Recruiting A-team tech talent costs money. Rightly so! IT is no longer a support function of your business, in most cases, IT (and by default IT Project talent) is your business!
How is then that simple mistakes are robbing firms of their full potential in this area?
In every other key aspect of your business, only the best will do. The vans delivering your end product are always serviced so they don't break down and they are always clean, your reception area is a welcoming, clean and tidy space and you serve the best filter coffee not Mellow Birds (not that there's anything wrong with Mellow Birds!).
IT Project recruitment deserves the same attention. Here are ... 5 Rules For Recruiting IT Project Talent.
1) Recruiting IT Project Talent Is Not A Side Dish - It's Your Main Course
I'm paraphrasing a client here who has a 'delegate everything else' mindset when hiring.
IT, and specifically, IT Projects are increasingly at the heart of every business. Hiring the right talent to deliver this has never been more important.
The client here knows this and clears his diary out to make sure that any hiring process gets his full attention.
All too often, hiring a new team member is seen as a frustrating addition to a busy manager's 'to-do list'. The Tony Robbins quote, “Where focus goes, energy flows”, rings true here - the quality of talent you get out of a hiring process is in direct proportion to the amount of effort and attention you put into it.
Your main course - not a side dish! If work pressures don't allow appropriate focus then consider a specialist recruitment partner! Hiring IT Project talent is too important to leave to chance.
2) Don't Cut Corners
In a candidate-driven market, there is a risk that fear of losing great talent to a competitor can actually lead to a rushed, bad hire.
Often, a candidate who interviews well and has a great CV doesn't transition into the fabulous prospect that they seemed on paper. It could be that they are a poor cultural fit, or don't possess the technical skills needed; or that they lack experience with projects as complex as you one your business needs to be delivered.
Peer profiling and interviews led by subject matter experts are an excellent way of addressing the latter two banana skins. As for culture, you should approach the recruitment process with a firm idea of the type of candidate who will fit your business.
Often, peer profiling and subject matter expertise are not available (if you're hiring a project manager chances are you don't have one idling the hours away who can jump onto interviewing duties!). A good specialist IT Project recruiter should offer this as standard and when using a recruitment partner choose one that will get to know YOUR culture and what makes your opportunity unique in a busy market place.
3) Be MORE Creative With The Package You Are Offering
Every firm is now a tech firm! The digital revolution has placed IT at the centre of most businesses meaning that talent is in greater demand, across a much wider range of sectors.
Many traditional tech firms are offering traditional tech packages whereas a lot of the most eye-catching offers are coming from these new entrants to the race to hire. Whether it's out of necessity, as 'new' tech hirers have to stand out and get noticed or just that they come at hiring with a different approach and mindset (that talent is finding a breath of fresh air) is open for debate.
What is certain though is that fusty, stale packages are being rejected in favour of more exciting ones.
Just last month I heard of a traditional tech firm losing out on an IT Project Manager because another business was offering more flexible working. The work/life balance was better, so the traditional IT employer missed out where just a few years ago they’d have been the certain number one choice.
You're hiring an individual - every individual has their own set of preferences and I accept that it is impossible to know the hot button to press to attract every candidate out there. Having said that, partnering with a specialist IT recruitment partner who maintains contact with interviewed talent increases your chance of finding the ideal match.
If you need your IT Project team on-site, 9 to 5, five days a week, there's no point interviewing a candidate who'd love to do a school drop or work from home during school holidays. Specialist IT Project recruitment partners, if they're doing their job, match candidate expectations and your offer.
4) Avoid Unintended Bias
A colleague tells the story of an IT Project vacancy he applied for once having read an ad that was looking for an "IT Project Ninja". He says, "Six candidates attended a day of interviews and technical assessments, all of us were men." It wasn't just this final shortlist either, perhaps 90-95% of the candidates who had applied were also male, he was told.
Think about that. Perhaps only 5-10% of the applicants were women. Why? Could it be the use of the word "Ninja"? I mean it's a great image, it paints a picture of exactly the person you're looking for, they have stealth, efficiency, they're proficient in their art ... and ... well ... when you think of a ninja ... you're thinking about a man, aren't you? So, it seems, was almost every woman reading the ad.
Take care when writing your ad that you're not using language that excludes a massive section of your target market. Have bespoke ads crafted by subject matter experts that will spark the interest of your ideal candidate - not alienate them?
5) Don't Shoulder All The Financial Risk
I started with the line "recruiting A-team tech talent costs money" - it really does and if you don't get it right, it costs even more.
Who picks up the bill for a bad hire? You do! Both in actual costs associated with the process itself but also the hidden costs of lost productivity.
It never struck us as fair, that a firm would hire a recruiter to find the right candidate, only for it not to work out leaving the hiring firm to take the financial hit of the bad hire. Access Talent was created to address this. Our sister company, the IT Project services business Stoneseed faced it time and again, recruitment firms would forward a pile of CVs in the hope that something would stick, safe in the knowledge that they could walk away if the hire didn't work out or even better (for them) get to charge all over again to repeat the process.
It was almost rewarding failure. Not good enough!
Access Talent offers a shared risk approach. We put our money where our mouth is. We don't charge upfront and if the hire doesn't work out you stop paying - potentially not getting paid REALLY focusses your mind to get it right!
In conclusion, the best IT Project talent is in HIGH demand and, throughout the hiring process, the ball is in their court. At risk of mixing metaphors, this means you need to be creative with the cards that YOU do hold.
The chances are that, recruiting in the same way that you did five years ago, will mean you're missing out on the best talent and that you have to settle for second best. Game-changing, business strategy led IT Projects cannot make compromises like this. If your IT Projects are to deliver their full potential, perhaps it's time to rethink how you Access IT Project Talent?
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Phone: 01623 888466