Some ‘Hiring Managers’ need to up their game!

It may seem counter-intuitive but the current marketplace for some IT specialists is tight and therefore competitive. In fact having been in this industry for nearly 25 years I think it is as competitive as I have ever experienced it. I am of course referring to a number of specialist roles like; Solution/Enterprise Architects, Business Intelligence & Big Data people and .NET developers. Perhaps this is due to the collision of a number of factors? The scarcity of skills, offshore salaries, uncertainty in the public sector and an increase in job numbers are all real factors.

So how do hiring managers need to act in these market conditions? Three things may help:

1. Stop assuming that candidates automatically want to work for you. These candidates are interviewing you as much as you are them. They expect you to be prepared, compelling and decisive. As much as you need to satisfy yourself in their abilities, aptitude and culture fit you need to answer the “what’s in it for them” question. They will have choices. Sell the role, the company and the reward and recognition proposition but also sell yourself. Your passion and commitment will play a key role in a successful outcome.
2. Know your competition. Put time into understanding the market opportunities and who will be out there competing with you for these candidates. Use your recruitment partner, whether an agency or an in-house resource, to advise you of the big picture and the most relevant issues for each candidate. Let them support you and negotiate as they are the experts at this phase of the engagement.
3. Be prepared. Be ready to decide one way or another. It frustrating to hear how often employers miss out on the candidates they really want and need simply due to a lack of planning. Get approvals to hire, interview schedules and panels organised so that you reflect an organisation on top of their game. Candidates will not wait for you. They expect a decision and your reputation as an employer is reflected in the recruitment process. People Talk!

If you are experiencing any pain in getting the skilled professionals you need on board then feel free to contact us. We are always willing and open to giving you feedback that may improve your process, reputation and hopefully recruitment outcomes. We know it is a tough competitive market out there!

Future Proof your Recruiters!

Some recruiters allow themselves to question their future relevance. They feel they are under siege from the growing control that some in-house recruiters seek or from the fast paced development of social media and communication technologies.

I believe two behaviours will spare them from this anxiety and make them forever relevant:

1. Build deep, trusting and informed client relationships…

2. Become a relentless sourcing animal…

Neither of those two things are easy and that’s why there are far fewer $1m plus billers than there are $300k billers. The former category of recruiters never question their relevance. They invest heavily in gaining deep knowledge of their clients and in their relationships. Equally they are relentless in their pursuit of quality candidates. To breakdown the skills required to master the above  behaviours is a book rather than a blog, but use your imagination.

If your consultants master these two behaviours they will never feel distracted by any uncertainty of their worth.

Get the recruitment experience you want!

This may be over simplified but I believe two key words summarise how to have a rewarding experience using recruiters. These two words apply to both employers and candidates alike and also explain why the experience is sometimes more frustrating than rewarding for all parties.

1. Commitment 2. Communication

Some background… Recruiting is a ‘noisy’ profession. By this I mean it’s very high demand on consultants in terms of managing the expectations of both employers and candidates and it’s a high volume of activity task. Furthermore, all three parties (candidate, recruiter, employer) often engage in a process that is destined to frustrate due to its lack of appreciation of all the factors that need to be aligned for a successful outcome. GUILTY all parties!

For employers consider some key factors in a successful recruitment assignment and then ask yourself how often we mutually manage these effectively:

1. A well defined job and person specification

2. An agreed candidate sourcing plan

3. A signed off selection methodology

4. Pre and Post interview briefings

5. Controlled negotiation for offer and acceptance

6. On-boarding

For candidates consider these factors:

1. A clear brief on what you want

2. Immediate communication once anything changes

3. Total commitment to a decision once the brief is met (including ignoring any counter offer temptations)

4. Full communication on why you are seeking a change and your critera for acceptance

5. Clear examples of what you have done to add value to a previous employer

Layer these factors with the conflicts of Time, Change, Human Behaviours, Cost and Capability and we can appreciate where things can go astray. Yet we continue to put up barriers to successful experiences.

Example: Employers throw out poorly defined job specs to recruiters on a contingent basis, sometimes via an in-house recruiter who hasn’t had time to fully understand what is really wanted, recruiters then run off and have a quick go at it because speed is more important than quality. Candidates receive a quick call and very vague job brief and the process has begun… often all parties get what they committed to… a frustrating experience!

