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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.

"I think what's different is that they are people who typically haven't been challenged. It's not that they aren't smart enough, it's that they've been buried under processes that haven't allowed them to shine. When you have someone who previously couldn't have their great ideas heard, and now suddenly they have that opportunity, the level of engagement and motivation completely changes," says Filev.

Hire for 'coachability'

Filev says that many undervalued recruits are the perfect candidates for coaching. "I have always been a big advocate for hiring based on adaptability and 'coachability.' As a company grows, processes are going to change, often repeatedly in a short amount of time. You don't want someone who gets mired down in the old way of doing things and struggles to adapt," he says.

These are the types of people who have a "great foundation of skills and are across-the-board smart people," says Filev. Hiring for coachability allows you to not only leverage their skills, but adapt the employee so they will fit right into wherever you need them most in the company -- you won't be forced to pigeon-hole them into one role. These recruits also tend to do well with mentors, he says, because mentors can help them further cultivate and perfect any skills they need to gain for the task at hand.

"While some positions require deep skills and experience that takes years to build, in general I'm a believer that people can make up for some of that through smarts, motivation and a strong work ethic, especially in a mixed team that has capacity to mentor the transition," he says.

Think outside the box for recruitment

Oftentimes, these qualified, yet undervalued, workers go unrecognized because they were recruited based only on their skills, rather than what their skills could mean for the company. If you want to find undervalued workers who will thrive, you need to get creative in your recruitment process. Don't just compare their resume to the job description, instead try to interpret their skills and experience to see how they could translate to other roles within the company. "When recruiters are faced with competition for top talent, they should definitely think outside the box and look for talent with transferable skills, not just transferable experience," says Filev.

This might mean you look at a candidate who has a background in journalism and then consider their talent for "asking good questions and weaving captivating stories," he says. Those are skills that translate well and are typically valued in a marketing environment. And if it's the right person, who is passionate about the job, they'll likely jump right into learning about marketing technology from courses or books. "And if they have an analytical spark in them, you have a strong candidate for an inbound marketing role," Filev says.


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