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The War for Talent is Real (and why you may be losing it)

You have a unique, amazing culture. The latest emerging technologies are being utilized. Solid leadership, above average compensation and, you even have a cool office space. Why is your critical position still open?

With an IT unemployment rate below 2%, candidates have the luxury of being selective in their job search. So when you find a good candidate, how can you be their top choice and make sure they are saying “no” to someone else and not you?

Here are some key questions that will help you be competitive and hire the talent you need.

Does your company make candidates feel wanted?

The biggest reason we hear for why a candidate accepted one position over another is that the other opportunity made them feel “more wanted.” This is not simply about compensation, technology or even the position itself- it’s about ensuring every step of your interview process is designed to create a positive, personal experience where the candidate feels valued and important.

Since you probably reject more candidates than you hire, it’s also important to think about the reputation you are building in the marketplace. If it’s a phone screen, do you remove environmental distractions, demonstrate you know your candidate’s background, show the appropriate warmth, sincere interest in their skills, and provide them an opportunity to ask questions?

If it’s in-person, are you organized, on time, take notes, keep it conversational, introduce them to key people, etc.?

Candidates talk- what are they saying about you and the experience you create with them?

Have you asked your internal Recruiters to share how they present your company and the opportunity?

Your entire team should be consistent and on the same page.  This includes understanding why the position is open, the expected responsibilities, and the impact of the role. What they are not telling people may surprise you. What they are telling people may surprise you even more.

Is the interview process being explained? 

Offers are often declined due to the perception of an overly-long process. You should have an approach that makes sense for your company, but the process should be clearly defined for the candidate up front.

This will help prevent the candidate feeling frustrated from any uncertainty such as the length of the process or the number of steps involved.  You can further help set the candidate’s expectations by explaining the importance of each step and how you want to utilize those results to customize your interview questions and ensure the interview is tailored to them.

Do you know the candidate’s motivators? 

Do you assume that money, benefits, location and the job responsibilities are the things that push someone to accept an offer?  Don’t assume.  Get to know the candidate and ask!

It’s important for a candidate to see that you are genuinely interested in them as a person.  You might just learn their motivating factors are something entirely different than what you expected.

When it comes time to present an offer, ensure you share how the role will meet their objectives. And remember, a fantastic culture and amazing leadership does not replace paying market value.

Are the Recruiters perfectly clear on the technical and functional requirements, and how to properly screen for each?

How do you know for sure? Your team should understand the absolute required skills vs. the preferred ones. They should even understand how they are prioritized. This is an area where a lot of non-technical interviewers lose credibility.

Is the interviewer using your requirements checklist just to screen people out? 

Or, are they challenged to think about the business needs and consider how the candidate may still be successful in this role or solve another need? An interview should not be defensive or adversarial, forcing the burden of proof on the candidate.

Candidates want to have an honest, authentic and comfortable discussion about the opportunity and how their background may fit your organization. More than filling a position, they want to know they are being evaluated as a solution to the business as a whole.

Are you sharing the good, the bad and the ugly? 

Candidates are not expecting everything to be perfect with an opportunity. Be appropriately candid about issues or challenges of the role. If you are only sharing the positive, it may come across as disingenuous or being sold to.

Are you following up appropriately? 

If you are moving forward with a candidate, show your excitement! Call them to let them know why you think they may be a fit and remind them of the next steps. If you are passing on a candidate, you should still follow up appropriately.

Remember, they may be a great fit for a future position and you want them to have a positive experience and know they are valued beyond this one opportunity. This means if someone had a phone interview, they should receive an email. If someone met with you or your team in-person, they should receive a phone call.

Are your pipelining? 

Your team should always proactively build a solid funnel of candidates that can be considered for both immediate and future opportunities. What is your team doing to build real relationships with candidates now for future needs?

The war for talent is real. To get the staff you need, I do not recommend just “selling” candidates with high salaries and incentives.  They should see the real opportunity you have to offer and want it! Challenge yourself to improve your process and make the experience more clear, personable, and authentic for your candidate.

What other questions can you ask yourself to create a better experience for your candidate and ultimately hire the best talent for your company?

Resource: The Checklist For Zeroing In On The People You Need

Not all technologists are right for all positions. Beyond skill-set and experience, you also should consider cultural fit.

If you are thinking about hiring a software professional and are wondering how you can find someone who will work well in your organization, take a look at our checklist below.

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