BWBacon’s Guide For Denver Tech Hiring In The New Normal

Posted on September 24, 2020 by BWBacon. Tagged: Resources for Entrepreneurs, For Clients

Are you an entrepreneur or hiring manager looking for engineers to grow your technical team in the new normal? If so, you have come to the right place. The following guide breaks down everything you need to know about technical hiring in Denver, working with a recruiting partner, and tips for building a successful interview process in 2021 and beyond.

Understanding how this time has impacted the Denver tech scene and hiring is essential for continued growth. This page is jam-packed with all of our best resources on technical hiring, from building a killer offer package to the nitty gritty on how long tech hiring actually takes. Utilize this guide as a bouncing off point to answer questions, examine laborious processes, and address issues to accelerate finding that just-right technical hire.

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Table of Contents for Tech Hiring in the New Normal Guide:

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An Overview of Denver Tech: Growth and the Post-Pandemic Workplace

How Does Working With A Recruiting Partner Enhance My Search?

Best Practices For Technical Interviewing In A Virtual World

Running Background Checks And Building Attractive Offers

New Virtual Onboarding Ideas

Other Resources For Technical Hiring In Denver

Overview of Denver Tech: Growth and the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Denver, A Tech Rookie No Longer

We could write for ages on our love for Colorado from its purple mountain majesties to the resilient people that live here. It’s no wonder Denver has made a name for itself as a top tech city. As BWBacon has been based in Denver for the last 19 years, we have witnessed the rapidly rising popularity of our city as a national tech hub.

One eye-popping statistic shows that Denver has added 28,230 tech jobs over the last five years. This year, ranking 50 North American markets on their ability to attract tech talent, CBRE’s Tech Talent Scorecard showed Denver moving from #8 to #7, unseating Boston on the list. Experts predict Denver’s strong tech infrastructure will weather the storm of economic strain.

→ Read the full post on how Colorado compares to other tech hubs nationally...Or, check out our Get To Know Bacon infographic below:

Want all the details? Click Here for a Snapshot Of BWBacon!

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Building A Strong Team Despite Salary, Workplace Changes

Understanding how some businesses have managed to avoid layoffs means respecting the budgeting balancing act. While many companies have had to tighten their belts, there is no shortage of determined Colorado tech leaders trying to keep teams on. Some key takeaways from our research include:

  • Despite rampant lay-offs and furloughs, the tech industry has managed to skate by with less of a direct impact than other industries.
  • The Centennial State saw available tech jobs jump 36% from May to June after the stay-at-home orders transitioned into the next phase.
  • Salaries continue to fluctuate into 2021 as companies make decisions on remote work and what's to come.
  • Denver remains a desirable destination for tech from startups to giants to candidates alike due to its affordability and other benefits.
  • Amazon announced adding an additional 230 jobs to its Denver Tech Hub in August, continuing to increase its presence in the metro area.

→ Read our article on how salary changes are continuing to impact tech...

Remote Work Has Its Benefits For Denver Job Markets

Economists and tech leaders predict that for Colorado, increased remote work will only benefit our standing as an attractive place to grow a company. Regardless of working in an office or at home, it’s hard to beat the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Right now, we are all trying to answer the question, to what extent will this larger experiment in remote work change the future of business? Take a look at some of our predictions for how this era will impact our daily lives moving forward here.

As the virus continues to influence markets globally, staying up to date with local, national, and virus news can be taxing. We’ve isolated some of the important factors that will influence the Denver tech market in 2021. The top 3 include:

  1. Contract hiring is rising above normal levels. Contractors can save time and money, and hit the ground running sooner than a full time hire.
  2. In terms of fundraising, tech startups are still making money moves with over $130 million in equity funding across 8 major deals in August 2020.
  3. Localized pay and changes due to remote work will keep making waves in the tech workforce and what attracts them to new positions. Take a look at this post on localized pay and working off the grid.

How Does Working With A Recruiting Partner Enhance Your Search?

Navigating the challenges of this year is like hearing David Bowie’s tune “Changes” playing faintly over and over, somewhere off in the distance. If you are getting tired of the ch-ch-changes, you are not alone. That’s where the BWBacon team comes in. Our twenty years of experience placing top technologists throughout the Denver ecosystem and nationally gives us a unique insight into what makes CEOs, hiring managers, and candidates tick.

