November 16, 2021
December 7, 2021

How do You Recruit For A Tech Role Without Tech Experience?

Lewis Mc Cahill

As a recruiter, there are often times when you are going to be hiring for a job that you have zero experience in. This is also a common problem for startups and early-stage companies. In the early days, it’s important to understand your desired roles and who you really need to hire. 

For example, an app development company is certainly going to need software developers, but what coding language will they need to be proficient in? How many do you need? Should there be an Android and Apple team, or is this information relevant further down the line? 

These are questions faced by thousands of founders, business owners and event recruiters, and it’s often not easy to find the answer to it. Luckily for you, we’re about to. 

If you’re feeling lost in the hiring process and unsure of how or who to hire for your next technical role, here are the steps to take. 

1. Define the Task and Role 

Defining what the job actually is is a step that a lot of people miss. Startups are malleable, their situation changes all the time. It may seem like you need a certain position. In fact, you may only need one for a short period before your next stage of growth. Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Am I creating a long-term investment for a short-term problem? 
  • Could this problem be solved by a freelancer or temporary contract? 
  • Is this really something my company needs right now? 

With these questions, you can often weed out the unnecessary roles from those that are more vital. Then you can start the process of defining exactly what it is that this new hire will do. 

It’s easy to say “I need a programmer” for your startup. But if you go out into the world looking for a “programmer” with no other set goals or needs, you will never find anyone worthwhile. 

A helpful way of looking at your business is by imagining it as a building project. Who will build the foundation? Who’s in charge of permits? Do I really need this extension? 

Then, you can look at your product or service and decide who you need for your company to succeed. 

Finally, add a timeline to see when these hires need to be made, and then try to make them at least six months before you need them. 

2. Define Your Ignorance

It’s okay if you don’t know who you should hire. What’s important is how you deal with what you don’t know. There are plenty of resources out there to help you hire, so don’t be afraid to look externally for assistance in recruiting efficiently. 

We have created plenty of resources for early-stage hiring. From our remote hiring playbook to our weekly blog posts, there’s plenty here to get you started on getting up to speed. 

Along with your research, take the time to figure out what you don’t know

Let’s say you need to develop a part of your website, is it frontend or backend design that you need help with? Are there other tasks or roles that this hire can help you with? Find out what your company actually needs to survive and then thrive, then go from there. 

We mentioned this before, but it’s always best to start from the top down. Your Head of Engineering should be the linchpin of your engineering process, influencing who and how you hire for the foreseeable future. Make a priority list for yourself of who your truly influential positions are. As soon as you know what’s most important, the rest of your roles will take form.

3. Ask For Help

You may already have enough people in your company to help you interview and hire for a technical role, but it’s also a good option to look to your peers to find the expert you need to ensure your candidates know their stuff. Don’t be afraid to ask an ex-colleague or an experienced friend to sit in on an interview to help you make the right choice.  

It may also seem like an option to go it alone and hire with a sceptical eye, but this can be a dangerous approach. The large majority of developer roles require a skills test. Let’s say you create a skills test in the relevant language with the use of an outside website. A hopeful candidate gets 99% on the test. Great, right? Not exactly. 

You as a non-expert may not know what the answers and knowledge provided actually mean. You may not even be testing them on the right expertise in the first place. It helps to have someone in the know that can put your mind at ease throughout the hiring process. 

How to Hire When You Don’t Know How to Hire 

Founders regularly tell us that hiring is the most fundamental part of their growth process. Without key hires, you can’t make key decisions, and your company can’t grow.

In the end, your company will be made up of the people you recruit, so you need to know how to hire the right people. 

At ACELR8, this is what we do best. We use our experience, connections, and community to help you hire effectively and efficiently. 

I talked with Annie Li, one of our Talent Partners, and she gave me some great advice: 

“To be honest, being able to pick up on new roles is the most important skill of a recruiter in my opinion. In our career, we will always need to hire for new roles as the organisation grows and as technology advances. We could be kicking off machine learning engineer roles today, VR designer roles tomorrow, metaverse manager roles the next day…

When recruiting for a tech role without tech experience, one should put on the researcher and investigator hat, find out what this role needs to do, what the relationship between this role and the other functions in the company is, what the typical career paths of this role look like, what might this person enjoy doing and not enjoy doing in their job, etc.

This research can be done without any tech experience. Simply research on Google, read blog posts, watch YouTube videos, join those communities and see what people are discussing, interview those who already work in those roles.”

Due diligence is everything when it comes to finding the best fit for your open role. That’s what makes our hiring process so effective. 

We are not a conventional contingency or agency service. Instead, we embed ourselves within your company for 6 to 12 months, allowing us to truly understand what hires you need and when. 

Then, our expert Talent Partners work to find the ideally-suited talent for your team. 

This way, you don’t need to worry about finding the right tech candidate for a role you have no experience in. Instead, ACELR8 will find them for you, and faster. 

Additionally, for those key hires, we also provide an Executive Recruitment service, taking the time to find the right Unicorn to take hold of your most important department. 

Just looking for advice for your own recruitment process? 

We also have plenty of: 

But if you want the full experience of our hiring knowledge, reach out to us today to learn more about our Academy Program. 

Thank you!

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