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8 Tips to Recruit Talent for Information Technology Jobs

Beat the Skills Shortage to Hire the Best in Tech Roles

Hiring talented candidates for information technology jobs is difficult, whether the economy is booming or in recession. As an employer, you face challenges that include skills shortages and an employee base that is increasingly value-oriented – they want to work for organizations with which they can identify.

Gartner’s research has consistently shown that hiring the right skillset is getting more difficult. Its 2019 Emerging Risks Survey cited the shortage of tech skills as the number one challenge facing IT leaders today.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecast that the number of information technology jobs in the United States will grow by 12% between 2018 and 2028. That’s a huge 546,200 new jobs in the sector.

With a shortage of talent and a growth in demand, what strategies should you be using to attract the most talented candidates to your IT jobs?

1.    Know What Skills and Experience a Candidate Really Needs

Many top-quality candidates are deterred by job descriptions that ask for a Christmas list of skills and experience. What you should be doing is considering what skills are essential, and which are preferable. Consider which skills could be learned by talented hires to improve impact in the role, and which are crucial to hitting the ground running from day one. Then compose your job description around these.

2.    Understand What Talented IT Professionals Want from Their Next Job

What is it that the most talented IT professionals want from their jobs today? We’re finding that the best candidates are not all about the money. They want a role in which they are challenged, which helps them to grow professionally, and that offers them opportunities to improve their work/life balance. In addition, they want to work for organizations that have a high moral code and strong diversity and inclusion policies and practices.

3.    Develop Your Employer Branding to Emphasize IT

Potential employees will search your online assets. They will want to see that you emphasize technology, and that it is a mainstay of your business strategy. Therefore, ensure that you highlight your IT efforts, strategies, policies and practices on your website and social media accounts. Make IT an integral part of your branding.

4.    Set Up Employee Referral Schemes

Who better than your current employees to become your employer brand advocates? They are likely to have people in their networks who are both talented and open to changing jobs. Set up an employee referral scheme to reward those who help you find talented new recruits.

5.    Streamline Your Hiring Process

According to a 2018 Growth Hiring Trends Report, almost half of respondents reported a time to hire (from application to job offer accepted) of between 7 and 14 days. If that sounds fast, then your hiring process is probably missing some great candidates.

Your competition is probably snapping up the most talented while you are still thinking about whether the next candidate will have one of those preferred but non-essential skills you detailed on the job description.

Many organizations don’t have the experience or human resources to streamline the hiring process. If this sounds familiar, you should consider using a professional recruiter who specializes in IT and technology jobs.

6.    Consider Remote Candidates

It may be that the talent pool is shallow where your business is located. In such a case, it may be time to look further afield. A remote candidate could provide the skills and experience you need. See our guide on how to conduct the perfect virtual interview for technology jobs for tips on interviewing remote talent.

7.    Search for IT Talent Where It Is to Be Found

You aren’t likely to find the most talented tech talent on generalist job boards. The best talent is usually hidden. They may be happy in their current job – the most talented new recruits are often passive job seekers.

You’ll find these talented candidates in tech communities, LinkedIn forums, and local (and global, online) tech events. And, of course, via specialist staffing agencies with a reach to passive candidates.

8.    If You Use a Recruiter, Make Sure they Understand You

Finally, if you use a recruiter it is crucial that they understand you. It’s essential that you articulate and communicate all the necessary project, role, and culture-fit details to your recruiter. First and foremost, it’s a partnership between you and the staffing agency. It is the recruiter’s job to not only find the right talent for the role, but also the right fit for your organization.

A recruiter who comes from a tech background themselves will understand your language, and know how to describe the role you need to be filled in the language that candidates speak. That’s going to help attract the talent you need.

Summing Up

As demand for information technology jobs continues to rise and the skills shortage continues to worsen, it is likely to become more difficult to hire the most talented candidates. These hiring tips should help you overcome the recruitment challenges you face and hire the talent that will help propel your organization to the next level.

