IT Hiring: The Art of Company Positioning

If you want to lure the best IT talent to your company, it stands to reason that you need to position your organization as a great place to work. This means creating an “employment brand” that appeals to top-shelf IT talent. The concept of “positioning” is not simply a matter of presenting a logo, slogan or a catchy ad campaign. It’s about actively demonstrating that your company is a fertile tech environment, providing challenges, rewards, growth, social conscience and career opportunity. Luckily, many of these positioning points already exist within an organization – it’s just something that many employers overlook or fail to promote actively and aggressively when seeking new talent.

The IT hiring ecosystem is becoming increasingly competitive and complex, and your corporate positioning can be the difference between landing rockstar talent and settling on marginal team members.

 

Positioning Beyond the Salary

Is your work environment unique, creative or markedly different from your competitors? Are your perks and benefits more competitive than what can be found elsewhere? Does your company actively value and practice employee growth and advancement within the organization? Do you offer exciting new work experiences with cutting or bleeding-edge technologies? While salary is king for job seekers, these types of extras can make a big difference when interviewing. Perks which enhance your offering may be easier to offer than a higher salary and candidates are more often than less, bargaining for non-financial perks. The more unique the attribute, the better it will differentiate your company from other organizations.

And while some of these attributes are policy-driven or quantifiable, others come down to simply presenting your organization in a positive and unique way. For example, some job seekers may be concerned that jumping to a small IT department from a larger one may be a risky move, but your organization may offer the candidate the ability to contribute far more individually to the team than when part of a larger group. It’s easy to overlook these subtle and unique selling points that are likely already embedded in your company, but you never know when one of these will be what seals the deal with a rockstar candidate.

 

A Company Positioning Checklist

When preparing to begin the hiring process, it helps to have a clearly-defined picture about what makes your organization a great place to work. The following suggestions can be used as a starting point for your own positioning strategy:

✓ Assess your company’s strengths as an employer, then assess how your competitors would fare by the same standards. In some cases you may have a significant advantage, or you may uncover room for actionable improvement.

✓ Be willing to back up your claims. It’s not enough to simply make statements about your company’s values and approaches. Rather, be prepared to demonstrate how your company has implemented their philosophy in the real world. Maybe you have a Facebook page dedicated to charitable causes that your company supports. Maybe you have YouTube videos of employees who have worked up the ranks in your organization. Ultimately, actions speak louder than words, and demonstrating company values can be a definite differentiator in the market.

✓ Be active within your industry on social media. Any potential employee would appreciate the peace of mind knowing that their potential employer is active within their industry, and has demonstrated a commitment to openness and thought leadership. Companies that aren’t actively participating online run the risk of being perceived as behind-the-curve, disorganized, un-established, or even disinterested.

✓ Ask someone outside the company to do an online search for your company and describe their initial impression. This can involve your website, social profiles, reviews, etc. An objective opinion of immediate perception can be an eye-opener, and can be a great way to uncover areas of improvement.

✓ Monitor what people are writing about your company on Glassdoor.com and similar websites, correct any blatant untruths, and address negative sentiments toward your company with honesty and candor.

✓ Enter your company in some of the “Best Places to Work” and industry-specific contests or recognition associations. It’s not about singing your own praises as much as it is about demonstrating an active commitment to participation, and delivering quality both internally and externally.

✓ Actively promote your involvement and participation with community organizations, causes or charities. Employees are increasingly favoring companies with a social conscience, and demonstrating your charitable side can make a true impact on candidates.

Highly-qualified IT candidates today are in a unique position to pick and choose many aspects of their career path. As much as potential employers are competing to secure the much-needed talent, ultimately candidates will gravitate toward the best overall career opportunity. You may have the most amazing organization around, but unless you actively promote your differentiators, make a clear and compelling case for your value as an employer, you could miss out on your next tech rockstar.

 

Want to Learn More?

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References

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MRI Staff. “Recruiter Sentiment Study 2013 2nd Half.” Recruiter Sentiment Study (n.d.): n. pag. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

Prokopeak, Mike. “Luring the Best Talent.” Talent Management. MediaTec Publishing Inc, 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

Sheng, Xing. “Firms Struggle to Align Compensation, Business Strategy.” Talent Management. MediaTec Publishing Inc, 6 Aug. 2014. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

“Should Companies Monitor Their Employees’ Social Media?” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 11 May 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

Sipek, Sarah. “Extravagant Perks Aren’t a Strong Talent Management Strategy.” Talent Management. MediaTec Publishing Inc, 24 July 2014. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

“Two Steps Forward One Step Back.” 2013 North American Staffing and Recruiting Trends Report (n.d.): n. pag. Bullhorn. Bullhorn Inc. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

Vangel, Mike. “Social Recruitment Delivers Results for UPS.” Talent Management. MediaTec Publishing Inc, 13 Aug. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2014.

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