By: John Hutchins, Vice President of Client Relations
If you haven’t already noticed, quality IT candidates are difficult to find. And when you do find the perfect candidate for your position, they typically have multiple offers from which to choose. When it comes to hiring IT professionals, there is no doubt about it – it is currently a candidate driven market. As a result, you may want to consider changing your approach to the interview and hiring process. Otherwise, you may be left with a bunch of unfilled positions and overworked employees.
Focus on what you really need. Now is not the time to hire based on your pie-in-the-sky wish list. Before posting your job on the website or engaging IT staffing firms, sit down with your team and do some soul searching. What do you really need this person to bring to the table? What will they be doing and how will they be doing it? What skills and experience are truly required? What skills and experience can be learned over time? Be reasonable and realistic.
Compare candidates to the job, not to each other. When you interview a candidate who, by all indications, is a good fit based on your job description – hire them! There’s no better way to lose a good candidate than by making them wait while you search for the possibility of someone better or because you need to validate your feelings by shopping around first. If you’re lucky enough to find a good match in your first candidate, don’t wait – hire them – and quit second guessing yourself.
Hire for attitude and aptitude. The most successful hiring managers I’ve worked with over the years – meaning hiring managers who hire successful employees – rank attitude and aptitude high on the list of prerequisites. Technical competency, of course, is necessary, but they’re equally interested in attitude and aptitude when making hiring decisions. Instead of holding out for the perfect Java developer with the exact skillset and 10 years of experience, they’ll hire the candidate with a good foundation, a great attitude and an ability to learn skills quickly.
Create an efficient interview process. If your interview process takes more than five business days, you will likely miss out on the best candidates. With a little persistence and scheduling magic, you won’t need to bring a candidate into the office multiple times before making a decision. Review resumes as you receive them, phone interview those candidates immediately if they look good and only make them come to your office one time before making a decision.
Avoid bottlenecks. To effectively hire in a candidate driven market, hiring must be the priority. If someone consistently slows down the process, take them out of the process. Be proactive in getting this person on-board with moving quickly and explain that when you lose a hire as a result of a bottleneck, all that time the team spent interviewing the candidate has now been wasted. You could even boil it down to a dollar figure for impact, if that helps.
Cater to the candidate’s schedule. Gone are the days when you as the employer can dictate interview times. Be prepared to be flexible, because if you really want to hire the cream of the crop, you may have to meet them after hours, near their home or closer to their current employer. Some high quality candidate even require a phone interview before they are willing to spend time meeting with you in person. Is this candidate high maintenance and arrogant, or are they that good? It’s a question you’ll need to answer when placing limits on how flexible you’re willing to be.
Perfect your sales pitch. With candidates receiving multiple offers at the same time, and maybe even a counter offer from their current employer, it’s of the utmost importance that you are prepared to sell the candidate on the opportunity. What makes your company different? Do you offer any unique perks or benefits? Why do you like working there? The best way to sell a candidate on a job offer is to find out early in the process what is most important to them. You can then tailor your offer / sales pitch around their desires and goals.
Hiring IT professionals is not the same as it was even one year ago. Times have changed and, to be successful, you’ll need to change your hiring processes as well. Rather than letting ego and tradition dominate your hiring process, recognize that the balance of power has shifted and focus on solving your problem at hand – hiring high-quality people that will benefit your company.