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How to find undervalued tech talent

Sarah K. White | May 26, 2016
There's a hiring war among companies as the tech skills gap grows wider, but you don't need only A players to develop a strong team. Instead, consider hiring undervalued recruits, and coaching them up.

"Give [employees] room to find what makes them excited. If they have a passion project that they can do alongside their current job function, let them run with it. When you give people the opportunity to innovate within a company in an area that they are passionate about, they are going to be very engaged, and come to work excited to get started," says Filev.

Find the bored workers

You don't want to have to make compromises when hiring, especially if you're a small company or a startup trying to make your way in the industry. But just because you can't land that one developer or engineer everyone in Silicon Valley is after, it doesn't mean you can't find someone as qualified. However, Filev says, the hardest part is actually identifying these undervalued players; but he says there is one good way to start sourcing these types of candidates. Filev suggests hunting outside of "major brands," meaning, don't try to recruit a star from well-known companies like Salesforce or LinkedIn. Rather, identify workers who aren't being used to their full potential at small or large businesses, or lesser-known companies. Filev specifically tries to find and reach out to workers who are tired of their roles, unhappy at their companies, or just simply bored and eager for more growth and responsibility.

"I'm shocked by how many of these people there are out there. A lot of people fall into jobs that aren't very challenging, doing work that isn't very inspiring. Monotony has a way of killing creativity, and if you add toxic management on top of that, you'll find that there are a lot of really talented people who are itching for a change in their life," says Filev.

Offer them a challenge

One reason undervalued recruits go unnoticed is because they're not being challenged in their current environments, according to Filev,. And for anyone who thrives on being pushed outside their comfort zone, boredom can be the ultimate productivity killer. These are the types of employees who want to be given a challenge, and they want to see tangible evidence of how their work affects the company or the bottom line, he says.

In one instance at Wrike, Filev says he interviewed someone for a customer success manager position. This candidate was working for a call center at a major insurance company, and he felt stifled by the environment. The employee had come up with a way to restructure teams to streamline the customer service experience and make it more efficient, but the way the company was set up, no one would listen to the ideas of a low-level worker. Out of that frustration, he turned to startups and, "he went from being a face in the crowd following a well-worn process to an innovator on our team who has implemented some successful changes," says Filev.


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