Hire and hold IT staff in 2015: The Reg's how-to guide

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“Interviews can be tricky for everyone,” warns Omnio Recruitment sales manager Paul Young. “You need to get a good handle on the candidate’s competencies and make sure you aren’t left with any questions unanswered. But it’s also your best opportunity to sell the role and the company.”

Chant agrees that companies need to do a better job of improving their shop window to jobseekers. “There’s been a shift in market dynamics. I would suggest that companies need to spend around 25 per cent of the interview telling candidates why it’s great to work for the company, and getting them excited about the technologies in use. They need to bring it to life.”

Social media can play a huge role in helping to set out your stall before candidates can even say “competency framework.” Adam Gordon is managing director of Social Media Search, a part of Norman Broadbent Plc that helps companies recruit via social channels. “More than 90 per cent of candidates will use social media to research a company and the person interviewing them before going for an interview.”

It is vital that businesses look beyond traditional computing degrees and take into account vocational qualifications that demonstrate up-to-date knowledge and industry-relevant skills.

For employers and hiring managers, that means being where your candidates are. Sites such as Stackexchange.com and GitHub.com are arguable more relevant than LinkedIn for certain technical roles. “You can make your company look brilliant by making sure hiring managers are talking about things that are useful to people, such as career-related stuff, and that will build goodwill,” he said.

Although demand for IT experts is growing, the number of people choosing to study computing science at university remains stagnant. Therefore when it comes to shortlisting candidates, it is vital that businesses look beyond traditional computing degrees and take into account vocational qualifications that demonstrate up-to-date knowledge and industry-relevant skills. Certifications by big-name manufacturers might look impressive but won’t necessarily teach employees how to work with products by other vendors.

Hiring people with the right mix of business acumen and technical ability is increasingly important, after all there’s no point hiring techies who cannot translate jargon into business results. In that respect, competency-based questioning is a good way for employers to gauge the suitability of candidates, encouraging them to tell a story and elaborate on a key role they played in a project. “You should recruit on behaviours and attitudes,” Young urges.

But ultimately hiring the “right” candidate may boil down to some fairly intangible elements, not least personality and attitude to business. “Skills aside, the most important things we look for in a candidate is whether they’ll be a good fit culturally and share the same corporate values,” says Anouska Ramsay, head of global talent at Capgemini.

Young agrees: “Someone can have a great skillset but may not be as good a fit to the team, will never reach their potential and will be a bigger drain on management time.” ®

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