If you are finding it increasingly difficult to hire and retain talented candidates for information technology jobs, contact Irvine Technology Corporation today

How to Conduct the Perfect Virtual Interview for Technology Jobs

Tips to Ensure a Successful Virtual Hiring Process

Virtual interviews for technology jobs are becoming increasingly popular. Not only because of COVID-19, but also because they allow employers to interview the best talent available from across the United States and globally for remote roles.

In addition, virtual interviews save money, are more easily slotted into work schedules, and enable the hiring process to be accelerated. However, there are drawbacks when conducting virtual interviews. Poor audio and video quality can damage the experience, and interviewing via video means that nonverbal behavior is often missed.

In this article, we provide tips that will help you and your candidate get the most out of virtual interviews.

Preparing for a Virtual Interview for Technology Jobs

As they say, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Here are our tips to prepare to a virtual interview.

1.     Make Sure Your Social Media and Website Is Updated

Candidates will research you online. They will read your posts on Facebook and LinkedIn, and they will examine your website. They will want to learn as much about you as they can before interviewing with you. It’s essential to ensure that your employer branding is consistent and that your social media portrays a genuine picture of you as a company and as an employer.

2.     Set Up the Interview ‘Room’

When you are interviewing a candidate virtually it is important to ensure that they feel like they are in an interview environment. It’s essential that you can be seen and heard properly, and that it doesn’t look like you are interviewing them from a store cupboard.

Focus on your background first. What is it that the interviewee will see behind you? Make certain that there are no visual distractions. If you are interviewing with a window to an office behind you, close the blind. If possible, choose a virtual background that depicts your brand (you may need to invest in a green screen).

When setting up your camera and audio, test to make sure that your lighting is sufficient for you to be seen. Avoid backlighting as this will turn you into a silhouette. Direct light from the front is the order of the day. Ensure that your microphone captures all your words and does not muffle your speech.

3.     Prepare Your Interview Questions

Consider the skills, experience, and knowledge that the role requires, and prepare questions to test the candidate in each of these areas. You should compose a list of universal questions for every candidate, and a list of questions that are specific to the candidate being interviewed.

4.     Develop a Candidate Rating System

Use a rating system to rate the candidate on each question you ask and other measures you consider important; for example, how the candidate presents themselves, their confidence, the language they use, eye-contact, etc. This will help you determine who the best candidates are as you move through your hiring process.

If you are using a blended interview strategy, in which some candidates will be interviewed in person while others will be interviewed virtually, then ensure that you score candidates consistently in line with your rating system.

5.     Give the Interview Plenty of Notice

Afford virtual interviewees the same courtesy you do in-person interviewees. You wouldn’t expect a candidate to attend your office within a couple of hours of being invited for an interview. Allow the candidate time to prepare, and you are more likely to meet the real person – ready to present their best self.

Ensure that you send an electronic invite to the candidate. Include the date, time, technology to be used (with a link), and any other information they may need to prepare for the interview.

Immediately Before the Interview

Before the interview, there are a few actions to take to make sure that the interview is conducted professionally and that you give the interviewee a good impression.

1.     Eliminate All Distractions

Ensure that others know not to disturb you. There is little more off-putting to a candidate than a virtual interview which is continually interrupted by others walking into your office.

In addition, turn off all other distractions – your cell phone, email messaging system, instant message alerts, and so on.

2.     Test the Technology

One final check will ensure that your technology is working, lighting and sound levels are correct, and that your background is professional. This can be done using the automated test in the application, or with your ITC account executive. (Have you met our leadership team, yet?)

3.     Dress Appropriately

Dress as you would for an in-person interview, but also remember that you are on screen – so, wear a shirt or blouse that doesn’t clash with your background.

4.     Ensure You Have All You Need to Hand

Have you got your interview questions and score card in front of you? Do you have a pen? What about a glass of water to ensure your throat does not dry?

The Interview Itself

During the interview itself, it is good practice to conduct it as you would an in-person interview. Stay focused on the interviewee, be mindful of your own body language, and remain professional throughout. Here are five things you should do during a virtual interview:

1.     Build Rapport

Introduce the company and yourself, and take a couple of moments to ease the interviewee into the interview. Be polite and smile.

