Today’s constantly changing world makes flexibility an essential job component for today’s tech worker. With a 40 percent increase in the contingent workforce, many tech employees move on once a project is complete or shift to another team.

Because flexibility is a difficult trait to assess based on past job experience, more employers are turning to behavioral interviewing to identify and hire top tech talent .

An Over-Focus on Technical Skills Can Be a Costly Mistake

Knowing what specific technical skills a prospective employee will bring to a job is an obvious priority. However, this information alone is not enough. Interviewers must also spend some time probing for soft skills, such as resourcefulness, flexibility, strong decision-making skills, and ability to manage emotions successfully on the job.

Behavioral interviewing is a method of learning more about a tech candidate by asking why as much (or more) than asking what. For example, candidates often highlight projects they completed for a previous employer. Those experiences demonstrate skill, but they don’t help the interviewer understand the thought process and reactions displayed by the candidate during that time.

To get a view into this critical area, the interviewer should ask questions such as:

  • Why did you choose that solution?
  • What were the positive and challenging aspects of that choice?
  • How did you get others to buy into your way of doing things?
  • How did you decide what resources to use when you encountered a technological problem outside your area of expertise?

Attracting the Best Candidates Starts with an Accurate Job Description

Using a behavioral interview approach is effective only when a company attracts the right caliber of applicants. Additionally, advertising for new tech employees in the traditional manner isn’t necessarily the most effective strategy. Human resources representatives should start by identifying the non-negotiable hard and soft skills needed for the position.

It’s also important to understand what technical professionals are looking for in a new role. Many employers are surprised to learn that it goes far beyond the salary and benefits offered for the position. Working with intelligent co-workers and engaging in personally meaningful work is just as important as compensation for many up-and-coming young technology professionals.

Recruitment Has Changed

Posting an opening on a bulletin board or newspaper doesn’t attract the most qualified applicants today. Technology-based organizations that hope to remain competitive must embrace new ways of finding candidates, including:

  • Social recruiting: Posting job leads on the various social media networking sites and then following up with those who seem especially qualified can yield excellent results.
  • Passive recruiting: Sometimes the best candidate is someone who didn’t even apply for the job. Finding qualified people through LinkedIn, referrals from current employees, or even by making a better offer to someone who works for the competition can uncover people who otherwise would have never applied.
  • Research internally: Existing employees could very likely be interested a promotion. This approach also offers advantages as businesses can provide mentoring to in-house candidates to ensure they are qualified for an upcoming position.

Hiring top tech talent is increasingly competitive and requires careful planning and attention by employers. Making the wrong hire is a costly mistake that many startups and small businesses in particular simply can’t afford to make.