BWBacon’s Guide For Denver Tech Hiring In The New Normal
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 2020 and beyond.
With all the noise surrounding the pandemic, understanding how this time has impacted the Denver tech scene and hiring is essential for continued growth. 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.
Table of Contents for Denver Tech Hiring in the New Normal Guide:
Overview of Denver Tech: History, 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.
Tech Job Growth Continues In Midst Of Pandemic
After a decade of unbridled expansion, the onset of the coronavirus merely slowed Denver’s roll. According to a recent report, Colorado ranked #2 for tech job growth in August 2020. The outpouring of community support and newly forged partnerships kept many local businesses afloat.
Others found entirely new paths for revenue or expanding services to tackle issues specific to the pandemic. To learn more about the Denver tech community’s effort to uplift one another throughout this year, read more here.
Keeping Your Team Intact Despite Salary, Workplace Changes
Understanding how some businesses have avoided 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.
- Denver remains a desirable destination for tech from startups to giants. Amazon announced adding an additional 230 jobs to its Denver Tech Hub in August, continuing to increase its presence in the Denver metro area.
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 for the rest of the year and into 2021. The top three include:
- We’re seeing contract hiring rise above normal levels. Contractors can save companies time and money, and hit the ground running sooner than a full time hire.
- Election years can impact the economy in unpredictable ways. Hang onto your hats everyone, it’s going to be a circus.
- In terms of fundraising, tech startups are still making money moves with over $130 million in equity funding across 8 major deals in August.
How Does Working With A Recruiting Partner Enhance My 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 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.
The Pros and Cons of Contract versus Full-Time Hiring During The Pandemic
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 March.
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?
Why Your Organization Should Consider Adding To Your Contract Workforce
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.
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.
Best Practices For Technical Interviewing In A Virtual World
Most of us have become accustomed to virtual meetings and work from home, but finding a way 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.
How To Increase 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Make The Most Out Of Virtual Interviewing
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.
Running Background Checks And Building An Attractive Offer Package
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
- Fintech and Financial Services industries need to ensure candidates are free and clear of criminal or undesirable financial situations.
- Healthcare and Healthcare supporting industries often screen for criminal history, drug use, and other factors for peace of mind when making a hiring decision.
- 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.
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, many companies still had to make painful downsizing decisions, leaving tons of talent open and available for work.
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. 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
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
- Great onboarding covers more than just job expectations. It can embed company culture into the learning process and build trust with your new hire.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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!