Make eye contact by looking into your webcam when the candidate is speaking. This is alien to most people – it’s natural to look at the interviewee’s image on the screen and look there.

Ask a few rapport building questions to start – perhaps about hobbies or experiences with virtual interviews – before then moving on to discuss the candidate’s background. Let the candidate know it is okay for them to ask questions, especially if they need to clarify anything you say.

2.     Ask the Questions on Your List

Make sure that you ask all the questions that you have prepared for the candidate. As you do so, mark them according to your scoring system.

3.     Give the Interviewee Time to Answer

There may be a time lag between you asking a question and the candidate hearing it. This can result in an interview in which the candidate appears to be slower to answer. Take this into consideration, and allow time for the answer to come. If the audio or video stops or cuts out, explain what happened and ask the candidate to repeat their answer.

4.     Ensure You Have the Cultural Conversation

Cultural fit is as important as the fit on skills and experience. Some would say more so – skills can be learned, and experience is acquired. Make sure that you discuss your company and team culture, and your company’s values, and give an idea of the environment in which the candidate will be working.

5.     End the Interview with Next Steps

When the interview is closing, ask the interviewee if they have any further questions. Then, once you have answered these, explain the next steps in the hiring process, including how you will inform them of your decision.

Summing Up

In many ways, virtual interviews are the same as in-person interviews. You must prepare well for them, know what questions you must ask, and have a system that enables you to compare candidates effectively. There are, however, some differences. Being aware of these and using tactics to overcome any challenges will ensure that your virtual interviews run smoothly and add value to your hiring process.

To access a great pool of talent for your technology jobs, contact Irvine Technology Corporation today. We’re here to help you be the difference.

Technology Jobs In The Face of Talent Shortage

Technology jobsTechnology jobs in the face of talent shortage

Even as technology jobs, personal lives, and economies are becoming more connected, more digital, and automated in the next normal after COVID-19, the spotlight is on the next wave of innovation in information technology (IT). Apart from being the driver of America’s competitive edge, information technology jobs have continued to play a key role in shaping economic growth; as per Cyberstates 2018, a CompTIA’s analysis of the tech industry.  

Employment in the IT industry is slated to grow at a rate of 13% by 2026, faster than all other occupations. From cloud computing and big data storage to information security, the demand for skilled technology workers is on the rise.

CompTIA’s analysis reveals tech companies are looking for a broad range of skills in four specific areas of infrastructure, software development, cybersecurity, and data management. Across these four sectors, hiring companies are looking for mid-level workers with six to ten years of experience or early-stage workers with three to five years of experience. 

So how can the tech talent shortage impact your business?

Since 2010, in the U.S., tech-related jobs have grown by as much as 200,000 annually, as the U.S. economy is increasingly becoming reliant on skilled technology labor. 

As per a KPMG study, 65% of the 3000 technology leaders surveyed, named hiring challenges as the key factor that was impacting the industry. While these technologies are set to transform economies, there is a critical need for a capable workforce that can convert technical knowledge and exploit the immense potential of digital technologies.

  • Fintech is expected to face a tech labor shortage of more than ten million, leading to a $1.3 trillion revenue loss by 2030.
  • By 2030, Telecom and media will have to deal with a shortage of 4.3 million tech workers costing the industries $449.7 billion.
  • In the manufacturing sector, the deficit of tech workers will be as much as 7.9 million with a revenue loss of $607.1 billion.

Having the right IT talent and investing in upskilling your top talent are critical for business growth and success as technology will take center stage in the years to come.

How industry forecasts can be skewed

Your approach to IT staffing is key to finding the right IT talent. In the last 20 years there were three distinct periods of time when either employment was high and finding qualified candidates was difficult, or, there was a spike in unemployment and highly skilled candidates were in the market looking for a job.

The early 2000’s introduced the “dot.com era.” Dot.Com This was a time when IT employment was very high and qualified candidates were hard to find. It was a difficult choice for candidates because they were lured by the instant wealth: “stock options in a startup company” versus the opportunities provided by stable well-established companies. When Venture Capital eased, many of these dot.com startup companies failed, laying off thousands of IT personnel. It took years for this talent pool to find jobs.

