Top 5 Tips for Recruiting IT Talent
“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy, GE
As a key player in our industry, we're keenly aware of the challenges of trying to recruit top IT talent in a tight job market. There's a lot of us swimming in the same talent pool. I haven't found the magic yet that makes easy work of hiring great people, but I have recently managed to put together some helpful tips that I rely on to produce good results.
It's important to remember that the job market, like any market, is not a static beast. It’s subject to trends, disruptions, and ups and downs like any other marketplace. You can’t manage your current candidate search with the exact same strategies you used, say, five years ago.
- Social Media is Your Friend. According to Sharon Florentine of Network World, "social media is everywhere. The technology has transformed almost every aspect of our lives—from communication and collaboration to marketing and sales to customer engagement and service." The use of social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook by recruiters isn’t new. But it has intensified recently as skilled IT talent has become tougher to find. It's important to remember that a successful social media recruiting strategy becomes a two-way conversation between the company and potential hires. The goal is to create a conversation with potential candidates, not just push content to them.
- The Resume is Not Dead. As much as the trend is driving towards more social-media-aware calling cards, like online profiles or media-rich portfolios, at the end of the day most recruiters still want, and need, a well-crafted resume. The resume may be taking a back seat to newer methods of candidate introduction, but it's still a great way to quickly determine a prospective employee's skillset and abilities, and style. And our current stable of applicant tracking systems can't yet parse a YouTube video.
- Network, Network, Network. You've developed an extensive network of contacts, and so have your employees. Use them. According to US East, HR and hiring managers recently polled by software company Jobvite ranked referrals as the leading source for new hires. Referrals produce candidates who have already been vetted to some degree and who tend to be a more desired match for organizations than unknown candidates. At Curvature we've developed a robust incentive program for employee referrals, and referrals now make up almost 40% of our hires.
- Develop Talent Pools. Pro sports teams keep tabs on players in other organizations, and smart businesses do it too. The concept is to always be recruiting. That .Net programmer may not be needed today, but we know we're going to need two or three more this year, so we're constantly creating relationships with new developers and keeping in touch with ones we've previously spoken with.
- Jump On It. You have to act fast in this game. Organizations miss out on prime candidates when their recruiting functions are slow and disorganized. Give prompt feedback to candidates on resumes and after interviews to keep them engaged, and make sure your hiring managers are in sync with your recruiting flow—their urgency to hire for the role should be echoed in the urgency of the recruiting process.
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