Article By John Howard, Practice Manager in Workbridge DC.
The Current Landscape
It’s no secret that the hiring landscape for software, web, and IT technologists is tough. A cursory search of newspapers from cities across the US indicate companies’ need for a variety of information technology professionals; anyone keeping up with the news is aware of the monthly BLS reports indicating the US economy has consistently added jobs, and numerous sources cite tech unemployment in the neighborhood of 3% (while the national average just dipped below 6%). The most obvious litmus test, however, is done on a day-to-day basis by software, IT, and HR managers trying to hire technologists. The reality is that the majority of resumes that find their way to the hiring manager’s inbox are never going to receive a phone call or an email, not because there are so many qualified applicants that only the best are contacted, but because of the opposite: the majority of job ad response are either grossly under- or overqualified, not local to the area or looking for remote / telecommute work, are from offshore or onshore tech consultancies promising numerous perfectly qualified candidates, or so far removed from anything the job description represents that one’s left wondering if the applicant read the description at all.
While there are number of important factors to hiring in any market condition, to keep things simple here are three key components to effective hiring.
In his recent book Zero to One, PayPal and Palantir founder Peter Thiel makes the case that hiring is one of the most important aspects to the success of any team or company, so don’t leave it up to someone else to do it for you. While this certainly isn’t an original idea, it’s a point that is often completely overlooked when it comes to staffing. It is certainly far easier to relinquish responsibility of the majority of the hiring process to HR or recruiters (internal or external) instead of taking ownership of filling your own openings, but unfortunately it’s not nearly as effective. At the same time this doesn’t mean there is not immense value in partnerships and/or delegating aspects of the hiring process to various vested personnel (members / leads of your team, HR, recruiters, managers). Ultimately however, it comes down to the hiring manager allocating time in the daily or weekly schedule for phone and in-person interviews, checking out the local Meetup and user group scene for organic networking, and generally investing his or her time and energy to get the position filled with the right person(s).
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Every manager, team, company has a process they’re comfortable with or at least use in order to determine whether or not they are going to hire candidate x. In a competitive market it’s often the process that is blamed if an applicant goes with another offer, but in fact most companies are fairly similar when it comes to determining who they’re going to hire; the issues often occur in the timing. Whether you want to see a candidate’s contribution to the tech community, have 1, 2, or 3 rounds of interviews, or any similarly structured hiring process, the important thing to remember is that if you’re interested in a particular candidate, so are anywhere from 1 – 10 other companies. What is your plan to get the candidate interested in the work and your company or team?
This goes back to the ownership piece; it’s up to the hiring manager to work with his or her tech and hiring teams in order to ensure a smooth and speedy process. Instead of waiting until the interview goes well to schedule the next round, attempt to schedule two rounds simultaneously (i.e. when you schedule the first phone call plan for the in-person interview pending a successful screen). If an important member of the process cannot be involved in the candidate’s in-person interview, have the two connect via web conference. Schedule a lunch or a coffee with an interested candidate if the process is going to be elongated for any reason. In short, one should be thinking of the next step and what may cause a successful hire not to happen.
Ultimately everyone wants to hire the same person: someone with a well-rounded tech background and who specializes in one or two areas, who communicates well and is a great team-player, doesn’t need a lot of hand-holding, is quick and inquisitive, and whose tech prowess will raise the quality of the team, all for a price that won’t break the bank or alienate any existing team members – someone like this or on the better side of the bell curve than this. Yep, that’s the one. The reality is that every company and hiring manager is looking for that person, or a lot of those persons. Understanding where you can sacrifice x or y without sacrificing the underlying quality of the hire creates a hiring advantage. Educating the other members of your team or hiring committee means everyone is on the same page and can act accordingly.
If you’ve had to hire, you know it’s rarely this simple – often it seems that a million things need to happen, fires to put out, signatures to track down, and an incredible amount of luck in order to land one good IT applicant. But if you can prioritize the things that matter most, be flexible on the others and treat hiring as your crucial responsibility to building a good team or company, you’ll create more success in hiring.