Utilizing a Denver recruiting partner for your hiring needs accelerates your company’s time to hire. As a partner, we act as an extension of your company’s brand. We represent you as more than an agency, and convey to our candidates the opportunities available to them if they were to work for your company. Here's the lo-down on how to make the most of your recruiting partnership!

Should You Be Hiring Contractors or Full-Time Employees?

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen tough decision making and on-the-fly virtual leadership become the quintessence of business continuity. Time-saving in the technical hiring process is just one of the reasons why we have seen an increase in contract hiring since last March. Every company is different and has different technical needs, so there are pros and cons to seeking out contractors. Additionally, understanding the legal, financial, and workflow differences between contract and full-time employees is key to avoiding fines and citations. Not sure if contractors or full-time employees are right for your organization?

→ Learn more about the difference between 1099 and W2 workers and legally defining contractors here

Based on hiring trends we’ve seen in the market, more companies are looking into contractors as a way to hire on a more temporary basis. This had benefits and downfalls, but for the most part, contractors can save companies money in terms of benefits provided, and accelerate how quickly someone can get started on your team. Others prefer short term engagements, or hiring based on needs and projects, them re-assessing at the right time. If your company has a clear understanding of what it takes to bring on contractors, there is always the opportunity for hiring that individual for the long-term if the relationship is a successful one. Lean on our resources about hiring contractors for more information.

→ Go to our full length post on adding contractors and workforce forecasting for 2021...

Need Backup With technical hiring?... Reach Out Today

Best Practices For Technical Interviewing In A Virtual World

Most of us have become accustomed to virtual meetings and work from home, but finding ways to make technical interviewing virtual is another story. Many of our clients shifted their coding test requirements, and redefined how they approached their interviewing all together. Discerning the most important aspects of technical hiring in the new normal means tracking moving targets.

Increasing Your Time To Hire Without In-Person Meetings

In our humble opinion, nailing down a solid interview process is the first step in increasing your time to hire. From laying out expectations, to creating dynamic questions, to providing interview feedback, each moving piece contributes to an overall successful and timely experience for your company and the candidate interviewing.

A few pathways for increasing your time to hire:

  1. Interview Block Days: Consider making a bigger time-block in a single day for holding multiple interviews virtually. This practice maximizes the amount of candidates you get to consider, and cuts down on scheduling headaches.
  2. Expand your candidate horizons: This idea can be translated in a few ways. Consider making your position fully remote to expand the candidate search outside of Colorado. Or, adjust the education or experience requirements for the position even slightly, then sit back and watch your candidate pool grow.
  3. Balanced Interview Teams: Avoiding unconscious bias has always been important, but remains at the forefront of fair hiring practices in 2020. Ensure teams interviewing potential new hires are not homogeneous. This also gives a broader perspective on the candidate interviewing.

→ Get the bigger picture on ways to increase your time to hire here

Make The Most Out Of Virtual Interviews

After the initial growing pains of adjusting to remote work, companies have found huge success in how their teams work outside the office. Organizations promoting work flexibility, or added support programs for mentorship or mental health saw upswings in productivity. While this is great news for the future of flexible work, not everything translates so easily online.

Interviews are one example of a meeting that does function much differently in person than online. We identified the main issues with moving interviews to a virtual space:

  • In person first impressions are very powerful. Seeing someone’s smile, body language, and overall tone can impact how interviewers feel about this individual joining their team. Playing devil’s advocate though we might ask, does screening individuals without an in-person impression curb unconscious biases?
  • Technology tools like Zoom and other video calling applications can be finicky, and distracting if not running smoothly or as expected.
  • Organizations must adapt their skill assessment tests to new formats, or challenge how in the moment assessments can work virtually.
  • Communication before an interview leads to a better experience. Prepping candidates or even providing interview questions in advance can set expectations for a good interview.

