With the global pandemic resulting in an increased reliance on remote working, recruiters and businesses alike are realising how important IT teams are in keeping organisations running.
Those working in IT will know how competitive finding top talent can be. And, now that the rest of the world has woken up to how much of a role IT teams can play, that competition could well become fiercer over time.
As an IT leader in a market that’s driving much of the innovation and business development right now, you have a responsibility to attract, develop and retain a swathe of talented individuals. So how do you go about attracting the right people and getting them to stick with you?
Here, we’ll answer just that, presenting you with an IT recruitment guide to help you assemble a team of adept IT professionals, as well as how to turn them into the trailblazers of tomorrow.
Kicking off your search
Know what you’re looking for
Looking for new talent means you’ve a need that requires fulfilling, so make sure you know what it is you’re looking for and why. Doing so will serve you well when it comes to creating your job descriptions, allowing you to be more precise, outlining the salient stuff, and doing away with the irrelevant information.
Highlight your strengths
The right talent will want to work for the best companies. If you’re a business with a good reputation, then the legwork in this regard has been done for you, but it’s a little tougher if you’re a smaller company or a start up.
With that said, every company has strengths and benefits they can offer to employees (and potential hires). If there’s a particular project your team is working on, then mention that the new hire will work on it at the initial stage of the recruiting process. Explain what kind of project it is and why it would be of interest to other candidates, as well as the effects it will have in and outside of the company.
Stressing such things sets you apart from your competition and shows the candidate why this might be a great opportunity for them.
Know what they want
Knowing what your candidates are looking for and clarifying how they’ll be considered is a large part of successful recruiting. Weigh up the following things when you’re planning to hire:
- Synchronicity with company goals – if they don’t feel like they’re a part of the company, candidates won’t be interested in the position.
- Salary – hiring in IT isn’t always easy. An attractive salary can play a large part in their reasons for working for you.
- Projects they’ll work on – candidates want to solve challenges, look for solutions and come up with new ways of doing things. If they feel they won’t be tested in their role, they may look elsewhere.
- High-grade equipment – can you offer the latest, most advanced hardware? If you can, then it’s a huge advantage, so be sure to stress it in the recruiting process.
- Independence – tech talents like to have a certain degree of independence; if their qualifications allow for them, they want to make decisions themselves. Does your company offer autonomy in this regard? Stress to the candidate that you do.
- Remote work opportunities – more of a certainty than it was previously. Nevertheless, some specialists say they’re more efficient working from home. When we make it out of COVID-19, will you continue to offer chances for remote working?
Refine the interview process
Right now, the interview process is a little different from normal, so why not use this time to refine things to make it smoother for both you and the candidate? Candidates are already stressed and nervous enough as it is, so aim to make things a little friendlier by doing the following:
- Inform the candidates who will be interviewing them
- Provide flexibility with the interview schedule. Everyone’s lives aren’t the same as they once were, with childcare, family and their own health to take care of. Offer them an interview window that suits them and their schedule
- If you are interviewing in person, then offer the candidate a remote interview as well, if they’re unable to make it for whatever reason
Make the talent want to come to you
One of recruitment’s most challenging aspects is creating a company image that candidates will flock to. If this is something you’ve struggled with previously, try the following tips:
- Make the job offer attractive by mentioning the strengths of both the company and the advertised position. Remember to tell them about the prospects for the candidate if they accept.
- Let your current employees help you by giving you positive feedback on their own roles, which can then inform your positioning of the company and future job opportunities.
- Let potential employees know that the company considers their needs and values, and show them how they can develop themselves and grow in this position. It’s important to let them know that they’ll receive more than just a salary.
Retaining your top talent
Hiring the right people isn’t enough. You have to ensure that their talents are nurtured in a way that helps them to grow both personally and professionally. If turnover has been an issue previously, then bolster your hires’ potential and wellbeing with the following:
Provide them with learning opportunities
Creating an environment that allows employees to learn can be inspiring and engaging. Ensure you’re investing in each employee’s development and helping them to achieve their career goals with the following:
- Provide opportunity for hands-on experience outside of their day-to-day duties
- Offer on-demand training resources that support ongoing development
- Be transparent about organisational challenges and direction; invite questions and suggestions on these issues
- Coach them with clear and constructive feedback during meetings and regular one-on-one conversations
- When planning work, ask employees to identify how they can contribute and what they want to learn
Give their work meaning
Employees who know their role’s purpose and how they contribute to the company’s goals and ethos feel more committed. The work delivered by passionate individuals creates clarity, drive and contentment in themselves and others. If their work has meaning, they’re more likely to stay with you and contribute to the company’s success.
Make sure you’re inspiring employees with vision and by articulating a clear purpose. Bonuses, stock options and raises are all well and good, but shouldn’t be solely relied on. Work that brings purpose and meaning to employees is becoming more important than a title and competitive pay cheque.
You can do this by trying some of the following:
- Give employees a degree of decision-making power
- Help them create a career path for development, and talk to them often about their career goals
- Create a community that’s supportive and challenging; a little competition is always a good motivator
- Make a link between effort and rewards by celebrating achievements and milestones
- Make time for social engagements, even if they are going to be remote right now. Remote pizza parties are better than no pizza parties at all
Create a culture that promotes value
By doing the above, it logically follows that your team culture will become one that values employee growth from within. A promote-from-within culture supports career opportunities, leads to higher engagement and retention, and keeps a potential leader pipeline with strong internal candidates.
By going the internal hire route, you’ll need a learning programme to help them develop in-demand skills. These kinds of programmes help them to gain competitive hard and soft skills, further nurturing your hires to become leaders later down the line.
Employ managers committed to growth
Leaders with technical and business skills are good, but managers who can do both of those things and also boost morale and guide others’ careers are better.
Strong managers attract candidates and drive performance, engagement, and retention, playing a massive role in achieving the business’ goals. Conversely, poor managers can be costly, putting a dent in the company coffers through repeated turnover costs.
Hiring strong managers is a good start, but ensure they stay committed with the following:
- Measuring their performance in supporting employee development by including this as an area of focus in annual reviews
- Hold quarterly check ins to ensure career conversations with their team are taking place
- Survey employees on their career conversations with their direct manager. Are they being satisfied?
- If the manager is succeeding in these regards, reward them
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