The market is competitive and, let’s face it–candidates have the upper hand right now. People know what they want and are not willing to compromise on pay, benefits, flexibility, or anything else. The good news? There’s no top-secret formula when it comes to talent acquisition. In this post, we show you how to attract the best Technology/IT talent, assess your current hiring practices and how to keep them once you have them.

Attract Top Talent

Whether you like it or not, the world of talent acquisition has changed (and for the better, if we can be honest). The methods people used to attract and hire talent years ago aren’t necessarily as effective now. It’s time to look at who you’re trying to hire and the methods used to reach them.

Download 15 Talent Acquisition Tactics for 2022

Loosen the Role Requirements

Having unrealistic expectations won’t help you attract talent. In fact, an internal report from Hewlett Packard showed that women are unlikely to apply for jobs unless they feel 100% qualified.

How do you ensure equity in hiring? Review the job qualifications for each role and determine whether they’re realistic. Are you asking for 3-5 years of experience for an entry-level role? Do you have so many items under “required qualifications” that you’re setting unrealistic expectations?

Match experience requirements to the specific role. Identify your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves,” then separate them under “required” and “preferred” qualifications sections in the job description.

Be Open to Second-Chance Hiring

Do you hesitate or straight out refuse to hire candidates with a criminal record? It might be time to retire that practice. People make mistakes. Sometimes, it’s big ones involving illegal activity. But do you really want to pass over highly qualified candidates because they had a run-in with the law?

According to the Second Chance Business Coalition, over 78 million Americans have a criminal record. Excluding people with an arrest or conviction record means you’re missing out on a giant piece of the talent pool. If you can’t eliminate criminal background checks, consider shortening the period to only capture more recent convictions.

Consider Boomerang Hiring

There are many benefits to rehiring a former employee. First, they know your company and processes, so there’s little to no onboarding needed. You also know their skill set and work ethic. Another bonus? They’ll bring loads of value to their team and your company with the skills and knowledge they gained while they were away.

Pro tip: Treating departing employees with respect increases your chances of getting them back down the road.

Expand the Talent Pool by Using Contractors & Visa Workers

Struggling with staffing shortages? Opening up roles to contractors and those with temporary work visas vastly widens your talent pool. Since you don’t have to worry about benefits and PTO, using contract and visa workers can save you money. This type of staffing also offers the flexibility of hiring short-term workers for project-specific roles.

Offer Competitive Salary & Benefits

People want to be compensated for their talents and will go elsewhere if the pay is too low. Offer competitive wages and please…please include the salary range in your job descriptions. Compensation is a huge factor for candidates. In fact, 70% of professionals want salary information included in their first communication with a recruiter. Nobody wants to waste time interviewing for a role only to find out it pays well under their desired salary.

Candidates also seek out companies offering good benefits. That means offering affordable medical/dental/vision benefits, more PTO, access to mental health/Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), and the option for remote work and/or flexible schedules.

70% of professionals want salary information included in their first communication with a recruiter.

Establish Relationships with Colleges & Universities

Colleges and universities are full of tech-savvy, soon-to-be graduates looking for a job. Engaging with students at career fairs helps strengthen your brand and gives you a competitive edge over other companies. You can also scope out candidates by connecting with university professors and offering to be a guest speaker in their class.

Revisit and Revamp Your Hiring Process

Hiring is exhausting and time-consuming. It doesn’t help that over the past year, 76% of companies experienced labor shortages or struggled to attract candidates. And with an unemployment rate of 3% among IT professionals, you’re also working with a smaller pool of available talent.

Trust us, we understand your struggles! This is where the phrase “work smarter, not harder” comes into play. Instead of burning yourself out, learn to streamline your processes and utilize all the amazing tools and resources available to hiring managers.

Leverage Talent Acquisition Tools & Software

Technology like Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) saves you the time and hassle of pouring through resumes to find candidates that best match your requirements. This software does all the hard work for you by analyzing resumes, prioritizing candidates by skills and experience, and tracking each applicant through the entire recruitment and hiring process.

One potential downside to consider is that ATS relies on keywords to sort through resumes. That means you might miss out on stellar candidates who don’t have specific terms in their resume or cover letter. So, while Artificial Intelligence (AI) software can be handy, it’s not the perfect solution.

Get Connected with a Recruiting Agency

Recruiters are literal wizards when it comes to making connections and seeking out qualified candidates. IT recruitment agencies like Pira Consulting work to gain a better understanding of your company and hiring needs. They do all the leg work when it comes to finding the right candidate for your role, saving you the time and stress of doing it yourself.

Another benefit of Information Technology recruiters? They live and breathe the IT industry, so you don’t have to worry about them sending you a front-end developer candidate for a back-end developer role.

Revisit Job Description Language

Believe it or not, certain words or phrases used in your job descriptions can actually make certain people feel excluded or less likely to apply. Check your job descriptions for specific pronouns or gender-biased language.

