Four people wearing business casual clothes stand around a table in a white-walled room. Two of the people, both women standing on opposite sides of the table, shake hands. The other two people, a smiling man with blond hair and a beard and a dark-haired woman facing away from the camera, look on. The table holds two cups filled with pens and a couple of print-outs of pie charts. A bulletin board on the wall behind the group is covered with more print-outs of pie charts and papers covered with text.
When interviewing tech candidates, bring your existing tech employees into the interview process and open the floor for questions to and from both sides. — Getty Images/Lacheev

From Elon Musk firing half of Twitter’s workforce in November 2022 to the mass layoffs at Big Tech companies like Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google in December and January, tens of thousands of tech workers are now facing an uncertain industry. Despite the ever-present demand for tech talent, these widespread layoffs have impacted the tech field in unforeseen ways and will likely shape its future.

Here’s what small businesses need to know about the effect of these tech layoffs and how they can scoop up these newly unemployed professionals with specialized skills.

The impact of tech layoffs

The tech industry skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic while many others — like hospitality and the restaurant industry — suffered. Now that the United States is shifting back to in-person activities and toward intense inflation, the tech industry is seeing costs increasing and profits dropping. The layoffs are an attempt to offset those costs and brace for a decline.

While most employees are being integrated into smaller tech companies, they are not expected to be making as much as they used to. Some tech workers are likely to start their own companies or switch gears entirely and seek a more recession-proof career.

The full impact of the tech layoffs stands to be seen, but it is clear that they sparked a current of malcontent with tech giants like Meta and Elon Musk. Outside of the tech industry, the mass firings are expected to have little impact on the job market overall. In fact, other industries are expected to keep growing and thriving during this dip in tech.

[Read more: 5 Tech Trends Every Small Business Should Know in 2023]

Ways to recruit new tech talent

In light of tech layoffs, here’s how your company can recruit talent.

Prioritize candidate experience

To make the best impression on your prospective employees, smooth the interview process and think about what might be most important to them. During interviews, include your tech team members alongside HR and upper management so that interviewees can ask them all of their burning questions. Have quick, open communication with your interviewees and notify them the next day of your decision. You can continue prioritizing the candidates even after the interview — make sure the onboarding process is optimized so your new employees can be fully integrated within a week.

Your company can up its chances of scoring a top tech employee by offering a strong, competitive salary and generous benefits.

Allow remote work

Since you’ll be courting top tech employees, your company needs to be flexible and desirable. Allowing remote work — especially in the tech world — is a very easy way to do so. Tech employees should be able to complete all of their responsibilities remotely and may even be accustomed to doing so. Having the option for remote work is also a way for companies around the country to tap into Silicon Valley and other tech hot spots that would otherwise be untouchable. If having a fully remote employee is new ground for you, talk with the prospective employee about how to best maintain communication and accountability without being together in person.

Consider contractors vs. full-time workers

Considering the recent upheavals in the tech world, be strategic about which positions you pursue as contractors and which you pursue as full-time employees. Beyond your budget, consider your own needs: Are you envisioning a short-term project that can be completed within a contract or do you have a continuous need that requires a designated employee? Factor in what employees may prefer as well. Would they prefer to try out working with your company and experience the culture or are they looking for a more secure position?

Offer competitive salaries and benefits

Along with offering remote work, your company can up its chances of scoring a top tech employee by offering a strong, competitive salary and generous benefits. While these should be offered to all of your employees, they are especially important for employees who were laid off from huge corporations. Tech itself is a high-stress field with a huge turnover rate, so vacation time and a competitive salary can help your new tech employees prioritize rest, improving their work and longevity overall.

[Read more: Talent Recruiters' Insider Tips for Finding Talent in a Tough Hiring Market]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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