By Paul Lancaster & Andrew McFetrich
In the short time the Tech North team has been in place, we’ve met lots of people who say they’re having difficulty filling roles, especially developer roles.
However, this is a global problem that isn’t unique to the UK or our Northern cities with increased competition for talent everywhere and a potential mismatch between the skills people possess and the vacancies on offer.
It’s also not just startups who find recruitment hard. Large tech companies have their own challenges too as not everyone wants to work for a corporate, which is why we asked Andrew McFetrich, Senior Recruitment Specialist for Sage (the FTSE-100 software company based in Newcastle) to share some tips on how to think differently when it comes to finding the talent you need, regardless of how big or small your company is.
- Hiring is a 24/7, 365 activity.
If you start the hiring process when you know you need to hire someone – you’re screwed! Generate a buzz about working at your company as soon as possible. Your colleagues can share their experiences through social media, get an article in the local press and write about it on your blog. Build and engage with a community of people who know who you are. That way, when you start the hiring process people will already know something about you and be ready to engage.
- Leverage your networks
Chances are, the next person that is going to join your team/business is known to you, known to one of your contacts, or known to one of your contact’s contacts. What’s more, important research by American sociologist Mark Granovetter found that most jobs are found through ‘weak acquaintances’ and people they occasionally or rarely met. Social media means there has never been an easier time to get your message heard so get your hiring message out there! Ask your employees to share, ask your contacts to share, ask your hairdresser/barber and the guy who made your cappuccino this morning to share… ”Shy bairns get nowt!” as they say in Newcastle.
- Pay it forward
As above – share other people’s jobs. Met a great potential candidate at a meetup or other event recently? Or what about the candidates you interviewed who were awesome but didn’t get a job at your company? Make introductions to your network and help spread the word. Know someone who is looking for someone to join their team? Let your network know about it!
- Put yourself in their shoes
Think about why someone would want to join your business. Chances are, you know why someone would buy your product or service – so use the same thought process when recruiting. Good developers are in demand and highly mobile so why should they choose your company over someone else?
Your ‘Employer Value Proposition’ (to use the jargon du jour) is much more than the salary and benefits that you offer. It’s the spirit of what you offer. It’s the culture, the environment, the people and your reputation within the local tech community. Do you give people the freedom and flexibility to work when and where they like? Do you allow time to do charity work with local communities? Do you encourage people to develop new skills and gain new qualifications? If you do, shout about this in your adverts – let people know about it!
- Go where the people are
Where do the people you want to hire hang out, both offline and online? Will they see your message? If you’re targeting digital natives and are advertising in the local rag, how do you think you’re going to get on? An open source evangelist is more likely to be on the Stack Overflow jobs board. There’ll be a cost associated with advertising but what’s the cost of not hiring someone you need?
- Make it easy to be found
Have you got a company profile page on LinkedIn? Have you got a company Twitter profile and Facebook page? And are they all accurate with lots of great photos of your work environment? What happens when people do a Google search for your company name with the words ‘jobs’ or recruitment’ after it…?
- Sponsor or arrange meetups
Techies love talking tech. If there’s a meetup of the type of people you want to hire, then offer to buy some pizzas and beers in return for saying a few words at the start of the event or provide a speaker to talk about your latest work. If there isn’t a meetup, organise your own through your local co-working and event space or independently through a tool like www.meetup.com