09/24/2012 04:51 pm ET Updated Nov 24, 2012

The Secret to Finding and Attracting Top Tech Talent in the Midst of a Shortage

Despite the high rate of unemployment in the United States -- and the continued shortage of jobs -- the technical industry is hurting for employees.

The current rate of unemployment for technology workers is around four percent, about half the overall jobless rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet a CareerBuilder study recently found that nearly one third of IT employers have openings they can't fill, and because of this shortage, 38 percent of employers say that they'll hire and train employees who have no prior experience in the technology field to fill tough-to-fill job openings.

With top technical talent in high demand, companies have to get creative in order to attract high quality candidates.

Easy to say, harder to do, right? Finding and attracting top tech talent might be easier than you think. It all boils down to a few simple points:

Traditional job postings don't attract passive candidates. Top tech talent likes to be challenged. Instead of a traditional posting, try hosting a unique event like a "Hack-a-thon" to attract passive talent. These professionals may consider working for a company that challenges and excites them. Major companies like Facebook, Yelp, and ESPN all hold company hack days, and they are often publicized on the organization's website to invite outside tech talent to participate. ESPN even featured its hacking competition on Front Row with a camera crew recording the developers, who were challenged to create new products in 36 hours. Facebook and Yahoo also sponsor university hack-a-thons, using nearby colleges and universities as a way to recruit up-and-coming tech talent.

You can also utilize niche sites like GitHub and Dribbble to research potential candidates. These sites allow job seekers to post examples of their work online and let others endorse or approve their work by "liking," "following", or sharing what they see. Measure the candidate's know-how based on how well-received their work is by their peers. My startup, RemarkableHire, helps compile this data for you in order to rank potential candidates by the skills they've actually demonstrated, not the ones they've simply listed on their resumes or online profiles.

Never underestimate the power of culture. A company's culture can be one of its most attractive features. Be sure to highlight your company's environment when recruiting new candidates. Take them out to dinner with a few of your other top employees or let them experience the culture firsthand at a company event.

Tech powerhouses like Google use social media to and share information via company Twitter Facebook, and YouTube feeds. Consider hosting a Twitter chat for potential employees and opening the chat up for questions about your company's culture and environment. You can then use a unique hashtag and post your chat on your website and social media outlets.

Additionally, for startups, nonprofits, and smaller companies, make sure to highlight your mission -- oftentimes this can help attract top candidates who want to work for a cause they believe in.

Remember that tech talent wants to make an impression. Above all, top tech talent wants to know that when they join your company, they'll be a key asset. According to Business Insider, developers want to work for companies where they can create new code and have a real and immediate impact. Knowing this, you can attract candidates by highlighting the necessary and key role your new hire will play.

Companies like GameSpot host "Best of... " contests every year and recognize superior achievements in categories like "Best Graphics, Technical." If you're a smaller company who can't afford salaries that compete with the biggest tech companies, clarifying the "what's in it for me?" question can help move past a candidate's monetary issues. Truly, top tech talent wants to do what they do best: solve problems.

The bottom line? Get creative, present a challenge, and recognize top tech achievements. With these tips in hand, you'll be on your way to hiring top talent in no time!

Is your business doing enough to attract and retain the top tech talent? What are some new ideas you can incorporate into your recruiting process?