While all industries evolve and experience change, the driving force behind the entire IT industry is relentless revolution. Operating within a sector of unwavering evolvement, hiring managers need to stay up-to-date with fresh trends and practices. That’s why one of the biggest common mistakes by tech businesses is not keeping their hiring process up to date. Just by regularly reviewing their talent acquisition strategy employers can avoid other common recruitment mistakes.
It is of paramount importance that an IT company has a workforce devoted to embracing change. This is necessary to keep up with the advancements the industry inevitably demands. Organisations within the IT sector need to evolve at the same pace of information technology. Those who can’t keep up are likely to be suffocated by more forward-thinking and innovative competitors.
It doesn’t matter whether you are the Human Resource Manager within a large corporation or a small business owner. Your ultimate aim will no doubt be the same: To find the best candidate for the job.
In short, a company’s success is very much dependant on the skills and attitudes of its workforce. This is especially true in an industry as changeable as IT. It is therefore within every IT employer’s interest to find the right candidate for the job first time around.
We offer our top pieces of advice to employers when vetting candidates for an IT role.
Advice for Avoiding Common IT Recruitment Mistakes
Detail Essential Criteria in Job Descriptions
Employers must be as specific as they can be about the skills and experience required for a given role. For a skilled IT position, it is more important than ever that recruiters requirements are clear.
Detailing the essential criteria from the offset will deter unsuitable candidates from applying. This makes a hiring manager’s job a much easier one when shortlisting for interview.
Use an Application Form Rather Than Relying on CVs
Job seekers’ typically tailor their CVs and covering letters to highlight their suitability for a specific role. Composing an application form for every applicant to fill in makes it easier to compare them with greater accuracy. Unlike CVs, application forms make it more difficult for applicants to hide gaps in their employment history.
Compiling an application form for individual job requirements also makes it customisable to highlight IT-specific backgrounds, goals and objectives.
Ask Technical Questions
Being ‘au fait’ with Facebook and savvy with WordPress does not make us IT experts. Although many candidates insist they are. To sieve out the VB.NET-conversant from the ASP.NET-ignorant, consider asking technical questions or including technical testing as part of the recruitment process. The fluency of the candidate’s responses will give a greater indication of their familiarity with specialised terminology.
Assess Ability to Embrace Change
In such a rapidly developing industry, the ability to adapt to change is an essential skill. The interview process should, therefore, include questions to gauge their adaptability.
Including a mix of technical-centred interview questions and more generic ones. Such as asking a question along the lines of:
“Please give an example of where you were able to influence change’.
Be Systematic when Shortlisting
Being systematic when shortlisting helps save time in the long-term as it helps to identify the right candidate. It might seem ruthless but consider using a shortlisting grid with specific scoring criteria. If a candidate doesn’t tick all the boxes, they don’t make it onto the shortlist.
Although it is important to consider that we are in the midst of a global skills shortage. Employers would therefore be wise to note the following point.
Realise There are NO Perfect Candidates!
The purpose of interviewing is to find the best candidate for the job. At the same time, it’s not advisable to hold out for perfection. In times of scarce tech skills, it is better to assess attitude over a candidates’ experience.
Let’s say an applicant lacks the skills required but displays the willingness to learn. Consider whether your business can afford to offer the necessary training needed to bring them up to speed. It might be more cost-effective to do this than lost revenue in waiting for the perfect applicant to apply.
Likewise, don’t rule out applications from those you might consider to be overqualified candidates. It is becoming increasingly more accessible for people to change careers several times throughout their working lives now. So someone might have gained a PhD in Criminology but developed an interest in Software Development in later life. When seemingly overqualified candidates apply for lower-level positions, there is often a valid reason. Our advice would be not to rule them out without at least a telephone discussion.
Interviewing for technical roles, in particular, is never easy. Adhering to the above techniques can help businesses avoid making common recruitment mistakes. Employing an effective recruitment strategy from the outset ultimately saves time and money involved in having to repeat the process.
The advice we offer on our blog is quite general. However, we can offer our clients much more specific information based on their individual needs.
We first wrote about Avoiding IT Recruitment Mistakes in 2014. This post was edited in 2020 to bring it up to date with today’s recruitment practices. If you found it useful, we would love it if you could share it on your favourite social media channel!