The IT job market has become increasingly competitive, and it’s never been more important to know how to hire IT Professionals effectively for your IT team. And it’s not an easy or simple process.
Which is why we’re here to give you insight on the best practices for hiring quality IT professionals for your business, with our step-by-step guide.
The short of it looks like:
- Define what you’re looking for.
- Understand the main reasons why someone would want to work for you.
- Write and post job adverts and prepare your interview process.
- Know where to find your potential candidates.
- Filter through applicants CVs and candidate profiles.
- Reach out to potential candidates of interest.
- Interview candidates and make your selection.
- Prepare your chosen candidate for counter offers before you make the offer.
- Make them the offer.
- The follow-up after the offer and onboarding.
And while that’s the short version, the detailed step-by-step guide gives a little more information.
Step 1. Define What You’re Looking For When Your Hire Your Next IT Professional
The first step is to actually sit down and define what exactly it is you’re looking for when you hire an IT Professional.
This can mean speaking to the internal hiring manager of your business (if that’s not you) and the IT team that the new person will be joining, to take a detailed brief and understand exactly what the business is looking for. This will include:
- Why is the business looking to hire in the first place?
- What responsibilities will they have?
- What will their progression look like?
- How will the role grow and change as they do?
- What skills and experience do they need?
- And what skills would you like them to have?
All of the above should help you build a job profile. But that’s not all the questions you need to know the answer to. Other questions should include: How do I sell the opportunity? How do I sell the company and company values? And most crucially, what is the salary and budget for this role?
Salaries change all the time, so it can be worth your while to check out a salary survey or compare salaries online.
During this process you may need to reflect internally at your own salary bands, to make sure there aren’t any issues bringing someone in on a higher salary.
Step 2. Understand the Main Motivators For Why People Move
Now you know who you’re looking for, it’s good to get an understanding of the main reasons people move jobs. Because this will help you to sell the opportunity.
There are a few different reasons people move jobs:
- Money: They could believe they aren’t getting paid what their value is.
- Poor management or leadership: They could be leaving a bad manager.
- Work-life balance: Having too much work in an under-resourced team. Or the workload is so much, they don’t have time to do the quality of work they want to.
- Career progression: Sometimes people feel they’re ready to progress but their current company won’t promote them. This could be due to red-tape, politics, or financial reasons.
- Training and certifications: Sometimes people move to learn new skills, go on internal or external training courses and conferences.
- The work they’re doing: Sometimes it just comes down to the actual work they’re doing. If they want to work on different projects, or change the industry they work in.
Once you’ve got all of step 1 and 2, you can put together a great job specification. This can be used to write a job advert, to write a pitch when you’re selling the opportunity to people, and can also be used to prepare interview questions.
Step 3. Job Adverts and Interview Questions
Now comes the admin.
This includes preparing your interview questions, preparing any tasks that will help you measure if candidates meet your criteria and defining the interview process. How many stages does your interview process need? Who will conduct the interviews? And who will screen candidates CVs, ensuring that candidates are given a swift reply and time isn’t wasted interviewing candidates who aren’t right for the role.
Advertising the job on your website, LinkedIn, Twitter and Threads. These are the most popularly used social medias because they’re the most professionally focused. You’re unlikely to reach IT Professionals on Instagram looking for new roles.
And you may want to consider paid advertising for the role, if the position needs filling urgently. This can be expensive and time-consuming as many applicants you receive may not be relevant or available to work in the UK.
There are also job boards that you can post on such as Indeed, Reed, LinkedIn etc. Some of these are free, however again, some cost money and aren’t cheap either. It all comes down to your available hiring budget and needs.
If your job advert receives tons of applications then great! However, it can also be time consuming to thoroughly consider every applicant for suitability. It can take up to half an hour a day, everyday, to check through responses for a role. And they may end up all being unsuitable.
Step 4. Where to Look For Potential Candidates
Now that you’ve got your job adverts up and bringing in applicants and your admin is done, it’s time to go out and start searching for candidates yourself.
A great place to start is by looking at your existing pool of potential candidates and previous applicants.
These can be people in your network and your industry who you know already that may be interested. Sometimes the person you want is already on your system, because they have applied for a job previously. So if you’ve kept a record of previous applications, this can be a quick win and a way to find someone who you know is interested in working for you.
After this, the next step is searching on LinkedIn. Searching profiles on LinkedIn can take days depending on your role in question, and how exact the requirements are. And if you don’t pay for a LinkedIn Recruiter Premium License, then you will be limited in the amount of profiles you can see.
If you have access to job boards like CV Library, Reed, and Indeed, then you may want to search for relevant CVs here. Although the best candidates usually aren’t searching for new jobs. So this may not be the best use of your time: Especially if you work in a candidate driven market.
If you’re good with Boolean searches, we would recommend writing a Boolean search string, to make sure you only find relevant candidates with the right skills.
This could be people with the right job titles, right skills, experience working in the right markets, qualifications, or the companies you want to headhunt from, and in the right location.
Step 5. Filtering Profiles and CVs
Now that you’re evaluating and filtering candidates’ CVs and LinkedIn profiles, there are a few different things to consider.
One thing to consider is time served in each role.
