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3 ways to attract digital talent

June 13, 2017 | By Lisa Dare, TEKsystems Digital Content Strategist

young female sits in coffee shop on laptop

If you’re looking to craft a package that entices digital talent—meaning mobile developers, UX designers, front end developers, analytics people, web designers and other talent that spans the creative/IT divide—it helps to know what this new breed really cares about.

I recently hosted several long conversations with digital talent and recruiters to find out what digital workers care about, what frustrates them, and what they respond to in job postings. Here's what they said.

How do digital workers define flexible work?

Ask anyone if they prefer a flexible schedule, and the answer is likely yes. But dig deeper and you’ll find that "flexible work" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. To some, it’s simply the option to work remotely. But lots of digital workers don’t care if they have to come into the office every day—as long as they can do it on their own schedule. You have morning people, night people, people who want to work alternative schedules to cut down on commuting, or the people willing to work all night when it’s needed but want to cut out early on a slow day.

If you can offer flexible work, call it out in your job ads. And remember, this is a motivated lot. They like to work and they're generally more productive when they can do it on their terms.

What digital talent wants even more than a raise

The answer is simple: opportunity. What’s less simple is how they define it.

Digital professionals aren't usually looking for a predefined career path; in fact, they expect their careers to move in several directions and they enjoy the variety. What they do want to see is two things: much like your more typical IT worker, the digital crowd wants the chance to learn as many skills as possible. And they also want to see mobility within your department. Are people getting promoted? Do they have the chance to work cross-functionally? These traits are very attractive, and you should emphasize them in your job descriptions or work harder to offer them.

Get more applicants by making a small change to your job ad

One of the main frustrations for job seekers—and what’s keeping them from applying—is hiring managers’ lack of flexibility about technologies and skills. Or rather, job descriptions’ lack of flexibility.

“I don’t think employers should limit themselves so much by bucketing exact skills,” an SEO manager told me, echoing a common complaint. “If you have analytical skills, you should be able to learn new technologies and uses. It’s crazy to say if someone has only written social marketing copy, they can’t write display ads—it’s a similar mindset.”

Smart employers look at the core strengths needed for a role, and of course the type of experience that will provide helpful context, but they’re more agnostic about platforms, technologies and specific experience.

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