How job seekers and hiring managers can thrive in today’s job market

Vaco - tech job market

Recently, Vaco’s Nashville office held a roundtable discussion featuring established technology professionals in Music City. Hosted by Taylor Desseyn, the open-forum discussion shed light on several important hiring/recruiting topics in the tech space.


Since the start of the pandemic, many high-profile tech companies have moved away from Silicon Valley to either expand or establish new headquarters in different cities throughout the country. Hewlett Packard, Oracle, Amazon, and Digital Reality are just a few of the companies that are branching out to cities like Nashville, Austin, and Houston.

As a result, the job markets in these cities are incredibly active and teeming with talent, especially in the tech sector. At a time when there are a number of desirable tech and IT jobs, as well as available talent to fill those roles, how can both job seekers and hiring managers put themselves in the best positions to capitalize?

This topic generated a fantastic discussion during a recent Vaco Nashville roundtable, where a panel of experienced IT leaders shared their insight and experiences surrounding current hiring trends in the tech industry.

If you are currently looking for a tech job, or are a hiring manager looking for IT talent, read on for advice on how to reap the benefits of a hot job market.

1. Be prepared

Job Seekers: Make sure you’re prepared before you start applying for jobs. One panelist said it helps to assess and evaluate yourself as a potential candidate before you let someone else do it during a job interview. This can include having someone review your resume and cover letter, preparing a list of questions you should ask during an interview, developing solid talking points about your qualifications, etc.

“Find out before applying for jobs what you need to do to increase your chances of landing an interview and moving on to the next stage of the process. That can start with someone who will give you honest, valuable, and critical feedback about where you stand.” 

TECH ROUNDTABLE PANELIST

Read this for more job search tips from hiring experts.

Hiring Managers: Planning and preparation is key for hiring managers, too. Before you add new talent to a team, talk to some of the existing team members to learn more about existing projects, team chemistry, and other details that will help your search for the right addition to the team. According to one of the roundtable panelists:

“For hiring managers, it’s all about serving three units: the business, the customer, and the team. It’s a difficult job, but if you do a little legwork before the interview process, it’ll be easier to find candidates who mesh well with all three units.”

2. Find your niche

Job Seekers: With so many talented workers vying for jobs, one panelist noted how important it is for candidates to focus on how they can differentiate themselves from other job seekers. From including extracurricular activities on your resume to emphasizing a niche skill during a job interview, what is that one thing you can bring to a team that no one else can? 

“Every hiring manager is different, but they all seem to want to uncover unique talents and traits in candidates. Focusing on that one thing that only you bring to the table will go a long way toward cementing you as a frontrunner.”

tech roundtable panelist

Hiring Managers: Similarly to how job seekers need to hone in on that skill or trait that makes them different, hiring managers need to know what they think separates a winning candidate from the rest. In that regard, one panelist said it’s helpful for hiring managers to build a profile of their ideal candidate: What kind of background does the ideal candidate have? How do they react to pressure? How do they perform in a team environment?

“From a hiring manager perspective, you have to do your homework. Do an assessment to really understand where the gaps are on your team and what exactly you’re truly looking for. You need to know what that niche aspect is that you’re currently lacking before you begin the interview process. Since the market is hot and the hiring process is moving quickly, you need to know that one thing that’s really critical to your team. That way, when you find that person, you can pull the trigger and hire them.” 

3. Nurture your network

Job Seekers: While it’s true that you should update your LinkedIn profile before starting your job search, using LinkedIn regularly has benefits aside from helping you land a job. The same holds true for networking: it isn’t just for finding new jobs. One panelist said networking helps build confidence, sharpen skills and knowledge, and can lead to opportunities that may not even be on a job seeker’s radar: 

“Networking can get you closer to landing a job. But, surrounding yourself with the right people who are going to push you in the right direction usually leads to more than just a new job. If you’re looking to get to a new place in your career, in your industry, or even in life, start networking with the people who are already there.”

Hiring Managers: Typically, job seekers find a position they’re interested in, then reach out to a hiring manager to learn more and apply. However, the process can work just as well in reverse. Rather than waiting for candidates to make the first move, one panelist suggested hiring managers should take the initiative to find great candidates in their network through hosting meetups, events, coding bootcamps, etc.  

“Look at the process through a different lens. It’s quite possible that the new team member you need is already in your network, waiting to be discovered. Leveraging your network and using the tools at your disposal to identify solid talent in an already existing pool can save a lot of time and headaches.”

TECH ROUNDTABLE PANELIST

Whether you’re a job seeker looking for your next opportunity, or a hiring manager looking for staffing assistance, Vaco is with you all the way. Our team is engrained in the business community and can provide you with the market data, salary trends, and hiring insights needed to move you forward. 

For more insight from Vaco Nashville’s tech roundtable, check out Taylor Desseyn’s other content:

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