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Is Your Tech Stack Repelling Job Candidates?

tech stack

Your tech stack and a “this is just the way we do it” attitude may be at the heart of why you’re struggling to compete for top tech talent. Tech candidates can be hard to please regarding compensation and perks, but don’t underestimate the importance of your tech stack in the recruitment process. In fact, in a 2022 survey, Built In found that 43% of its users consider the tech stack and how that tech is used as the most important parts of a job description.

“This means professionals value these elements more than salary, perks and even remote work opportunities,” the report states. “Overall, Built In users said their skills and experience around the technical specifications of a role are what interests them most.” Front-end developers, data scientists and similar tech candidates want to know immediately whether their skills match the role they’re investigating and what kind of technology they might be building if their skills match.

Ignore these findings at your own risk: 32% of developers pull out of an interview process because they didn’t like the tech stack, “which is second only to them backing out because they got a better offer.”

We asked our tech recruiters their thoughts, and they overwhelmingly agreed with these findings.

“The importance of a company’s tech stack in attracting top-tier tech talent cannot be overstated,” Technical Recruiter Chris Bombach told us, adding that potential candidates, especially those with sought-after skills and expertise, are drawn to organizations that embrace modern, cutting-edge technologies. “Companies with outdated or incompatible tech stacks risk repelling these candidates, as the prospect of working with obsolete systems can be a major deterrent. In a field where innovation is paramount, I firmly believe that showcasing a commitment to staying at the forefront of technology through a robust and up-to-date tech stack can be a critical factor in the battle for recruitment success.”

“In my experience, most professionals want to pursue opportunities that will positively impact their long-term career goals,” says Technical Recruiting Manager Mary Catherine Price. “They don’t want to be limited to using older tools that create unnecessary challenges. They could perceive this as a risk of falling behind when they are very much aware that the skills they acquire are an investment in their career.”

What tech stacks do candidates want to see?

That list is, of course, objective. As part of its report, Built In found that the most searched-for technologies by developer candidates are C#, Java, and Python. Technical experts also consider JavaScript, Oracle, .Net, Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Scala, and Go some of the most valuable skills. 

Regardless of your exact tech stack, it’s essential to show your commitment to innovation, illustrate that the work will be challenging (in the right ways), and, quite simply, find the right match of skills and interests.

When it comes to commitment: “If technical professionals are consistently aiming to stay current with the latest technology trends, why wouldn’t companies pursue the same approach regarding their tech stack?” questions Price. “While the initial costs to modernize can be expensive, the long-term benefits outweigh those upfront costs. Many applicants I’ve spoken with have said their number one reason for looking for new opportunities is to advance their skillset – they want to move forward, not stay stagnant. Current employees would also be more likely to stay with employers where they feel they are advancing their knowledge.”

What does your tech stack say about your organization? “To gain an edge over the competition for top tech talent, companies must recognize the interconnectedness of their tech stack and recruitment success,” explains Bombach. “The tech stack is not merely a collection of tools; it’s a reflection of a company’s values, ambitions, and ability to foster an environment conducive to innovation. By embracing modern technologies and staying receptive to evolving industry trends, companies can position themselves as attractive hubs for tech professionals. Ultimately, the importance of the right tech stack, coupled with expert guidance, can transform recruitment challenges into opportunities for growth and excellence.”

Challenges that attract vs. repel: “It’s also hard to sell opportunities to candidates when an employer hasn’t upgraded to new technologies,” Price adds. “Many developers want to work with modern tools that will allow them to streamline their workflows and make problem-solving easier. Providing a better developer experience with current technologies appeals to top talent and can contribute to a competitive advantage in the job market.”

Transparency from the start is vital: “Job postings for technical roles should prioritize transparency and nuance in how they describe the importance of tech stack, skills and responsibilities necessary for the position,” Built In concludes. “Having a high degree of detail upfront works to maximize engagement early and gives technologists all the information they need to picture their day-to-day work in a position. Don’t say that a trendy technology in your tech stack is foundational to the role if it only accounts for a small percentage of the work. Otherwise, you risk wasting both your time and the technical applicant’s.”

It might be a scary leap to invest in new technology while being more deliberate about the net you cast, but those chances can pay off in better, higher-quality candidate matches. The HT Group can help you evaluate and make a plan to update your tech stack and also recruit the best tech candidates to help move your organization forward.