge of the candidates themselves. When it comes to technology experts, they’re the ones who must decide whether the position truly fits their skills.
- Knowledge of and the ability to detect new tools and channels to reach technological professionals (the example of embassies illustrates this issue very well).
Put another way, if we at Montaner&A have been talking a great deal about the growing importance of skills like creativity and adaptability in a labor market that’s increasingly changeable due to digital transformation, it’s because we’re experiencing it firsthand. We know that in the coming years the demand for these new forms of talent detection will grow, and we’re committed to preparing ourselves now.