I know, I know of course they don’t, we all know that unicorns are a mythical creation from mythology and fantasy. Why then do we so often forget this when it comes to hiring technologists?

I have been recruiting software engineers for the past 14 years, recently re-joining Salt to run our permanent technology offering across Software, Data and Infrastructure engineering.

So far 2018 has been busy. The markets are as buoyant as ever with companies across every sector needing talented heads for their expanding teams. Startups, SME’s and large corporates all vying for the brightest and smartest engineers available.

Easy right? Write a job spec with the stack required, reach out to agencies to brief them and watch the CVs roll in.

The industry has certainly changed since I started recruiting C++ developers back in 2004 into finance and fintech. Back then candidates didn’t have the choice they do in todays markets and interview processes have evolved to identify if someone is truly the real deal through extensive technical testing, pair programming and white board sessions. This is fair enough. Its important for up and coming businesses with limited resource and headcount to ensure that they are hiring the perfect profiles that will give them the most “bang for their buck”.

In addition to higher standards required we have also seen a sharp rise in salary expectations. Permanent candidates have seen demand for their skill sets surge and a buoyant contract market has seen many “permies” flip into freelance thus making the fight for permanent talent as competitive as it has ever been.

Candidates and client’s expectations have fallen out of kilter with clients expecting more experience than budgets necessarily allow for.

The rise of the “full stack engineer” with strong backend complimented with front end stacks has become the must have addition to any engineering team. The most in demand technologies such as Python, Golang, Scala, Java8, Kotlin, Node.js, Angular and REACT, AWS, Docker ETC ETC, are on countless wishlists.

Which brings us to the present. Hiring managers with empty seats and headcount ready to be filled looking for a Unicorn with every element of their stack as well as cultural fit wrapped up in a bow and ready for work.

And so, interview after interview candidates who look so promising on paper, and sail through initial telephone interviews fall down at the technical testing stage

Most common reason? Lacking knowledge around areas of the required tech stack

We are facing a challenging time in the fight for talent. New innovative and disruptive startups are popping up on a weekly basis. This is a candidates market and companies are fighting tooth and nail to stand out from the crowd to attract their unicorns.

So how can we fill those empty seats?

In my next post Unicorns don't exist part 2 I will give my 5 top tips to get those empty seats filled