Two things can change this whole cycle for the better. (Employer, Recruiter, Candidate)

1. Commitment. Make a mutual commitment to each other. Work exclusively with one recruiter. The recruiter can then make a commitment to all parties to do their job properly because they know they will be rewarded for their efforts. Considerations of Time, Cost and Quality can then be managed in a controlled and professional manner which is surely a better result.

2. Communication. We are dealing with people. Everyday life intervenes and something changes which will have a bearing on the outcome. Candidates must keep recruiters fully informed, employers must de-brief candidly, recruiters must keep both parties fully informed and engaged at each milestone. If this happens then the experience can be a good one regardless of final outcome but if not then it’s rarely so.

Mutual Commitment and Great Communication can change everything.

Market ain’t that hot…let’s keep it real!

I’ve been reading a lot of market commentry about just how hot the ICT employment market is again. I even read a blog from a Sydney based recruiter stating that it’s the hottest market they have ever seen! I hate to be rude but… that person can’t have been around long!

From a recruitment industry perspective let’s keep some perspective and acknowledge that the market is a lot better than this time 12 months ago. However, I suggest cautious optimisism is not a bad approach. Plan for growth without feeling the need to freak out and hire at all cost.

The recruitment industry had a real clean out over the last 18 months with those less than 110% committed to the career opting out. Let’s remain determined to focus on quality and committed people as we re-emerge and grow our businesses.

Top 5 changes in recruitment!

Reflecting on 23 years in this industry I was wondering what the top 5 changes have been?

In no particular order how does this look?

1. Applicant tracking recruitment software
2. Job Boards
3. In-house recruitment teams
4. The evolution of master vendor, managed services and full recruitment process outsourcing offerings
5. Social media recruiting

They seem the most significant in terms of changing how we think and operate.

Any thoughts?

Talent Shortage approaches “Tipping Point”

Is it possible that so soon after the GFC we could be trending towards a human capital marketplace whereby demand is outstripping supply?

It seems the answer is yes! According to an article published in CIO magazine in Australia last week an ex colleague of mine is quoted suggesting that demand for critical IT specialists will return to pre GFC levels by the end of Q2 this year. Richard Fischer is now MD of Greythorn in Australia and is well positioned to accurately reflect market conditions.

I must concur with him when reflecting on the state of the NZ market. (I’m referrring to the ICT sector here). We now have clients very actively seeking specialists in both contract and permanent capacities. This is in stark comparison to just six months ago when uncertainty and indecisiveness prevailed.

So what? Well at this stage I can only recommend vigilance and a focus on workforce planning. If you feel exposed by a stressed out workforce or light on critical skills then don’t procrastinate. Acting early could be the best plan as it may be harder to find who you want than what you are recently accustomed to and don’t assume the market is flooded with specialists awaiting an opportunity. It isn’t and it may get tighter.

Engage with an agency of choice and commit to a proper sourcing strategy. Recruiting will be back to the top of management KPI charts in no time!

http://www.cio.com.au/article/346206/it_workers_stick_their_guns_through_gfc_survey/?fp=4&fpid=51242

Green Shoots

It appears that all the lead economic indicators have bottomed out and that forecasts are a little better than earlier predicted. Certainly we have seen a small improvement in the new job vacancy market. It’s also true that labour markets always lag economic markets so it may be a while yet before we can say things are trending upwards.

So what advice can we share with you?

1. BE PREPARED! All listed vacancies are receiving very large response volumes whether they are via an agency or directly from the employer. This does not always correspond to a high volume of quality applicants. Make sure you tailor your application with very clear details matching your skills to those identified in the advert. Resist sending your standard CV off to every advert where you met some criteria. Follow up as employers inundated with responses will try and make the first cut on what they see on paper so make your presence felt!
2. BE FLEXIBLE! Think outside the square and think about how your skills and experience will add value to both the job and employer. Think also in terms of full and future value of any role and company you look at rather than just salary expectation. Contracting, fixed term contracting and contracting as a trial are methods of hire being utilised in this current market.
3. BE PROACTIVE! Think about all the sources you have to identify new work opportunities. Social networking sites like Linkedin, Events, Job Boards, Referrals from friends and Web Searching as examples. In terms of an Agency we suggest you chose someone who you think gets you and will work for you!

Stay Positive and Stay In-touch with the market and you’ll be well positioned as hopefully these green shoots develop into a much more buoyant job market over the next 6 – 12 months.