Many IT leaders and businesses struggle with implementing new and effective ways of recruiting top talent to their teams. This is not due to a lack of trying, but rather the constantly evolving nature of recruitment methods themselves. As our industry grows and develops, so too do the means of identifying and communicating with job candidates. In order to optimize their recruitment processes, it’s important for employers in the IT industry to position themselves appropriately and take advantage of the proper resources.
Here are some simple and effective ways to enhance your recruiting process, so that your business can begin to quickly attract expert job candidates:
Strengthen Your Employer Branding
One of the most important qualities that all leading IT companies share is a strong, engaging, and consistent brand story. In other words, all top IT employers understand the value of a coherent and attractive mission statement that candidates will be able to relate to. If your company has a strong employer brand that is communicated in online copy, blog content, and emails, it will give candidates a much clearer idea of the driving goals behind the company, and how they would — if hired — fit within that larger scheme.
Develop Personal Relationships With Candidates
Finding a new job in IT is often a lonely and frustrating road to tread. With so many automated responses and impersonal application processes, it’s no wonder that job seekers often feel alienated as they search for a new position. Employers that take the time to engage in personally communicating can make a huge impression with candidates and have a much greater chance of having an applicant follow through. This doesn’t mean that you need to personally respond to every single application, but quickly and personally reaching out to candidates whose CV and experience catch your eye is sure to keep the recruitment and interview process moving forward on the right foot.
Partner With a Staffing Agency
Staffing Agencies specialize in connecting IT candidates that are on the job market with IT companies who are searching for top talent. While most in-house IT HR departments tend to (by necessity) prioritize finding talent quickly over digging deep to find the best candidates, staffing agencies have the resources, time, and personnel to commit to reaching out directly to engineers who might otherwise be overlooked. In addition to looking for candidates to fill a role, staffing agencies can also be great resources for advocating your company’s mission statement, values, and ambitions.
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When approaching the recruiting process, many hiring managers have a prepackaged set of criteria for what they are looking for from a candidate. While using some basic standards in your recruitment process is an effective way of rooting out obviously unqualified or ill-fitting candidates, a one-size-fits-all approach can result in overlooking some top talent.
A useful cognitive tool that can help hiring managers is to try to see things from the perspective of the job seeker. By understanding the thought process of job applicants, hiring managers can learn to read between the lines in job applications and catch talented candidates that would otherwise be missed through the one-size-fits-all approach to recruitment.
Here are some tips for thinking like a job seeker during the recruitment process:
Don’t Rely Too Heavily On Traditional Recruiting Platforms
While sites like LinkedIn and Indeed.com are vital to your employer branding strategy and getting in touch with active job seekers, there are tons of talented and more passive job seekers who do not use these traditional channels to reach out. To get connected with top talent, think like a job seeker by actually taking steps to reach out to candidates through IT Facebook groups and industry-specific sites. Even sites like Twitter and Instagram can be useful resources when searching for candidates.
Think Like a Salesman
Always keep in mind the recruitment process is a two-way street. You’re searching for CVs and candidate profiles that catch your eye, and job seekers are looking for job descriptions and company profiles that stand out. When you’re building your company profile on recruiting sites and social media, pay close attention to the details that job seekers are looking for — such as copy, color scheme, and description of company culture — that will make them pause in their search and submit an application.
Keep Things Simple, Informative and to the Point
Try to imagine yourself in the shoes of the typical job seeker. In most cases, they are perusing through and applying to a huge number of job openings, one after another, day after day. The advertisements you create for an open position should indicate that you’re aware of their current situation by being straightforward, to the point and simple to understand. Give them an idea of what they’re looking for and let them know they can expect to hear from an actual human being if they’re chosen as a good fit. A little humor never hurt, either.
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Social media is about more than just sharing memes and influencer marketing. Social platforms are where people spend a good amount of their personal and professional online time. From networking with business connections to staying in the know with friends, family, and community events; social media is a powerful connector of people. It can also be a powerful way to connect with potential new hires.
