“I’m also interviewing at Google,” she said like it was no big deal.
Ever been there? You’re recruiting a really niche developer and then you get the “well, I’m also talking to Google” bomb dropped on you? Fear not, friends. There is a way to compete with Google – even for machine learning and AI talent.
Let’s face the facts. The uses for AI technology and other machine learning roles are expanding in every industry. Simultaneously, companies all over the country are trying to hire qualified candidates to fill these roles. More than pretty much any company, these people are ending up at places like Google and Amazon because they’re investing $130.1 million and $227.8 million respectively into AI and machine learning hiring annually.
It doesn’t help the odds that there are fewer than 10,000 people in the world currently qualified to do “state-of-the-art” AI research and engineering. And without the same brand recognition, compensation package, and opportunities, your company may be struggling to compete with these wealthier firms. So what do you do?
The only way to ensure you’re attracting candidates is to change your recruiting strategies.
- Adapt and Optimize
One of the first things you should do is figure out what experience level you’re looking for and adapt your recruiting strategies appropriately. You have to know where to find the kind of talent you’re looking for. This will optimize your strategies. For example, candidates for junior level roles can be found at universities, hackathons, and training programs. Candidates for more senior level roles can be found through network connections, conferences, or even retraining engineers.
- Look for the Right Things
Not only should you know where to look, but you should also know what to look for. More is not more. When you’re competing in such a tight market, you need to find a candidate that can grow – not just the skills. You want to hire someone who can come up with new ways to tackle problems.
- Provide Opportunities and Advantages
Okay, so maybe you can’t exactly compete with Google and Amazon salary-wise. But you can offer candidates other opportunities and advantages. Long-term incentives are just as inviting as compensation. As long as you know what motivates talent, you’re good to go: whether it’s work environment or internal growth opportunities, let candidates know during interviews. Not everyone is meant for big companies so these could be selling points for candidates. You can lead with your company’s vision to let candidates understand what tangible impact they will be having. Evaluate what your company has to offer in multiple areas to differentiate yourself from other offers candidates might have.
- Partner Up With Universities
Because there is such a short supply of in-demand AI talent, this is an incredibly effective way to recruit machine learning talent right from the source. This can provide you (and candidates) with paid internships and post-graduate employment. You can snag candidates before they’re even on the market. With this strategy, you can develop an exciting project and pitch it to schools, articulating the benefits to students and attracting them as potential candidates. Before a bigger company can get to them, you’ve already sold them on your company instead.
- Don’t Play “Buzzword Bingo”
Buzzword bingo? What on Earth is that? If you’re looking through resumes, you may be tempted to look for certain buzzwords – you know, the words that candidates put in their resumes to grab your attention and make you think they’re qualified for the job. But when these buzzwords are all you’re looking for, you may be left with no substance beneath the “carefully chosen phrases and manicured presentations.”
- Look Towards Alternative Backgrounds
We already know that the pool of qualified candidates is small, but if you start to look at candidates with nontraditional backgrounds, that pool suddenly expands. If you only look at candidates with years of experience, your options are few to none especially when competing with Google and Amazon. Try looking towards candidates who have crossed over industries, changed roles, or demonstrated that they are connectors and integrators. These candidates have one of the most important traits: adaptive thinking. This is necessary for the future of AI as it grows. While most companies will overlook these candidates, you can invest in them and see what they have to offer.
- Adapt and Optimize
Try these strategies and see what the results are – the candidates you’re looking for are out there, you just need to be more creative with your strategies.