Turning on Tech Talent – finding the right people for your business

Even if you have coconut water to swim in, free beard trimming and enough craft beer to get an army drunk, you’ll need to think laterally rather than literally, about how to attract people.

Employer branding has come of age in the last few years. For the major corporates, this discipline attracts big budgets, entirely separate to marketing spend.

Talent is a hot topic – a survey by IDG showed that 60% of execs in tech are more worried than ever about the growing skills shortage up from 40% in 2016.

For many businesses – certainly start-ups and scale ups in the tech sector – it can be challenge enough to engage marketing to drive sales and underpin new business, assuming instead that engaging every recruitment consultant on your patch will be enough to get people through your door.

This approach is tantamount to climbing Everest in flip flops. It’s just going to make your objective of business growth nigh-on impossible if you haven’t got enough people to populate your hi-design, Silicon Valley style office.

Salary and a great business location with an office slide and weekly fruit delivery will not differentiate you enough in the increasingly competitive market where demand is high and supply is low. (Especially if they don’t know about the slide and the fruit delivery in the first place – this is where communications come in).

It’s a buyers’ market. To attract the best these days it’s not just about the cash – you need to be one step ahead of the game. Here’s a few things to get sorted if you’re on a quest to employ the best:

  1. Don’t silo recruitment – any form of communication that goes outside the business falls into the realms of marketing and PR.
  2. See point one and make sure that all external messaging is aligned – it may be different teams or people promoting the business but there should be some core company values and tone of voice which sound like the same business (this is not always the case).
  3. Be inclusive. Every contact made by the company with a prospective employee, member of the public, sales lead or journalist needs to be treated as valuable. Word of mouth is more important than ever. And never ignore work experience requests, graduate/intern applications and the inevitable speculative approaches – these people may be the future of your industry so ignore them at your peril.
  4. Staff referral bonuses are commonplace but think about what else you can do to find and attract people?
  5. Be creative. Take a good look at the full range of benefits you offer; audit what your competitors offer. These days it’s not just hard cash. The millennial generation particularly is looking for increasingly new and novel added value benefits from their employers.
  6. Seek feedback. Ask contacts and friends/family to review your external profile – what do they see when they search for you online – how would they feel as a potential employee? Do you come across as open and welcoming? Dynamic and ambitious? How do you want to be viewed?
  7. Take a campaign approach. You can do this whether you are recruiting several people all at once or if you want to create a strong talent pipeline to support business growth.
  8. Don’t forget social media – think about your social media channels and the type of content you publish – it’s important to include messages which reflect company culture and cross-promote your talent search.
  9. Participate in your industry. Think about speaking at relevant events, raise your senior team profile, get out to schools and spread the message about the industry. This is particularly important in tech – where diversity of gender and heritage is still embarrassingly poor.
  10. Finally, be human. Corporate speak, jargon and clichéd phrases are so 1998. You want people to work for you not cartoon characters. Make sure your marketing outputs, website and job ads are true to your business.

That’s all folks!