Finding strong employees with the technical acumen you're looking for who are also cultural fits is challenging, especially when other companies are pursuing those candidates. So, what can you do to help win your target audience over?
Most managers in the Information Technology space can agree that finding strong employees with the technical acumen they need who are also cultural fits is incredibly challenging. Factoring in that at least five other companies are likely pursuing those candidates makes it even more difficult to ensure those coveted technical specialists are choosing to join your team.
So, what can you do to help win your target audience over? Identify where you’re losing candidates in the process and change those bad habits! Here is a list of the top 10 reasons we’ve seen our clients lose strong IT candidates. Strategize on how to minimize these reasons going forward in your hiring processes!
- Not enough flexibility. The world has changed over the last couple of years, and aspects like some remote work potential and flexible schedule that used to be perks pre-2020 are now non-negotiables for many job seekers. In a recent survey, our recruiters found that 90-95% of technology job seekers are not interested in jobs that require any onsite work. If you aren’t “giving the people what they want” in terms of full-time remote work potential, hybrid options, and flexible (flex) schedules, you’re not going to see the people in the first place!
- No visibility into the culture or poor/negative culture. At some point during the interview process, do you give promising candidates insight into your culture? Do you, a team member, or a member of HR give them a tour? Do you explain the characteristics of your team? Consider adding a shadowing or tour component during the process if you don’t have one. Also, think through the current “social perks” your team, group, or company offers, and determine if it’s an area where you could invest further. We’ve seen our clients make social investments via monthly socials, weekly breakfasts, setting up running clubs, annual themed parties, family-friendly events like summer BBQs, and more.
- Work is not challenging enough. It’s no surprise that top talent wants work that will be interesting and challenging. Yet, too often technical managers are so focused on the “here’s what we need” that they don’t try to add in more of the “here’s what this audience wants to do!” There are usually some things you can do to make a responsibilities matrix more appealing, so brainstorm with Team Leads on how to make the work more interesting, challenging, and rewarding.
- Non-competitive or low pay or better offers elsewhere. While compensation is rarely the most important piece of the offer for your best technology folks, it is a major turnoff when a company pays considerably less than the “going rate,” as it’s an indicator you don’t value your workforce. As a manager, you need to be in tune with market rates of the skill sets you employ and hire.
- Don’t see growth potential. What training exists? Is there a formal mentor program? Do you pay for education, certifications, conferences, etc.? Is there a progressive career path that’s communicated to them during the process? What’s the likelihood they’ll get to work with newer technologies, approaches, etc.? Be clear with communicating the training and development perks, career path, and show them the future potential of working on exciting projects/technology if there’s a slim likelihood they’d be doing that to start!
- Too many people involved in the interview process. It’s not surprising that the process timeline gets extended when too many people are involved. The most effective teams are comprised of four to six people, and any group that exceeds that amount can start to hurt the effectiveness. Keep your interview team to four to six team members and keep the process moving smoothly.
- Lengthy selection process. Time is of the essence when interviewing technology candidates, especially when you consider that strong candidates have multiple offers within days of starting the process. A concise interview process is imperative to getting those candidates on board with you! Your best candidates are usually off the market within 10 days, so aim to complete the process within five to eight days of receiving a candidate you’re interested in!
- Minimal perks and benefits. There are so many factors to evaluate and enhance in this area! How competitive is your healthcare coverage and costs? What is your 401K contribution? If you’re a public company, what does your stock offering look like? What perks do you offer, such as reimbursement around taking outside training, certification boot camps, attending conferences, sandbox environment, training licenses (i.e. MSDN, Pluralsight, Safari, etc.), gym and other discounts? Do you have a strong PTO program? Offer a flexible schedule or any telework options? Offer any facility perks such as free coffee/tea, food, games, parking, etc.? Engage your team to determine what perks they’d like and determine where you could add a couple of those!
- Over-interviewed or overall poor interview experience. It's best to avoid surprises during the interview process. Examples of things that can come as a shock to a job candidate include: not receiving any information about the hiring manager or the company ahead of time, having someone other than the hiring manager conduct the interview if they’re expecting the manager, and having interviews rescheduled last minute or rescheduled several times. These types of mistakes can kill a candidate’s interest in your company.
- Inaccurate job details or descriptions. A major candidate frustration that can stem from getting into an interview, or starting a job, is realizing that it doesn’t align at all with the initial job description. Invest 5-10+ minutes each time you open a new position to make edits to the description and requirements so it’s accurate, and then invest time stating the priorities, projects, purpose, technologies, success criteria, and other key details of the role during the interview.
Download our checklist that includes 6 bonus reasons: 16 Reasons Candidates Decline Job Offers
Contributing Authors: Darin Stevenson, Cate Murray, Chris O'Hare, and Vivek Mehta