Ten Ways to Attract Quality IT Candidates and Win the Talent War
By Andrew C. Jackson
The war for talent is nothing new for IT leaders, but it has grown in intensity with no end in sight. As the economy continues to expand, tech pros with in-demand skills are not just in short supply, they can afford to be choosy, which stresses existing staff and can limit your ability to achieve business goals.
What can an IT manager do? Increased competition for talent requires employers to try new strategies, change old habits and think outside the box. Here are 10 ideas to help you attract more candidates and fill IT roles more quickly.
- Train existing team members in new skills. Do you have motivated employees who are eager to learn or have transferrable skills? Harnessing the potential of your current staff by retraining and reassigning or combining tasks can reduce hiring needs while improving retention.
- Partner with universities. Universities with computer science schools are continuously seeking partnerships with businesses who can provide internships and employment for their graduates. You can build relationships with current students, many of whom will have real-world experience by the time they graduate. For our Dallas clients, the University of North Texas and University of Texas at Dallas are great places to start.
- Offer remote work. Allowing employees to work remotely will not just widen your pool of candidates, it will help you keep current staff. For anyone who is resisting the work-from-home (WFH) model, rest assured your employees are already getting WFH offers from other employers.
- Offer flexible work hours. As a result of the pandemic, more workers are juggling childcare and elder care responsibilities. Allowing flexible hours, whether an employee works in an office or remotely, can help you attract skilled, hard-working candidates who can’t work a strict 9 to 5 schedule.
- Streamline the recruiting process and beware of the supposed “efficiency” of applicant tracking systems. Make sure your ATS isn’t screening out candidates who lack a specific skill set but may have transferrable skills. If your recruiting process involves lengthy paperwork, multiple interviews and waiting for management approvals, you are alienating A-team talent. Streamline your recruiting process to as short a time as possible between first interview and offer letter.
- Revamp job descriptions. Today’s candidates need to be motivated to send you their resume. Be specific about the opportunity you offer, then present the details such as qualifications. Remove unimportant qualifiers and don’t get caught building potentially irrelevant barriers such as mandating industry-specific experience. For tips on writing a job description that sells: https://bestpractices.clearcompany.com/job-descriptions-that-sell/index.html
- Articulate your value proposition. Candidates who get excited about being on your team are more likely to accept your offer. Tell them about your culture and mission, talk about some of the great projects they might be associated with, discuss opportunities for advancement and introduce them to your best employees. Testimonials work – how about scheduling a 15-minute virtual coffee break with a current team member who can chat with the candidate about your culture and work environment?
- Remove unconscious bias. Some hiring managers take a too-narrow view of who would qualify for a role. Some recruiters think it’s their job to reject half of the applicants they see. The best new hire will ask questions and offer a fresh perspective, so a good reminder is to keep an open mind when reviewing candidates.
- Look for work ethic and motivation. Someone who is persistent and learns quickly can usually make up for a lack of experience or specific training. Soft skills can be as important as technical skills. Don’t dismiss a great candidate who lacks a technical skill that can be taught.
- Partner with the right IT staffing firm. This may sound like shameless self-promotion, but there are real differences between IT staffing companies. Because IT staffing is all we have done for over 25 years, we have the expertise to reduce your time to fill for IT roles, even in these challenging times.
If you’d like to receive more information about how we can help you recruit and retain quality IT professionals, contact Robyn Jordan, Sales Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972.419.1617.