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Attracting the best job candidates

Attracting the best job candidates

Ways to attract the best job candidates during the interview process

The year 2012 is shaping up to be another strong year for the IT industry, as many companies are continuing to invest in IT projects with the aim of improving productivity within their business. According to research recently released by Robert Half Technology, more than three quarters (81 per cent) of CIOs and CTOs are confident in their business’ growth prospects in 2012 and as a result, a net 36 per cent of IT decision makers plan to hire IT staff in the first half of this year.

Given the growth within the industry, demand for quality technology professionals remains high, making it increasingly important to review staff attraction strategies and act quickly to secure the best specialised IT experience that’s in demand.

Here are some ways to attract the best job candidates during the interview process:

IT job candidates deserve attention

It is crucial to make a positive impression on potential candidates from the first interaction. The approach an organisation takes throughout the entire interview process, and particularly in the initial interview, is effectively your company’s ‘shop window’ for a candidate. How you present your company to a candidate in an interview can directly impact your brand and will often determine the difference between attracting and losing the best talent.

Where organisations often get it wrong is when they fail to recognise that the interview is a two-way street and that they need to sell the organisation to the candidate as much as the candidate needs to sell themself to the organisation. Poorly conducted interviews can leave a candidate feeling as though they have not been taken seriously, or that the company is disorganised and potentially difficult to work for.

The best interviews mirror project management best practice insofar as they utilise ‘Definition, Milestones and Delivery’ methodology. By showing that your business is organised and in control, it will likely instill a sense of confidence and positivity in the candidate, as well as create a positive image for the company.

Be clear on the company vision and IT strategy

During the interview process, IT professionals are not simply looking for a brief history of the organisation. They want to know what the vision for the company is, but more importantly, how the IT strategy dovetails into this broader plan.

A quality IT professional wants to feel as though his or her function is taken seriously, valued by the business and part of the business’ growth drivers. By articulating the company vision and IT strategy clearly, it also demonstrates the all-important value of process and planning.

Clearly signpost the interview process

The first interview provides an ideal opportunity to clearly articulate what the candidate can expect throughout the interview process. Be clear about the number of interviews that will be required, what each interview will entail and when they will take place. Then, stick to it.

Setting expectations with a candidate, and then not meeting them, reflects badly on the company and presents an organisation that is not in control and undervalues processes. It also demonstrates to the candidate that a potential employer has little time and respect for his or her staff.

Whether a candidate is the right fit for your company, or not, it is vital to maintain communication and provide immediate feedback — although a candidate may not be the right fit for the company now, they could be a potential employee or customer in the future.

Have the best people in the interview

IT is a specialist area that requires knowledge that HR departments simply don’t have. Although including the HR team in the overall interview process is important, it is crucial to have the actual team that the candidate will be working with, or reporting to, in the interview. These are the people that will be able to best represent what the company can do for the candidate and what they can expect from the position.

While there will always be disappointment from applicants who are turned down, making the process as professional and streamlined as possible will help maintain a positive image for your company, as well as ensure that you get the best people in a tight job market.

Jon Chapman is associate director of Robert Half Technology

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