Recruit Technology Talent with Innovative Hiring Tactics
By: Dona DeZube
IT skills are in greater demand than ever. That makes innovative hiring tactics essential to attracting tech talent. We asked successful tech companies how they’re managing to fill their IT talent pipeline.
1. Use content to recruit.
David Patterson, president of The Kineta Group, Inc., Tampa, builds his network by doing webinars targeting his candidate market.
For example, if you’re recruiting Java developers, find a Java expert and broker a deal where the expert gets a list of attendees and a chance to pitch services at the end of the call in exchange for their hosting the webinar. The key is to make the webinar informative and engaging.
If webinars don’t appeal to you, create a Facebook group or a website where you can gather a tribe of like-minded IT professionals.
“Content is a long-term strategy. If you lay the groundwork now, it greases the skids for when you do need talent. What I try to do is put out content -- other people’s content that I curate -- that’s valuable to the audience.”
“It’s done wonders in terms of my visibility. When my clients have needs in my niche, it separates me from being just another IT recruiter,” he says.
2. Engage potential employees with a unique and exciting vision.
Treff LaPlante, founder and CEO of WorkXpress and CitizenDeveloper.com, overcomes the challenge of finding IT talent in his Central Pennsylvania market by sharing his company’s vision: creating a software development language that non-technical people can use.
LaPlante tells recruits how the company has realized that vision on a small scale and how the prospective employee can help to scale it up.
“They want to believe they are working on something that will change the industry or even the world,” he says. “People want to feel like their work matters for something more than just money.”
3. Run fun events with a hook.
Internal networking events with a catchy and desirable “hook,” such as an evening with craft beers, are a good way to expose potential recruits to your environment and culture, says LaCinda Clem, executive director of permanent placement services for Robert Half Technology.
“These events have to be coordinated, fun and consistent,” she says. “You want your technology team to see the value in participating and bringing along the right people in their network.”
You can also set up user group events via Meetup. “We’ve seen some great talent come together to solve issues or work on specific projects. What’s great about these kinds of events is you have naturally curious individuals who make a hobby out of their profession, which automatically lets an employer know they’re really invested in their craft,” Clem says.
“This is more of a long-term investment where there are no guaranteed results in terms of recruitment, but the chance to find passionate professionals with a zest for learning and improving their craft is strong when they are able to bring any of these folks on board.”
4. Offer an out-of-the-box employee benefit.
Extra vacation days and deluxe coffee stations are nice incentives for employees, but providing unique benefits can make your company truly stand out.
Employees at Left™, a Canadian media and technology company, enjoy an unlimited number of paid days off to volunteer in the community. The program costs about 2.3% in lost productivity, says co-founder and CMO John Lyotier. "It’s an affordable benefit for what it brings to the team in regards to morale, differentiation, and sense of belonging.”
“With today's hires, people are looking for more than just a job,” Lyotier says. “If you involve a candidate's entire family and give them a place in which they can make a real and lasting difference, then you have something few companies can match.”
5. Look outside your normal candidate pool.
Keep your mind open to IT talent demographics that you haven’t previously tapped. Microsoft hires talent with autism, while SAP offers free training classes. If you can offer remote work, you’ll tap into a global workforce.
As you set out to develop your own recruitment strategies, keep in mind that it may take additional time to develop talent outside of your go-to pool. Yet the long-term benefits can offset any initial costs in attracting today’s high-demand, diverse IT sector.
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