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Can Free Career Coaching Help Solve The Tech-Talent Shortage?

Indeed’s new service is aimed at top tech talent and hopes to fill some of the most in-demand job openings.

Can Free Career Coaching Help Solve The Tech-Talent Shortage?
[Photo: Jetta Productions/Getty Images]

If you were to make a Venn diagram of the most promising jobs and jobs that have the biggest shortage of qualified workers, one position would definitely fall into the overlap: software engineer.

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That’s because coding has quickly surpassed other skills in importance regardless of industry sector, and a software engineer could just as easily find themselves working at Apple, a hospital, or an auto manufacturer. The demand for this talent, according to Indeed’s database of millions of resumes, shows that eight of the 10 most contacted types of resumes on its platform over the past five years have been software engineers.

Noting this burgeoning talent gap, Indeed recently launched its own startup to match companies with skilled job seekers called Indeed Prime. The way they do this is by first vetting the pool of candidates. Terence Chiu, vice president of Indeed Prime, says that the process entails coding challenges, which companies like HackerRank also use to eliminate bias against certain applicants. “This helps us discover the hidden gems,” Chiu explains, “those candidates who may not have a traditional computer science degree or big tech company experience, but have high-caliber coding skills.” While any candidate can take a coding challenge, Chiu says Indeed Prime can also assess and find candidates who have strong job experience in one of the high-demand roles and those with stellar educational credentials.

“Our team goes beyond just reviewing a job seeker’s profile and will research an individual’s background to gather additional data points that will make them more attractive to hiring companies,” he points out. Only the top 5% of candidates pass this screening and vetting process.

That elite group of job seekers get a talent consultant to coach them through interviewing and negotiating. Chiu says the talent consultants act as career coaches and are available to candidates throughout the recruiting and hiring process. Multiple consultations are typical, says Chiu, and can range from a quick 10-minute check-in after an interview to much longer conversations about how to improve their profile or highlight their individual strengths. “Regardless if it’s a role on Prime or an opportunity they found on their own, the talent consultants are there to help the job seeker find a new job,” he says.

Employers will then be able to see the top talent and schedule interviews or make an offer. That’s because as Chiu notes, transparency of salary expectations and interest in other benefits is noted by the candidates upfront.

Indeed Prime is free for job seekers, and while every company gets a free trial, they are then required to pay a monthly subscription fee for unlimited hiring on the platform. Indeed’s overall business model is cost-per-click, meaning that companies can place a job ad for free and only pay when someone clicks on that listing. With Indeed Prime’s launch, the company has moved closer to a recruiting cost per hire model, which is usually a percentage of the salary of the person placed in the job.

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Indeed, Prime has been launching city by city where there is the biggest demand for tech talent. Currently candidates and companies in Austin, London, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City are able to use the service, and additional markets will open up during this year.

Chiu says they are not able to share exact figures, but says they’ve already received “thousands of applications each week and hundreds of job seekers have found jobs on Prime.” Companies range across industries and run from Fortune 500 and well-known tech brands to smaller startups. Likewise, says Chiu, applicants come from a variety of backgrounds, from Google software engineers to career professionals just starting out.

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a business journalist writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, commerce, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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