How to Recruit Top IT Candidates: 5 Strategies to Implement Now

How to Recruit Top IT Candidates
Karen Groom

19 June 2020 • Estimated reading time : 6 mins

It’s undeniable—the battle for talent is a significant challenge for all recruiters. If you’re looking to hire the best IT candidates on the market, the challenge is even fiercer.

Prominent, influential organizations attract talent easily. Many companies, however, can’t always depend on the clout of their brand to bring in candidates; they must be tactical and proactive instead.

Strategic Recruiting: What does it mean?

IT recruiters and hiring managers have a significant responsibility—they are, in a way, gatekeepers. They cultivate their contacts, write job descriptions, and manage the entire application processes. They also have some control over the impressions candidates form about the company. In short, recruiters frame a company’s story to attract the right people for the job.

Effective recruiters don’t wait for talent to come to them; they’re proactive, and work to develop strategies rather than simply cast wider nets; in a sense, they often think like marketers. Strategic recruiting not only requires strategy to attract ideal talent, but also involves using tactical safeguards to filter out poor quality candidates early on.  

To win the battle for IT talent, consider devoting resources to these following tactics.  At the very least, investing in improved recruiting practices will, over time, attract and retain higher-quality candidates.

5 strategies to hire top IT candidates

Tap into an existing resource: your employees

Using your current employees to attract applicants has become a standard recruiting channel. According to this Linkedin report, many companies agree. The best hires often come from employee referrals.

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If your company does not have a referral program, consider making it an HR priority, as this popular strategy has many advantages. For example, it’s an excellent way to get attention from passive job seekers, i.e. people who are mostly satisfied with their current jobs. Personal referrals are ideal for reaching these elusive, high-quality candidates. When an employee vouches for your company to a close friend or family member, convincing them to join your team can be possible. 

Improve your advertisements

Presumably, you wouldn’t commit to watching a two-hour movie if you didn’t enjoy the trailer. Similarly, a candidate wouldn’t apply to a position with a job description that didn’t appeal to them.

In a way, a job description can be likened to an advertisement. It’s the company’s first chance to make a good impression, and more importantly, it’s the first filter. It’s an opportunity to attract candidates that are an excellent fit for the role and deter those that are unqualified. Recruiting teams should draft descriptions that appeal to the target audience using predetermined language, format, and so on. A good job description outlines the role as well as the qualifications, but it also sells the role; just like an ad sells a product. Selling a role might mean mentioning perks and benefits, showcasing the company’s commitment to teamwork and transparency, the ability to work from home, and more.

Partner up with an expert

Because qualified IT employees are in such high demand, many businesses outsource the work of finding their IT talent. At the core, third party recruiters operate in the background, continually discovering candidates, pre-screening them, and referring only the best matches. Think of them as another strategic channel. 

For the best results, turn to firms that specialize in technology recruitment. IT recruitment firms are familiar with the market, and have valuable experience, knowledge and data that can help you hire the best people. Specialized recruiters manage large banks of candidates they can refer to. Additionally, the recruitment and staffing agencies that serve the tech sector provide companies with shorter recruiting times and a more efficient process. It may sound like a passive approach, but the relationship between the agency and the company is like a partnership with plenty of give-and-take. 

Don’t forget digital recruitment solutions

If you are ramping up your hiring, the use of digital recruiting tools is crucial. Tech-powered solutions offer a significant advantage to recruiters competing for talent. 

First, these tools speed up the recruitment process. For example, automating manual tasks and minimizing redundant work for HR professionals. But the power of these recruiting tools has even more profound implications.  Many of these solutions—like an ATS (application tracking system)—help HR professionals to collect large amounts of data. These insights assist in making sharper hiring decisions, ultimately driving higher quality hires.

Take ownership of online employee reviews

Most consumers rely on public reviews to inform their purchases; “shopping” from a job is no different. To attract the best people, employers need to maintain a high score on review sites like Glassdoor. 

Even though the score is not solely in a company’s control, what candidates want to see is a company taking ownership of their page. This means monitoring employee reviews and being responsive. Candidates are looking for a high score—yes, but that’s only part of the picture. As a case in point, a Glassdoor report found that a majority of users are more likely to apply to a job if the employer manages its brand image. For example—responds to reviews, updates their profile, and shares updates on the culture and work environment. 

It’s critical to remember that strategies for recruiting IT candidates will evolve as the tech industry and as our society changes. It might be common knowledge that hiring managers, HR specialists and recruiters have advanced interpersonal skills that are honed to assess candidates for suitability, but online resources and tech solutions now play a critical role in assisting the process. The strategies for attracting IT employees today might be different tomorrow, but one thing is certain: a vast and expanding number of companies will be requiring skilled IT talent in the foreseeable future, and recruiters will be there to fill the need.

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Karen Groom

Karen Groom is the founder and CEO of Groom & Associates. Karen is recognized as a leader and a mentor in recruiting, with a deep commitment to community involvement and enhancement.