Later that decade (starting in 2008) the financial crisis hit 2008 Financial Crisis, many large firms closed and firms closely related were also greatly impacted. The result: layoffs were significant. Large numbers of high caliber IT personnel were looking for a job. Many in the IT field found other opportunities outside of IT while others remained searching for years. Most never realized the same compensation levels they had prior to the financial crisis.

Third, these last few years we once again have high employment Current Employment (and the future looks very good for continued high employment Employment Forecast), resulting in limited availability of qualified IT talent. This once again puts pressure on companies to both retain current employees and attract qualified candidates. 

Economic changes happen, as we saw with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. We are still navigating our way through those changes, and although an employment forecast may contain the most current data available, it is still speculative. There is no way to determine what the future will bring. Overall, IT will remain an integral part of a company’s success. Retaining and attracting the right people with the right skills will surely be a constant.

 

 

Tweak Your Résumé For Technology Jobs

Author: Nick Kolakowski.

If you have zero urge to start searching or starting in new technology jobs, it’s still worth updating your résumé: You never know when you might need it on short notice. (For example, if you’re a federal employee furloughed by the recent shutdown, you might have to make a quick decision to pursue a new technology career in the private sector rather than wait for the government to re-open.)

And yes, technology’s unemployment rate remains low—but that doesn’t mean you can walk into any company and expect a technology sales job, technology management job or a the technology job you want. Indeed, employers are increasingly interested in tech pros with sophisticated sets of skills; those with machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.) knowledge, for example, are in higher demand than ever.

With all that in mind, it’s worth readjusting your résumé to highlight your most cutting-edge and relevant skills as well as your best experience relevant to the job you are applying for. Here’s how to proceed:

Skill Selection

Many tech pros throw every skill they’ve ever learned onto their résumé. That’s not a great idea, even if it isn’t wholly their fault; many job postings list pretty much every kind of technology ever invented as either a “requirement” or a “nice to have,” which makes candidates paranoid that they’re not putting down enough stuff.

Instead, technology professionals should choose only those most relevant to the position. For example, if the potential employer is looking for an iOS developer, you should detail your knowledge of Objective-C and Swift, as well as the iOS SDK and any other developer platforms vital to the company’s specialization. Leave off anything that isn’t indispensable; the hiring manager won’t care about that random language you learned ten years ago.

And yes, sometimes employers hiring will list weird things under “nice to have” skills; in a bid to cast as wide a net as possible, technology jobs descriptions might list twenty different programming languages and thirty types of “relevant” software. When in doubt, list what you know (and only what you know—your knowledge might be tested) that’s actually important to the job, and trust that your experience and background will help soothe any fears on the employer’s part that they’re not landing someone with the right abilities.

Focus on Wordsmithing

As you work your way through your résumé, follow these tips:

Avoid self-praise and exaggeration:
It gains you nothing, and hiring managers in technology can generally see right through it.

Use a conservative font:
Helvetica is a good one; so is Garamond, Didot, or Proxima Nova. Heck, if you want to really play it safe, go with Times New Roman, but don’t you dare use Comic Sans. (Also see the section below: “Don’t Get Funky with Formatting.”)

Don’t overuse buzzwords:
Describing yourself as a “self-starter”, “Team player” or “passionate” (among other terms) is clichéd.

Focus on results:
Instead of “just” listing what you did at each job, list the most notable accomplishments; even better, include numbers that indicate the degree of success (i.e., “My team’s app increased bottom-line revenues by 25 percent or this initiative increased business transaction processing by 11%.”). That gives your technology recruiter or HR staffer the best possible idea of your capabilities.

Don’t Get Funky with Formatting

Some technology pros are gripped by the urge to make their résumé “stand out” with funky formatting and images. This is a really bad idea. Many companies use automated software to scan incoming résumés for keywords; weird formatting could screw up those platforms’ ability to recognize what’s in your document. Make it easy for hiring managers and machines to read your résumé.

