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  • Expert Interview Series: Brett Iredale On The Challenges Associated With Hiring Quality IT Personnel

Expert Interview Series: Brett Iredale On The Challenges Associated With Hiring Quality IT Personnel

Oct 14 , 2015

Hiring quality IT professionals is challenging for both sides. For employers, every job opening listed receives an average of 250 resumes, all of which need to be reviewed. For job seekers, there is more competition than ever before, making it essential to stand out and really shine to attract the best potential employer.

Recruitment is tough. It relies on so many variables that can be difficult to gauge and measure, especially over the internet where so much IT recruitment takes place. For a business to thrive, however, a business owner must continually be recruiting, and not just filling positions as they open.

We talked to Brett Iredale of the recruitment software company JobAdder to learn how the top IT companies are undertaking recruitment and overcoming the challenges associated with hiring quality IT professionals.

If a company is starting out, how might they go about finding quality IT professionals, especially if they're not that established or don't have as much money as larger businesses?

In my experience, the best way to find quality staff is by networking and speaking with as many people as you can. When I started JobAdder, I put ads on job boards to find developers, but I also emailed and called my whole network. A friend of mine guided me to a young developer who I interviewed and subsequently hired. Chris is still with us 8 years later and has been an amazing hire.

If you have the budget, a recruiter is also a great option. If you are considering using a recruiter, then go with a referral where possible. Find a recruiter who has done great work for people you know, and you will increase your odds of success. Also, ensure that the recruiter you select is willing to invest the time in getting to know you, your company, your products and your requirements.

With such high turnover rates in the industry, how can business owners keep up with the workload that comes from continual recruitment?

Recruitment is an ongoing process. The best way to avoid huge peaks and troughs is what we call ABR: "Always Be Recruiting." At JobAdder, we are always looking for great people even when all desks are occupied. We make time to meet with all candidates who are referred to us, and we keep up-to-date talent pools of people so that when we do need to hire, we have lists of people to start with.

As my mother used to say, you never find love when you go looking for it. I think recruiting is the same. The best hires you make are people you meet when you are not actively recruiting.

Are there any tools that you can recommend to automate recruitment responsibilities? What are some aspects of the recruitment process that should NOT be automated?

Data entry and manual process such as posting job ads should always be automated. You should definitely employ a recruitment system that automates the dumb stuff like job distribution and automated loading of candidates into the system.

The people side of recruitment should never be automated. Computers can't read resumes the way a business owner can. Most of the best people we have hired did not have the job titles or the experience for the role we were hiring them for. We hire for intelligence, attitude and culture fit, and we teach them the rest. You cannot and should not automate this.

How useful is social media for recruiting IT professionals?

In my experience, social media is of limited value in recruitment, especially for technical roles. The best technical people I know do not waste time on social media. For me, social media is just another channel for networking, and as such it is only as good as the user is at networking. If you are not a good networker already, then social media is not going to add much value to you.

What are some social cues a business owner could use on social media to attract quality IT professionals?

Integrity, honesty and transparency. The rule of social media is to be "real" and not to try to "sell" or pitch business. People can smell bullshit a mile away on social media, and it tends to work against you more than for you.

With so much of IT recruitment happening online, how might a recruiter get a sense of an employee's personality and whether it will fit in with the existing corporate culture?

Interview them face to face. Video interviews are a great option if you cannot meet them in person, but there is no substitute for meeting people in person. If they are out of state, fly them in to meet the team before making the final decision. Communication skills and culture fit for me are as important, if not more important, than the actual technical skills.

At JobAdder, we normally take someone to the pub with the team before we make the final hiring decision. This approach is not for everyone, but it works for our business as we get a very unique opportunity to see the candidate in an informal environment. They also get the opportunity to grill us or ask any questions they may not have felt comfortable asking in a formal interview. Again, I stress that I do not recommend this approach for all companies, but it sure works for us.

To find out more about hiring quality IT professionals, contact us today!

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