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Ask the Expert: How Do you Recruit Technical Talent When you Lack Technical Knowledge? 


Each month, we will tackle one of those burning questions that keeps you awake at night or causes heartburn during the day. Our team of experts will help you stay in the know. We'll cover topics like recruiting trends, legislation, workplace issues and more. You'll get information and answers to help you hire and retain top performers. 



 This month’s question is “How do you recruit and interview technical talent when you lack the technical knowledge to interview candidates?” How do you navigate and overcome this challenge? Well, today we're going to discuss some options to overcome this challenge. 

 

  • Define your job requirements: Before conducting interviews, it is extremely helpful to have a clear understanding of the technical skills needed. You’ll also want to identify the years of experience and qualifications for this role. List specific programming languages your candidates will need. Identify the tools they should have used. Include the specific frameworks they should have expertise in, and what overall domain knowledge you're looking for. 

 

  • Seek external help: Consider enlisting the help of an external technical consultant or industry expert with the necessary technical knowledge. An external consultant can help craft interview questions. They can also assist in evaluating your candidates' responses. Your goal is to ensure that you can assess the candidates' technical competency. As always, you’ll also want to make sure they are a good fit within your organization. 

 

  • Utilize technical assessments: Online technical assessments are a great way to measure candidates’ technical ability. They are better than in the past and more economical. You can use prebuilt technical assessments or customize your tests. Online platforms offer a wide range of assessments tailored to your specific technical needs. Some examples are HackerRank, Codility, and LeetCode. 

 

  • Consider partnerships: Partner with educational institutions, universities, technical schools, or coding boot camps. These partnerships allow you to tap into their technical pipelines. Often these institutions have career services offices, alumni networks, or faculty members who can help identify quality candidates. 

 

  • Remember soft skills and cultural fit: In addition to technical skills, it is a good idea to have peer reviews and behavioral interviews. Make sure to involve your non-technical team members in the interview process. These team members can help assess the candidate's cultural fit, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and teamwork. Getting input from different perspectives is valuable. 

 

  • Consider paid trials or small projects: Provide candidates with paid trials, internships, or short-term projects. Candidates can demonstrate their technical skills in a real-world setting. This allows you, the company, to assess their technical ability and performance. The paid trials also contribute to actual work tasks needed to be completed. 

 

  • Invest in internal career paths: Ongoing training and development programs for existing team members is a great strategy to build internal technical knowledge and expertise. Encourage your team members to participate in relevant courses, workshops, online courses, and certifications to enhance their understanding of technical concepts and terminology. 

 

  • Use industry networks: Leveraging industry networks and professional associations allows you to connect with potential candidates. You can also seek recommendations or referrals from trusted sources. 

 

By leveraging external resources, utilizing technical assessments, involving non-technical team members, and investing in continuous learning, small companies can effectively interview candidates for technical positions even in the absence of internal technical expertise. 

 

 



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