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Female working with an IT recruiter to help her career

Remember the human element in IT recruiting

February 11, 2014

Information technology jobs are hot right now, which means the pressure is on for IT recruiters. Companies trying to find the right talent for their needs have to stand out among the hundreds of other IT job openings. Forming an attractive company culture and offering enticing compensation packages certainly help and smart interviewing techniques can assist employers with their decisions, but there are other important steps to draw the right people. Because employee turnover can be costly, it's important to attract people who will suit the company and succeed in the role.

With online applications and automated resume reviewers, it's easy for IT recruiting to become very technical. These options can be valuable tools to save time, manage applications and usher in larger candidate pools. However, according to HR experts, the human aspect of the hiring process is essential for attracting and identifying the right people.

Job descriptions with a human voice
Advertisements for job openings are often a potential candidate's first introduction to an IT career opportunity—and maybe to the company. Just as an applicant's resume and cover letter create lasting first impressions, the job description is a crucial opportunity for an organization to put its best face forward and capture an IT expert's interest. Job descriptions can sound formulaic and automated, Forbes magazine explained, which can repel top talent. It's important to keep in mind that many candidates are combing through lists of job openings, so grabbing their attention with something more expressive can be a major boon. Boring job descriptions can create expectations that the job will be dull, too. Instead, businesses can showcase the company culture by letting their personality shine in the description.

IT jobs are increasingly geared toward professionals who have a mix of technical know-how and people skills. For example, WGBH reported that Massachusetts companies are facing the challenge of recruiting employees who are also bilingual, "culturally savvy" and have the right combination of hard and soft skills. Organizations should keep these additional traits in mind when creating their job descriptions, crafting their advertisements to appeal to the type of people they want on their teams.

Face-to-face recommendations
Advertising is one way to grow a candidate pool, but many organizations find great success in referrals from colleagues or employees. According to Business Insider, employees hired from referrals are 25 percent more productive and 20 percent less likely to leave the company. Facebook and Dropbox rely even more heavily on the personal aspect, the source added—they hold "searchlight meetings," during which they ask employees to suggest candidates in an informal, face-to-face setting. This strategy also fosters a community that cares about teambuilding and shares in recruiting goals, the source added.

Living considerations
It's not all about the job. Or the company. Or even the salary. Candidates also consider factors such as location and outside activities. That's why part of Nashville's strategy to attract tech talent includes showcasing what the city has to offer, The Tennessean explained. With demand growing for IT talent in Nashville companies, the government started an initiative to support IT recruiting and brand the city as a tech hotspot. This effort addresses the extra factors that candidates often weigh, such as whether there are opportunities to attend tech forums and other professional development events.

The source noted that attracting candidates to Nashville has to start before they arrive for an interview.

"The more that we can tell our story and the more that we can talk about the challenges that we are solving that are meaningful, not only to this community, but to the country as a whole, I think our ability to attract more talent will only accelerate," Qualifacts CEO David Klements said during a panel discussion, according to the newspaper.

User-friendly processes
After initially attracting interest, it's also important to make sure the application process isn't burdensome, Forbes emphasized. Especially with digital application systems, the forms and processes need to be designed with the end user in mind. People applying to information technology jobs might get frustrated with a lengthy process or one that requires too many steps to submit a form, the source elaborated, and it's also a nice gesture to make sure correspondence with applicants has a personal touch.

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