Hiring in the tech sector is like hiring in any sector: it’s about people. That can get lost sometimes in the grocery list of certifications, programming languages, and software proficiencies that you post on Craigslist. In order to find the right people to fill your open positions, you must leverage resources with which you may be unfamiliar.
We’re a tech company with a great team of diverse professionals ranging from IT and development to sales and finance. Computhink grew into the family it is today by recruiting intelligently and working together.
Work with your other departments to create a recognizable online presence for your company’s culture. Set reasonable expectations for the candidate you seek. Use your best personnel to interview and negotiate with potential hires.
You can’t have your cake…
The perfect candidate doesn’t exist. Most other departments or industries can accept entry level applicants whose technical proficiency amounts to typing and using Excel. In Information Technology, you need someone that has certifications in the relevant solutions your company uses, as well as an in-depth familiarity with core languages necessary for the field. Many of your potential candidates will have some of these qualities, but few if any will have all of them. Trying to find a candidate with every single quality you’d like is an exercise in frustration.
Make a list of everything your ideal candidate should have. Make sure to narrow any nebulous qualities down to discrete criteria. Once you have this long list (and we do mean long), get rid of the ones you don’t necessarily need. Any programs that are easy to learn can go – they can pick those skills up on the job. Anything that they won’t be interacting with on at least a monthly basis, such as server maintenance, should be struck as well. And lose the rare certifications that an applicant is simply highly unlikely to have – they’ll only draw your search out.
You should end up with a list that is about a third as long as your original. What you don’t want to get rid of are the communication and project management skills. These aspects may not come up until the interview stage, but they are vital especially in tech where experts often must work with and teach laypersons. A candidate that looks great on paper may in reality be a poor fit with the company culture or mission.
Get Recruiting and Marketing involved
If you’re head of development at your organization, and you need to hire new programmers, you know what requirements are absolutely necessary for this position. But do you know where to publish the job post? Or how much you should pay for a month’s visibility? How about the local career fairs in your town? What benefits can you offer new recruits? Which local colleges have the best computer science programs? Is social media a good place to advertise for this position? The recruiting arm of HR can answer half of these questions. Marketing will take the other half. If you need new team members, don’t just write up a description and tell your marketing manager to publish it as-is. Converse with them. Put your heads together.
Remember that list you made of hiring criteria? Now is the time to show it to an HR rep and the marketing team. They might have some unique ideas, such as taking on interns for entry level positions or advertising on a campus radio station. If they offer to “take it from here”, this isn’t a hand-off. The recruitment process is a living thing to be nurtured and curated. If the first iteration of your posting doesn’t get any nibbles, you may need to add more benefits or adjust the paragraph about company culture. Don’t over-stress about managing the campaign. Just make sure that you remain part of the process until the position is filled.
Devote time and staff to the process
That being said, finding good personnel is a priority, and you don’t need to drop everything to devote the appropriate amount of time and work to the task. Start off with an hour meeting to nail down exactly what you need, how many positions must be filled, what’s different compared to the last time you went through the recruitment process. Get HR and Marketing involved.
After the initial meeting, set up periodic fifteen-minute follow-up appointments to monitor the campaign. Make sure someone from your department is a part of the conversation. When the time comes for the candidates to be interviewed, use your most personable and social savvy people to ask the tough questions and get a feel for the applicants. Even with important deadlines coming up, recruitment should be a priority, or it will never get done. If the project lead is dragging their feet, give leadership to someone who will be working closely with the new hire. They’re more likely to put this first, ensuring a quick and painless recruitment.
Leverage company culture
Working at Google carries a certain connotation of creativity and youth. Google funnels massive piles of cash into curating that image. If you manage or work for a small to medium sized company, you don’t have piles of cash lying around. But you certainly have enough time to craft an enticing job description. Older IT professionals tend to make solid career choices and plan for their future. They’re used to an industry constantly in flux, so they seek long-term positions at companies with long histories. CS Majors fresh out of college may have some financial savvy, but they also have more energy, new ideas, and a sense of adventure. For them, company culture matters that much more. Take advantage of the thirst for a fun and exciting work environment. Highlight your office’s uniqueness and enthusiasm for change. If you want to find the right candidate for your company, you want to surprise them with how much they like the place and even feel at home there.
This process starts with the job description. Devote at least a paragraph to a company bio that emphasizes culture, as well as the team. Many entry level new hires look for a liberal environment, fun coworkers, and a more casual take on the daily grind. That doesn’t mean a lazy office, just one with less traditional rules. When folks come in for their interview, introduce them to your team members. Friendly faces and a pleasant first impression go a long way to imparting the tone and personality of the company and the office. Couple this with an interview held by a personable staff member. All of this might not guarantee that they’ll accept your offer when it comes time, but it goes a long way to establishing an open negotiation and a good rapport.
Establish a presence
The tech industry is constantly growing. Companies appear and shutter daily. Some technology-based businesses are nervous to cast out a recruitment net once they’ve become established. If potential customers or investors interpret this measure as a cluster of hirings and firings they’ll call the coroner, execs say. But your company need not fear the reaper if they have a consistent web presence.
If you run a small or emerging organization, then you may need to hire outside. A marketing advisor can show your existing employees how to set up a website, create social media pages, and bring in web traffic. If you pay an entire marketing team to manage your online presence, they can also handle job postings and recruitment activities. For larger organizations, your in-house marketing experts are the go-to resource. They’ll know the best way to navigate the tricky landscape of social media, the blogosphere, and industry-specific marketplaces. So when the time comes to replace personnel, you’ll have assets who can do the heavy lifting without causing an online fuss.
The added benefit of establishing your web presence is the network itself. With a host of social media pages, a blog, a Glassdoor page, and partnerships with other outlets, you can easily disseminate job posts rapidly. Ask your employees to repost, like, and share posts about open positions on their own social media feeds. In no time at all, you will have a nice complement of applicants trickling in from multiple sources.
The right people for the job
Technology is about what you do with it. As an IT or Development professional, you may not realize all of the recruitment assets that you have at your disposal. The key is to use them wisely, consider your options carefully, and ask for help when necessary. The right people for the job are out there, just waiting to join an organization like yours.