Pro-Tip: Remove internal lingo and cut phrases like “dominate” that exclude more quiet or introverted people–you don’t need a dominant personality to be a high performer. Words like “ninja,” “guru,” and “hacker” are also viewed as male-oriented and will attract more men than women.

Also, be clear, specific, and realistic. Mention the location and whether you offer flex schedules or remote work. Use descriptive job titles when posting on job boards, so people understand what role they’re applying for. You can always use your standard job title internally after they’re hired.

Resolve Issues in Your Hiring Process

Today’s candidates know exactly what they want in a job and company. They’re also not willing to go through 3-4 interviews and a 2+ hour technical assessment, then wait a few weeks to hear back from you. This is not only excessive but extremely frustrating for candidates. Keep interviews a reasonable length and only involve necessary people like the hiring manager and department supervisor.

The technology/IT market is highly competitive. Candidates have recruiters blowing up their inbox daily on LinkedIn and will move on to other opportunities if you draw things out. It’s time to review your technical hiring process and correct any inefficiencies that could cost you candidates.

Pro tip: Asking recent hires for honest feedback on the interview process is a good way to identify inefficiencies and make improvements.

Know What it Takes to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Attracting and hiring the right candidate is one part of the battle–the other is keeping them.
The Great Resignation was a wake-up call for a lot of employers. People know what they want and are willing to leave good companies for better opportunities.

Companies invest a lot of time, money, and resources in their people, so the last thing you want is to see them walk out the door. And even though you can’t always prevent someone from leaving, focusing on these things can help you find and retain great talent.

Be a Champion of Diversity and Inclusion

Is your company making strides towards being more diverse and inclusive? And no, placing a blanket statement about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) isn’t enough. It needs to be reflected in your hiring at all levels within the company.

A survey by Indeed found that 55% of job seekers found it very or extremely important to work at a company prioritizing DEI. Having people from diverse backgrounds also benefits your company by boosting morale and productivity, and increasing creativity and innovation among teams.

Being inclusive means diversity in culture, ethnicity, gender and gender identification, physical ability, age, ethnicity, neurodiversity, religion…you get the point. Inclusivity is about accepting everyone, not just those who fit into your existing company mold.

Offer Your Employees Referral Incentives

Employee referral programs encourage employees to recruit qualified candidates from their network. Advertise job openings regularly and show your appreciation by rewarding employees with monetary bonuses, extra PTO days, or gift cards. Also, keep these programs fair by offering incentives to all employees within each department rather than limiting them to specific groups.

Hire Lower-Level Positions

Yes, you need experienced people on your staff. But you should also be open to hiring entry-level workers with little to no professional work experience. Is it more work to interview for these positions? Sometimes. Will they need more mentoring and training? Yes, of course. But with entry-level candidates comes enthusiasm, fresh ideas, and the desire to grow within a company.

The young, inexperienced worker you hire today has the potential to become a future leader in your company. They’re eager to dive right in and start learning and want the opportunity to advance within a company. With the right mentoring, entry-level employees will become valued members of their team.

Another benefit of entry-level positions is they are easier and less expensive to fill than higher-level roles. If you’re struggling to find talent, this could be the right solution.

Pay Competitive Salaries and Promote from Within

A 2022 Pew Research Study found that 63% of U.S. workers left their jobs because of low pay and no opportunities for advancement. The lesson here? Pay your people well and provide opportunities for growth. Employees shouldn’t have to hand in their notice to prompt you to offer them a pay increase or promotion. And honestly, some people find it insulting.

Prove that you see their worth before they have one foot–or in this case, both– out the door. Have regular conversations about pay and performance and create a growth plan (and stick to it) so they see the value in staying with your company.

A 2022 Pew Research Study found that 63% of U.S. workers left their jobs because of low pay and no opportunities for advancement.

Cultivate a Good Culture

Culture is everything! And no, we aren’t talking about free snacks, beer on tap, and swanky lounges with video games and a ping pong table. Are those types of perks nice? Sure. But that alone won’t create a good company culture.

Workplace culture is about treating employees well and creating a healthy, supportive work environment. Think of work/life balance instead of burning people out, being flexible when life stuff happens, and offering them opportunities to advance within the company.

Wrapping Things Up

Phew. That was a lot, we know. But there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Talk to your hiring team and devise a plan to implement these tactics over a realistic timeline. Leverage the expertise of your fellow hiring managers to see how they approached each topic. Reach out to your network to see what is and isn’t working for them, and how they fixed the problem. And don’t forget–we’re here to help, too!

Pira Consulting’s account managers carry over a decade of IT staffing experience. We take a humanized approach to recruiting and focus on finding you the best candidates for the role. Our experts can also provide valuable feedback that helps you streamline your hiring processes.