→ More on virtual interviewing from our post New Spaces, New Faces– Streamlining A Successful Virtual Interview

Running Background Checks And Building Attractive Offers

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So, you’ve made it through several rounds of interviewing. Your team has deliberated and has finally found that incredible candidate and are ready to make them an offer. Congratulations! Like summiting a peak in the Rockies, finding technical talent to join your team is something to be celebrated.

But before you break out the champagne, there are a few final steps in the hiring process that require careful consideration. The first is running a background check on your potential new hire, or deciding not to. Background checks are not right for all organizations. So what type of organizations typically do or should run one?

Organizations that Rely On Background Checks

  1. Fintech and Financial Services industries need to ensure candidates are free and clear of criminal or undesirable financial situations.
  2. Healthcare and Healthcare supporting industries often screen for criminal history, drug use, and other factors for peace of mind when making a hiring decision.
  3. Security, Information, and other organizations dealing with privacy or sensitive information of clients.

Unsure if running a background check is a necessary step for your company? Remember, if you’re working with a recruiting partner like BWBacon, we can run a background check to support the hiring process and thoroughly screen candidates. Especially today, our clients are looking to save time and money in technical hiring, so some skip this process all together.

→ Weigh all of the pros and cons of background checks in our full article here

Why A Top-Notch Offer Is Key To Being Your Candidate’s First Choice

These days, technical positions are more competitive than ever. While tech was not hit as hard as some industries in 2020, many companies still had to make painful downsizing decisions, leaving tons of talent open and available for work. A multiple of tech companies are ramping up hiring in early 2021, and the prospect of widespread vaccine distribution is still keeping the market optimistic.

However, an influx of candidates does not always mean companies get their first pick. If they are searching for work, most engineers and developers are interviewing with multiple companies at the same time. We see time and time again, a slow interview process or lackluster offer can be the reason a perfect candidate walks away. Due to the fast paced nature of technical hiring, it becomes hugely important to deliver a timely, excellent offer package.

A strong offer package or letter typically includes the following elements:

  • Salary and compensation expectations
  • Start Date and clear communication about onboarding
  • Benefits package including health care, bonuses, 401k, and more
  • Background checks and drug test information
  • Offer expiration date

→ Read our post on everything your offer needs to have in order to secure top talent

New Virtual Onboarding Ideas

If you’ve made it this far in our Guide For Denver Tech Hiring in the New Normal, you have certainly gained a deeper understanding of how technical hiring has shifted in 2020. From expanding your candidate pipeline to building a dynamite offer, each step in the technical hiring process can undergo micro adjustments to better suit a virtual environment.

The final step in hiring your newest team member is creating a streamlined onboarding process. It may require some creativity, and adaptations for deploying virtually, but it is an extremely important part of making your new hire feel prepared and excited for what’s to come.

Advantages of Building A Better Onboarding Process

  1. Great onboarding covers more than just job expectations. It can embed company culture into the learning process and build trust with your new hire. Support and growth should be an ongoing expectation, as well as how the company reflects back on its own values.
  2. Turnover is expensive, period. We’ll save you the time reading dozens of studies noting just how expensive replacing someone is. Due to this, solid onboarding should go beyond someone’s first week of work. It can extend into mentorship and recognition programs that keep employees loyal and engaged.
  3. Designing an excellent onboarding program, even virtually, reverberates into how your organization creates other opportunities for career advancement and learning. Think of onboarding as a vessel for setting up your current employees and new hires for performing their jobs successfully.

→ New ideas for virtual onboarding and employee support in 2021...

Other Resources For Technical Hiring In Denver

Recognizing the nuances of technical hiring can be the difference between a frustrating or rewarding overall process. From writing top-notch job descriptions to carefully considering executive hires, here are some additional resources for hiring teams.

Getting The Big Picture On Denver Tech Hiring

Technical hiring in Denver, and nationally, becomes more complex by the day. We are of course biased, but finding a great recruiting partner can make a huge impact when it comes to finding qualified individuals to build out your team. Dozens of growing companies across Colorado are engaging in the hiring process in new ways, and making micro or major adjustments. Ultimately, there is always room for improvement and learning when growing your team in one of the country’s most flourishing markets.

Interested  In Expanding Your Market Reach?  Connect with US!

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Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!