The current IT hiring ecosystem is a complex organism, making it necessary for hiring companies to appeal to a candidate-driven market. While salary is always a primary driver, potential employees are now looking further into the core of a company when making career decisions. These five tips can help you position your company to attract the top-tier talent it needs to succeed.
Identify what sets you apart from the competition
When you’re ready to begin repositioning your company to attract top-tier IT talent, it’s critical to take a deep look at what makes your company different from the competition. Whether it’s a mission statement that everyone works hard to accomplish or an active commitment to work-life balance, every company has something that makes it truly unique. While certain key differences may immediately jump out, you may find that it takes a little more digging to get to the heart of why employees love working at your organization.
In fact, involving your employees in this process can help evaluate your company and its corporate culture from all sides, providing unique and compelling content to be used in social media and internal communications alike. Not only can your tenured employees add valuable insight throughout the process, but your newest additions will bring unique perspectives to the table as well. Be sure to ask new hires:
- What perks and benefits other companies offered
- Whether there was anything your company offered that others did not
- Why they ultimately chose your company.
During this exploratory period, be open to the new information and ideas you receive, even if some of the feedback indicates improvements that your company should consider. Being open to all forms of feedback from new and experienced employees can not only help you identify room for improvement, but also provide insight into the thought process and experience of those currently or recently involved in the active job market.
Focus on unique company benefits and position perks
Since money won’t always be the single deciding factor for the most sought-after talent in the IT world, expand your focus on the non-financial benefits and perks you can offer. Look beyond the vacation time or insurance plans. With top-tier talent, a competitive salary and well-rounded benefits package are the minimum requirements for consideration, not the special carrot that gets their attention.
According to Connie Gentry with Select International, “a work environment with flexibility” is relatively easy to implement and provides a sense of empowerment to top-tier talent. Investigate whether the position you want to fill has any leeway with:
- Flexible schedules
- Standard hours
- Telecommuting options
Remember to also look at what your company offers as a whole. Perhaps your company has a strong partnership with certain area charities and employees regularly receive time off during their standard workweek to participate in charitable events. Maybe your company believes so strongly in promoting from within that mentors work with employees in each department to help them map out their desired career progression through the company. While each of these examples may seem insignificant in the scheme of things, when added up, they can mean the difference between landing a rockstar candidate and losing them to the competition.
Highlight organization and technological innovation
Although companies often claim to champion innovation, not every company backs this up. In fact, too many companies lose good employees because accepting the status quo on an organizational level leaves little room for the innovative ideas that can take a company to the next the level. If your company is like Google and believes in giving employees 10% of their scheduled time to pursue their own solutions to problems within the company, this is the type of dedication to innovation that can attract top-tier talent.
Of course, providing employees time to devote to their organizational or technological innovations can backfire when it’s completely unfocused. Braden Kelley recommends setting SMART goals for employee innovation projects, with SMART standing for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. When this opportunity of innovation is structured, not only can it foster a positive attitude within your organization, but also provide the fresh new ideas needed to move the company forward and provide differentiation in the marketplace.
Be a corporate culture cheerleader
Too often, hiring managers and recruiters focus solely on the position’s requirements and how a candidate’s experience fits the need. When dealing with top-tier talent, your job becomes less about vetting their experience and hard skills, and becomes much more about selling them on why working for your company is their best career move. If everyone from the CEO to the newest employee at your company works hard to maintain a truly special corporate culture, don’t be afraid to sing its praises.
In fact, your ability to articulate how an approachable corporate leadership team champions diversity by allowing employees to display their individuality through their appearance can be more meaningful to a candidate than the knowledge that they’ll get two floating personal days every year.
Even the most sought after talent in the industry has likely spent time working in a cubicle farm where layer after layer of management couldn’t be bothered to hear their innovative ideas. If your company can offer something different – a truly collaborative atmosphere that energizes creativity rather than stifling it – you definitely have something worth mentioning.
The same goes for internal learning programs your company offers that others may not. For instance, the online learning company Lynda.com offers group membership plans that businesses can easily purchase for their IT employees. Even an IT professional at the top of their field can appreciate a company so dedicated to continued personal and professional development that it’s willing to foot the bill for employees to expand their technical and business acumen.
Use technology and projects as selling points
Never underestimate how the projects your employees work on and the technologies they use regularly can become major selling points for your company. When a highly-skilled and widely sought-after candidate has the choice between working on projects on the cutting edge and working on the same type of project they’ve worked on throughout their career, the pull of the new can be powerful. Employees at this level pride themselves on their technology prowess, which is fostered by working on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. While a web UI designer may be an expert in his craft, for example, the opportunity to translate and migrate his skills to a unique mobile app project may be the differentiator between accepting or rejecting your offer.
Remember, the most highly qualified candidates may already be on the radar of your competitors, or at least capable of receiving multiple employment offers. Courting top-tier talent is all about demonstrating why your company is the right fit for their ultimate career growth, which includes all of the perks, benefits and intangibles discussed. The IT hiring ecosystem is competitive, and setting yourself apart as a truly desirable technology organization can make a huge impact on your IT hiring success.
Gentry, C. (n.d.). 3 Ways to Attract Top Talent. 3 Ways to Attract Top Talent. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://www.selectinternational.com/blog/bid/149910/3-Ways-to-Attract-Top-Talent
Ide, I. (2013, June 10). Step-by-Step Guide to Positioning Your Company to Attract Top Talent. WinterWyman. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://www.winterwyman.com/blog/step-step-guide-positioning-your-company-attract-top-talent
Kaplan, S. (2013, December 21). 6 Ways To Create A Culture Of Innovation. Co.Design. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672718/6-ways-to-create-a-culture-of-innovation
Kelley, B. (2014, September 28). Creating a Common Language of Innovation. Innovation Excellence raquo. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2014/09/28/creating-a-common-language-of-innovation/
Mayfield, M. (2011, June 8). How to Attract and Retain Today’s Best Employees. How to Attract and Retain Today’s Best Employees. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://blog.eniweb.com/wwweniwebcom/blog/bid/65190/How-to-Attract-and-Retain-Today-s-Best-Employees