Over the last year or so I have had innumerous sets of conversations with various Technology Heads & Talent Acquisition Leaders on the ever so clichéd “War for Talent”. The most common comments are “Is there enough supply?”, “This is going to be our best hiring year ever”, “We are seeing offer drops of upto 50%” and everything related to “I am willing to spend as much as it takes to hire talent on time”. The last time I remember having similar conversations was in 2008-09 when there was a huge offshoring push, but even then the number of players that were hiring were a handful. However, this time around you have a lot more IT Services players, Startups, Unicorns and- not to miss- the Indian enterprises that have joined the bandwagon.
Here is where the IT Recruiter comes in. It is widely believed that in most companies, the sales teams have the greatest impact on the bottom line, but in this scenario it is the recruiters who create a ripple with their hiring capabilities and decisions that make or break a company’s success. In fact, I would go so far as to say that recruiters are the new sales folks in town – they have to understand the client and the candidate needs, generate leads to fulfil positions, build and manage relationships and close the deal – all while advocating the employer’s brand.
The idiom ‘your first impression is your last impression’ holds true for recruiters. They have one opportunity to deliver that perfect elevator pitch to the candidate – convince them why your company provides the best opportunity for them- in the time it takes to ride an elevator. Landing the right impression will determine the candidate’s unalterable opinion and employment decision.
To understand this better, let’s take a quick look at the talent landscape today. With the digitalisation mega trend sweeping across Tech Inc., organisations are scurrying to bolster their workforce across technology skill sets. Economic Times reported that Indian IT firms plan to hire over 150,000 freshers in FY22 and NASSCOM remarked that India’s five largest companies are likely to hire 96,000 employees this year. Although this will be a huge boost for the $150 Billion industry, the demand-supply technology talent gap is only widening. Today, it is the candidates who hold the power and have the pleasure of the last word as prolonged notice periods allow them time to hedge their bets with the four-five job offers they have on hand. And the more skilled they are, the more offers they juggle.
This led me to think about the best ways to ensure we manage our unsung hero – The IT Recruiter.
Starting with employer brand management – assuring the candidate that your company is the best place to work in comparison to all the others. You have to give them a good reason to pick YOUR company over the competition.
What is the value proposition you are providing them? Is it just a better salary? Improved benefits, more work-life balance, accelerated career paths and skilling opportunities or perhaps just an amazing work environment? Whatever you choose, remember your recruiter must be thoughtful and personalised, rather than a stiff re-telling from a well-written script. A good employer branding strategy must be combined with empathy and authenticity to have real impact.
As an employer – It is important to ask yourself if your Recruiters are equipped with these answers
Second – What is the right fit! Here again I see a lot of employers struggling to define the right fit because each hiring manager is driven by their legacy experiences and principles. . Does this mean that this particular candidate is less important that the right-fit one? Certainly not. Why you may ask? They may not be the hot lead you were looking for today, but come tomorrow, you may never know when you might seek them out again. This boils down to experience management, damage can be done to the company’s reputation in the matter of a few clicks. Networks have a multiplier effect and word of mouth - both positive and negative – can have a defining and long-reaching domino effect on your brand.
You would want every candidate you interact with to walk away thinking positively about organisation’s brand and their experience with you. To this effect, we conducted a LinkedIn poll, where 78% of the LinkedIn community responded that not receiving a response is the most discouraging element of the job hunt process – and one that negatively impacts their opinion of the firm. All it takes is one simple email – automated or not – to communicate with the candidate, ensuring a favorable experience.
As an employer – Do you close the loop with your candidates?
Third – How productive is your workflow? A company should evaluate its talent process flow like a manufacturing process. What are the bottlenecks, any lag or down times, how we make a leaner interviewing process, how can we leverage more TA Tech and possibly my favorite – how to treat Talent as an omnichannel system. Can we hire the employee as a full time, insource or outsource recruitment, hire as a contractor or even look at gig. Leadership should evaluate these options in an employee market. It allows TA team to focus, leverage and prioritise. In these times your metrics that you so promptly followed will not hold true anymore. It is time to then revisit the process. If you haven’t yet you must read “The Goal” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.
As an employer – Are you exploring all the options you have to attract talent? Are you sure your TA are staying ahead of the curve?
Last one – Empowerment of the TA teams. A quick question - how much time as a business leader are you spending with your TA Teams? A lot of times we have noticed a push strategy. Release the demands and expect the teams to run with it. I guess in an employer’s market this is BAU but in an employee’s market you need significant business interventions. While we upskill our tech talent, are we upskilling our Recruiters? Are we asking the TA heads if they need any new tech to help them improve productivity? In other words, as business pipelines increase my take would be that the CEO should be spending more time with the TA & HR teams than on account planning, and not just reviewing but being there itself would be a great win for the team.
As an employer – When was the last time you spent some value time with the TA team?
One thing’s for sure- there is no right and wrong decision in hiring but the right process and channel defines the most optimal outcome.
This article was first published in October 2021.