Some of the benefits of using social media in your search for talented candidates:
Good Referrals: Ask your employees to share your job postings on their personal and professional social media profiles. More than likely those talented people you hired network with lots of other talented people, possibly resulting in better-qualified candidates.
Cost-Effective recruiting: Social media is a free resource to share job listings. While ads and job postings on job boards have a cost associated with them, regular posts that are shared with your followers are free. You can maximize your reach by sharing available jobs on all of your social platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – and spread the word. Followers might pass on the opportunity to someone in the market or they may apply themselves, and someone who’s already a fan and follower of your brand might be a great fit. Small businesses often try this method, along with asking for current employee referrals, before posting to public job sites.
Maximum Exposure: Limiting your job postings to online job forums means they only get in front of people who are actively looking for work. What if you could get in front of qualified talent who might be passive candidates but are interested enough in your company or position to get in touch anyway? Social media enables your brand to get in front of more people – actively searching or not – and can help you drive more interest in your position and source more candidates.
Using social media should be part of every business’s recruitment plan. Whether it’s a primary or secondary method of sourcing talent, it can be a huge benefit in your search.
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Employees often have several deciding factors when weighing their decision about accepting a new position – salary, benefits and commute all rank pretty high on most candidate’s list of priorities. Another factor that’s rising in the ranks of important perks is flexibility. Employees are now more than ever attached to their phones and laptops outside of the office, meaning the boundaries between work and personal lives are often blurred. Having a work-life balance that supports the ability to take time off when needed or work outside the office can be seen as big benefits to potential employees.
Remote work has grown exponentially over the last decade, and more employees are expecting some work-from-home opportunities or flextime in their positions. Offering the option to work remotely either part or all the time is an attractive benefit that could draw in more candidates. This kind of flexibility is also linked to higher productivity and greater employee loyalty. Employers often think they need to have employees in the office to get the most work done or they risk employees slacking off; however, many people thrive when given autonomy, and the tools of today’s workforce mean collaboration is still possible even when teams are geographically dispersed.
Allowing remote workers also means that you grow your talent pool by removing geographic boundaries – if you allow people to work from anywhere, you won’t be limited to only the best talent in your area, but you’ll be open to the best talent from anywhere.
The beauty of the tech industry is the infrastructure and programs exist to help support a remote workforce. Help desk employees can work off-site and use technology that allows them to access a server or desktop remotely, programmers can code at home and cloud-based technology allows many employees – IT or otherwise – to manage their files and workload from places other than at a desk full time.
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The IT talent market continues to be a competitive field from which to draw candidates. There are lots of businesses with open IT positions that are vying for candidates, and many hiring managers are finding creative ways to find and recruit talent. Sometimes improving your recruiting strategy means paying attention to trends and being willing to divert from the same old things. Here are some hiring tactics to consider for your talent search in 2019.
Treat Your Company or Department Like an Employee-Facing Brand:
Brands need to market themselves as a solution to whatever problems a customer might be facing and build a reputation of excellence. Employers and hiring managers need to take the same approach with talent. Why would someone want to work for you? It’s about more than just perks and pays – candidates want to know they’re part of something bigger than themselves and the work they do matters. Use your LinkedIn platform as a way to showcase interesting projects your company has worked on, partnerships with other brands, innovative designs, and developments in progress, or awards your company or department has received.
Encourage Employee Referrals:
Chances are, if you have employees working for you, you value their work ethic, skills, and experience – and maybe they have some friends or peers who are similarly motivated or talented. Current employees can be one of your best resources for finding new talent. Encourage your employees to pass on the resumes or contact info of other qualified candidates they know; some companies incentivize this recruitment effort with contests or bonuses, but when you’ve built a great culture, most employees are happy to spread the word about the great place they work and want to help their organization continue to grow and thrive.
Recruiting isn’t just placing an ad on a job board or going to a job fair and waiting passively for candidates to stumble upon your business. You can take steps to connect with candidates and make your team a place where people are excited to come to you.
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