Some of the clients we work with here at Dynamic prefer candidates who have stayed at one company and had a promotion and progression there. And candidates who have moved jobs frequently, are often seen as a flight risk.
Another thing to check out is the LinkedIn recommendation and endorsements. See what their colleagues and former employers are saying about them and their skills.
Step 6. How To Reach Out to Potential Candidates
Once you’re ready to start your search, it’s time to reach out to the potential candidates you have listed for the role.
If you don’t have access to a candidate’s email or phone numbers, this means reaching out on LinkedIn. Again, if you don’t have a LinkedIn premium account, you will quickly find out that LinkedIn limits how many people you can connect with each week. And even worse, LinkedIn can ban you for adding too many people in a short space of time. So we recommend only reaching out to your ideal candidates.
It is also unlikely that you will receive a response after just one message. You will typically need to send between 3 and 4 personalised messages on Linkedin, emails or phone calls.
Additionally, the best candidates usually aren’t actively looking for a job, because they come to them. Which means you may need to do some good old-fashioned headhunting: Call people at their desk and sell them the dream of working with you.
However a lot of candidates aren’t available during work hours. Which means you need to be flexible, take calls before and after work, and sometimes even on the weekend.
And these passive candidates may not have a CV ready to go at a moment’s notice! But we would advise this not necessarily stopping you if you think they could be a good candidate.
If their LinkedIn profile looks like a strong match, it may be worth interviewing them without a CV. Because you’ll get more out of a 20 minute conversation with them as an initial first stage interview, than you will from 20 minutes of going back and forth, getting them to write a CV for you to look over.
Because you don’t want to miss out and dismiss potentially great candidates.
However if it’s not clear from their LinkedIn profile, you may want to wait for a CV so you don’t waste your time. If someone is willing to write a CV, it’s also a good sign of someone’s commitment to the process and to the opportunity.
Step 7. Interviewing and Deciding Between Candidates
Now we get to the interview.
We would recommend having set interview questions that you ask to each candidate, to make it easier to measure the responses against each other and evaluate the candidates.
We think that the first stage interview should be more of a screening call, a chemistry meeting. This can be in the form of a short over the phone or over video call meeting.
If they seem like a good fit for the company personality wise, we would then process to a second stage interview. This interview should ideally be in-person if possible, and involve any tasks that you want the candidate to complete. This allows the candidate to show their skills off, and gives you the confidence that if you take the risk of hiring them, it will work out.
During this interview make sure to ask them if they have any questions or anything that would prevent them from moving forward in the process. As well as asking them if they have other interviews ongoing, so you know whether you need to move fast.
We would advise keeping the interview to no more than two or three stages, to reduce the risk of losing candidates to other competitors.
One of the benefits of using an external recruiter, is the candidates can be more open and honest with them about their concerns. If you don’t have that luxury, we’d encourage you to address the elephant in the room and ask them what their concerns are.
And remember, the interview works both ways. While you’re seeing if they have the right skills and have the right attitude, they’re also interviewing you, to see if you’re the right company to work for and the right people to trust with their career.
Step 8. Before You Make an Offer, Prepare Them For Counter Offers
Before you make an offer, you should have a conversation about counter offers. Ask them what their current company could do or offer to get them to stay.
This then gives you the opportunity to argue your case and show why it isn’t in their best interest.
You can even tell them about a time someone you know accepted a counter offer and it didn’t work out, or a time you gave a counter offer to someone and it wasn’t a good decision.
For further information, you can read our guide here on preparing your candidates on counter offers, and how to prevent them taking them.
Step 9. Making the Offer
When it comes to making the offer, always offer them what you think they’re worth and make your best offer first. This increases your chances of securing the candidate whilst also ensuring you gain their trust in you and the company.
And don’t send a job offer by email. Make the offer over the phone, via video call, or even better, in person. And then follow this up with an official offer letter, which details all the information they need like start date, salary, and benefits.
When they accept, have another call with them about how to resign from their role, what the transition will be like, and again about the counter offer they are likely to receive. As well as who they will be handing their notice to, their relationship with this person, and what they think their reaction will be like.
This allows them to prepare themselves for everything that comes next, and gives you more reasons to keep in touch and check up on them.
Step 10. After the Offer
You might think that because you’ve made the offer, your job is done. But there’s a little bit more for you to do, to really get it over the line.
Ask the candidate to give you a follow-up call after they have resigned, or book it in with them. This lets you confirm their start date and invite them to the office without the pressure of an interview, so they can meet the team for drinks or lunch.
It’s important to stay in touch during this transition period while they work their notice period. And not just via email. We would advise phone calls as often as is reasonable. To maintain their commitment to joining the company, and less likely to accept a counter offer or continue interviewing for other roles: Which happens more than you would think!
And once they’ve started, it doesn’t stop there either!
It’s important to stay in touch, even if you’re working together with them daily. Arrange time for a weekly informal catch-up to see how they’re getting on, and ask them if they have questions, challenges or issues. This increases the chances of them passing probation and choosing to stay.
For more tips on employee retention, have a look at our guides here.
Of course, if this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is! So if you don’t have the time or resources to hire IT professionals for your IT team on your own, it may be time to consider a recruitment agency or an executive search partner like us here at Dynamic. Reach out to us here for a free consultation, to see if we can support your hiring needs.