Article by Evan Gordon, Regional Director in Workbridge Philadelphia
Are you a technology manager in need of new talent to join your team? If so, the market may be a little different since the last time you hired. As someone who has been in the recruiting industry for over a decade, it is obvious when the pendulum swings from a client to a candidate’s market, and for those that have hired this year it is ever so clear; good candidates are hard to find and even harder to land. Below are a few points aimed at capturing talent in a very competitive job market.
Good candidates come on the market quick and jump off the market even quicker. The key to landing talent in this market is to condense lengthy interview processes and strike quick. The interview process from first interview to offer should wrap up in a week or 2 max, with an interview process consisting of 2, MAYBE 3 interviews. Do what you can to maximize a candidates visit and allow them to meet as many people in one shot as possible. Especially as the best candidates are typically employed, making it hard to schedule multiple rounds of interviews.
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Be Open Minded
In the search for the "perfect" candidate, it is easy to be nearsighted and miss out on hiring candidates who may not have all the skills listed on the job description, but have both drive and desire. A bright, more junior candidate will often times outshine a more experienced candidate because they have something to prove and appreciate the opportunity. Don't undervalue desire in favor of current skills.
Sell Them on Your Job
Remember, an interview is a two way street: it's a chance for the candidate to sell you on them but also a chance for you to sell the candidate on the opportunity at hand. Make sure to get them excited about the technology, projects, opportunity and the company as a whole. It is your job as a hiring manager to get candidates excited to work for you.
Give Them a Chance to Speak
One of the most underrated parts of an interview is asking the candidate if THEY have any questions for you. This is a window into how they think and an opportunity for them to ask about upcoming projects, technology initiatives and clear up any lingering questions they might have. It is also a way to test how prepared the candidate is. If they don't have any questions prepared or simply ask about benefits, work from home, perks, etc... I recommend continuing the search.
All in all, the market has picked up considerably which is great news for the economy. With that being said, capturing talent is a about supply and demand. The demand increases as business expand and hiring increases but the supply of candidates remains mostly flat. Therefore, make an effort to capture talent before your competitors do.
Article by Carole Sagliano, Practice Manager in Workbridge Boston.
‘Tis the season of searching; searching for the right gift, the right wrapping paper, the right decorations, the right recipe, I’m sure the last thing on your mind is searching for right job. But this is exactly when you should be looking and here’s why:
There is less competition. What it comes down to is that yes, it is tricky to look for a job in the holidays because there is so much going on. But you’re not the only one that feels that way, which is why most people decide to wait until the New Year to set their resolution to look for a new job. Starting now will give you the opportunity to interview and be considered for a lot more roles, since the candidate pool is smaller.
Reqs might close at the end of the year. Budgets get cut and requirements get closed quarterly, but the dates become even more relevant at the end of the year. So while some are looking into the new budgets of 2015, plenty are trying to make sure they don’t lose their headcount for this year. The word "urgent" takes on a whole new meaning.
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More opportunities to network. Let there be parties! Networking events are easy to find now thanks to meetup.com but there are even more chances to get out there during the holiday season. This can be really helpful to get the word on the street about your job hunt within your network! So get your ugly sweater out of the bottom of your drawer and get ready to mingle.
Better moods all around. No matter what you are celebrating, the end of the year is a time for reflection of the previous year and excitement about the new. This generally creates a more euphoric feeling during these last few months, so take advantage of it!
You’ll be noticed. Since there aren’t many people that are looking for a new job during this time you have even more of an opportunity to put yourself ahead of your competition. Without making it seem like you are a work-a-holic, it conveys to the interviewer that you are serious about your career and that you’ll do what it takes.
If you use the holidays to your advantage this could be the best time of year to fast-track your job search, rather than adding it to your list of New Year’s Resolutions.