Recruiting: The Game Has Changed -- Have You Changed With It?

An outdated approach to hiring can mean losing out on in-demand IT candidates.

In my travels I continue to hear from IT leaders who say they find it challenging to find the IT professionals they need. I frequently hear stories about how hard it is to find qualified IT candidates and when they do, losing them in an outdated hiring process.

When IT pros make the decision to open up their job search, companies are moving fast and shrinking their recruiting timeline to create the urgency necessary to make the hire. The hiring process has changed and successful hiring managers can no longer rely on past hiring best practices -- those approaches no longer work in the current business climate where many IT disciplines have unemployment of 2 percent or less.

Here are four tips to consider to improve the success of your hiring process and get the IT professionals you need:

  1. Speed up the hiring process: Look for opportunities to shrink the steps and associated timeline to successfully move a candidate through your interview process. Think “TNT,” or today not tomorrow. Create the urgency to move faster than you might historically. If you travel, consider phone interviews to keep the process moving vs. waiting for a few days until you're back in town. If there are multiple parties who have to be included in the interview process, see if they can conduct a group interview or if you can create back-to-back interviews to shrink the steps in the process. Bottom line: find ways to move faster!
  2. Don’t wait on the resume: Many times top candidates who are starting to put feelers out in the marketplace don’t have an updated resume. I know you will eventually want to see an employment history, but don’t let the lack of a resume bog you down. If they appear to have the technical skills and they seem to know their stuff in an initial conversation, keep the process moving along. Rigidity can cost you on this point, and you can get their full employment history and verify their technical chops further along in the interview process. While you're asking them to build a resume and send it to you, your competition is interviewing them and creating real engagement with the candidate.
  3. Lead with a strong offer: I heard this story just the other day from one of our teams: A company made a weak offer out of the gate knowing that they would negotiate up. The problem was while they put a weak offer on the table, another company put a great offer on the table and secured the employee. There was no back and forth negotiating with the first company -- they lost out and the candidate told us specifically they chose the second company because they demonstrated how much they wanted him by making him an “offer he couldn’t refuse.”
  4. Don’t stop when the offer is accepted: If your new hire has to work a notice period (typically two weeks), keep the lines of communication open. Don’t give them an opportunity to accept a counteroffer from their current employer, or take a competing offer from another firm during this time period. Send a new hire notes and e-mails with exciting news on your company, department or new product to keep them motivated to join you. Take them to lunch to discuss the new role and reiterate how excited you are for them to join your team. Invite them to a company function to meet future team members. These are critical steps to move the process from offer accepted to job started.

The recruiting game has certainly changed as it relates to hiring your future employees. As managers, we must change with it and be aware that to compete, we must change as well.

I hope that you found these four tips on the hiring process helpful. Please feel free to share your tips as well in our feedback section.

Thank you!