The Business of IT Blog

IT Recruiting: Strategy and Tips for Success

4 minute read
Muhammad Raza

Talent is the greatest resource for any organization. The prevalent lack of talent in the IT industry in recent years and the pressing need to scale business operations exponentially has created a growing skills gap. The fourth industrial revolution powered by advanced technologies in the domain of automation, Artificial Intelligence and 5G connectivity technologies are opening doors to unprecedented employment opportunities with a relatively small set of job candidates available. According to a recent World Economic Forum report, the data-driven future is set to create 756,00 jobs by the year 2020 that will remain unfilled. By the year 2022, 133 million new jobs will be created.

How can business organizations compete for talent considering the growing competition from large enterprises dedicating vast resources for talent hunt and retention? The following strategies and tips can help you identify, attract and retain skilled workforce in the technology sector:

1. Pursue Talent of Value

While most organizations consider the competition for talent acquisition as a matter of attracting the perfect candidate with great talent and skills, in reality they might well pursue an attribute that is more important: Value. It takes a skilled developer to produce apps that work well, deliver great end-user experience and functionality. However, true value may not always lie in pushing a fancy new feature out of the window faster than the competition. Instead, value may be about mitigating network performance and security issues, fixing software bugs before impacting end-users and managing an IT infrastructure that just works regardless of the demand unpredictability. Knowing where this value lies is the key to hiring great talent for the right positions. The perfect recruitment is about creating the greatest impact and value for the organization. Therefore, pick your battles accordingly.

2. Hire Game-Changers with Potential

The right talent may be hard to find, and even harder to retain. Especially for budget-strapped business organizations, the right hire shouldn’t always translate into breaking the bank. Instead of looking for the perfect talent with the right skills and experiences, look for talent potential that can be nurtured within the organization and deliver value over the long term. Upgrade young talent through the ranks, giving them an opportunity to stay with the company and deliver long-term value in return. How do you identify game changers with the right potential? Leading enterprises look for grit, courage and passion. Does the resume reflect experiences that can be seen as outliers or risky for an average applicant? That’s one indication that the candidate has the potential to indulge in game-changing and disruptive ideas for your company in the future.

3. Offer Measurable Rewards

Tangible compensation, rewards and opportunities are the key decision factors for the skilled workforce. In order to hire and retain employees, these rewards should be both distinct and real. Organizations should promise attractive rewards that set them apart from the competition. However, many organizations promise value for the long term that ends up as a losing proposition from the employee perspective. The rewards should actually measure up and reflect through the experience of the existing workforce. Employment review websites and professional social networks have made it easy for candidates to learn about job and compensation experience of existing employees. These trusted sources of information is more convincing than promised made by HR and executives. When employers make it a habit to deliver to their promises over the long-term, the reputation and brand image will eventually set them apart and gain trust from future hires accordingly. The compensation and opportunities under consideration are not always measurable financial offers. Most new candidates enter the job market with the expectations for fast career progression and impactful experiences. Creating target opportunities that help each role tailored for maximum career progress is more likely to retain talent over the long term.

4. Social Recruiting, Anchor Hiring and Acquire Hiring

Considering the fact that employees boasting rare skills are quickly scooped up by powerful employer brands offering attractive compensation and career growth opportunities, other organizations may need to expand their target horizon. Most of the possible hires may not be looking for employment or responding to your job postings. In that case, recruiters and HR must directly approach candidates with the matching skillset and give them reasons to switch jobs. Social communities including LinkedIn, Stackoverflow and GitHub, among others are good places to start.

An interesting recruitment strategy refers to Anchor Hiring, where an industry leader is hired and attracts a team of employees who have previously worked with them and have proven to deliver quality results. Startups with a focus on fast-paced growth and the investment resources to attract talent frequently follow this strategy to speed up hires and make it easier for the right team to join their organization. Another useful strategy, for organizations with readily available financial resources, is to “acquire-hire”. Acquire a company outright for its talent, operate it as a standalone subsidiary or integrate the added workforce to existing projects to boost delivery capabilities. This strategy is mostly suitable for large enterprises that need agile new teams available to fast-moving startup firms and disrupting the industry as a result.

5. Create an Employer Brand

Large enterprises are able to attract talent largely due to their brand reputation. It’s not just about free food and work-from-home perks, but the opportunities to work on complex projects with real impact spreading across a global audience. Other companies may sell their brand through their vision. For instance, SpaceX has a mission to make commercial space travel a reality, General Electric is transitioning to emerge as a leading software enterprise by the year 2020 and Starbucks uniquely represents its 330,000 employees as “partners”. Some of the common themes among organizations successful at attracting and retaining employees include opportunities to create impact based on personal interest; a feeling of company ownership and reward; and an employee-centric environment.

While this list is not exhaustive, these best practices can be used to position your organization for optimal IT talent recruitment and retention capabilities. The enterprise IT landscape is evolving readily and progressive organizations pursuing competitive strength must prepare by building a team that can emerge as the innovator, disrupter and pioneer of change. Developing the right IT recruitment strategy has to be the first step toward achieving this goal.

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

Muhammad Raza

Muhammad Raza is a Stockholm-based technology consultant working with leading startups and Fortune 500 firms on thought leadership branding projects across DevOps, Cloud, Security and IoT.