Why convoluted hiring could hurt Australian tech companies in 2021Posted about 3 years ago by David Leadbitter

The first quarter of 2021 was, in the words of Larry David, been pretty, pretty good for the tech market in Sydney and Melbourne. In the case of Client Server Australia, sales have been reasonable and we have more roles to fill than I think we’ve ever had at any given time. Long-standing clients, who in 2020 were tightening their belts and making redundancies, are now looking to increase the size of their Tech teams – and in some cases significantly.

I think all of Australia knows how relatively lucky we’ve been in terms of how we have dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic (for now, touch wood!). When my colleagues, family and friends in the UK are in yet another lockdown, and the most we’re ‘restricted’ here in Sydney is to wearing a mask on public transport, I count myself extremely fortunate to be living here. The CBD appears to be as busy as it ever was pre-Covid: meetings, coffee catch-ups, even handshakes are par for the course again.

One of the hot topics in almost every conversation is working from home vs in the office. It seems some companies are still working this out, with some adopting a team rotation policy, some increasing the number of days in the office as each week passes – I think ultimately almost every company will adopt a model where, for the most part, you are in the office but with the flexibility to work from home when you want to – I think this was generally the case for most tech-centric businesses pre-pandemic, but now there is more of a spotlight on the subject. Certainly, candidates are more vocal in expressing their desire for remote working opportunities, flexible working arrangements etc. in their next role.

As has been the case for the past few years, supply vs demand in the Australian tech market is heavily weighted in favour of high-calibre candidates. As a result, companies are reviewing their assessment processes. Candidate and interview panel diversity is forefront in the minds of big business. A slightly concerning trend, however, is the addition of more stages – additional tests (including personality tests), presentations, recorded videos – my concern is that companies will miss out on hiring the best talent available because their interview process is too convoluted.

Now that we’re past the initial panic-stricken period where cost-cutting was the name of the game, internal recruitment teams and recruitment decision-makers seem to be realising that you really do get what you pay for. I think it’s sometimes easy for companies to forget that the experience of their recruitment partners with them, both in busy and quiet times, contributes to helping the best talent decide where their future lies. Right now, good candidates are considering multiple offers – several times a week we spend a huge amount of time helping candidates decide which company to join, invariably helping both them and our clients achieve the outcome they desired.

All signs point to 2021 being a buoyant and positive year.