Sure, you can find all sorts of stories online about job candidates redesigning their résumés to resemble Amazon product pages, Instagram profiles, and even Airbnb pages, but you should regard all those cases as outliers; for the most part, recruiters and hiring managers just want basic information on your skills and experience. (The exception, of course, is designers, who may need to demonstrate a little more visual flair in their applications.)

Yes, You Need Outside Readers

Here’s a good reason to revamp your résumé well in advance: If you do it the night before a job posting expires (which happens more often than tech pros would like to admit—hey, you’re busy, okay?), nobody else will have a chance to scan it for errors. And even the most eagle-eyed writer occasionally messes up. Find two or three technology experts who are willing to give your writing a scan, and provide tips for the next draft—it will only improve your résumé.

5 Technology Job Phone Interview Tips

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Author: Dice Staff.

Not all technology job interviews take place in person; especially during the early stages of the hiring process, a tech pro will likely have to speak to technology recruiters, HR staff, hiring managers, and even potential colleagues on the phone.

While phone interviews offer several advantages—you don’t need to dress up, for example, or commute to an office somewhere—they also pose a unique mix of challenges, especially for those who are relatively inexperienced in interviewing for jobs. With that in mind, here are some quick, top-level tips for preparing yourself:

Schedule Carefully

Make sure you arrange your schedule so you can take your call in a calm environment; build in some “flex time” at the end, in case the interview runs longer than you expect. You should avoid doing your interviews while driving or walking; the interviewer could hear ambient noise and conclude that, because you chose to squeeze the interview into a commute, that you’re not fully serious about the position.

Limit Distractions

It’s tempting to take a phone interview while sitting in front of your PC or tablet. How else will you look up things the interviewer asks you about? But interviewing in front of a screen can distract you from the questions, which could prove disastrous—you don’t want to sound inattentive.

Take Notes Beforehand

You can’t be completely sure which questions the interviewer will ask, but you can write down a couple of handy talking points for reference during the talk. For example, list two or three projects where your skill set and experience made a positive difference; now you don’t need to frantically rack your brain for a good example of your work if the interviewer asks. You may also want to jot down your previous technology jobs —sometimes it’s easy to confuse your personal timeline when you’re feeling nervous.

Know Your Interviewer (and Company)

In any kind of interview, due diligence pays off: Make sure you spend some time researching both your prospective technology employer and the interviewer before you pick up the phone. Knowing how your potential future company works is imperative; knowing personal details about your interviewer is less so, although picking up a few details about his or her background and personality is liable to make you less anxious during the interview.

Follow Through

Remember to follow the post-interview formalities: Send your interviewer a quick note thanking them for the time and opportunity, highlight what you learned from the call and be sure to ask whether they need any additional information from you. Be proactive and make it easy for your interviewer to follow up and recommend you for the position internally. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you’ve sent the interviewer all your relevant materials, including your resume and any links to projects you’ve recently worked on.

Add Emotional Intelligence in Interviews for Technology Jobs

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Author: Dice Staff

Most people spend so much time preparing for the technical aspect of interviews for technology jobs —i.e., answering questions about their skill sets and job history—that many forget to bring a very important element: a little bit of emotional intelligence.

You’ve probably heard of emotional intelligence. Some people believe your “E.Q.”(sometimes referred to as “E.I.”) is as important as your I.Q. According to current thinking, those with high emotional intelligence are empathetic, keenly aware of both their emotions and those of others. That’s helpful in everything from collaboration to negotiation, as well as avoiding conflict.

It’s also helpful in interviews for  technology jobs. If your interviewer mentions anything personal—that they saw a particular movie, for example, or just returned from a vacation to a certain state—that’s your opportunity to (briefly) respond in a way that demonstrates a commonality between the two of you (for example: “I saw that movie, too!” or “Sure, I went there once! What did you like best about the place?”).

You can also use items in the interviewer’s office to create a connection. Is there a book on their shelf you’ve read? Mention it briefly. Do they have a tchotchke on their desk? That might be worth a quick discussion.

That being said, there are two important points to keep in mind:

  • Keep Responses Short:
    While a brief personal interaction can help humanize you to the interviewer, be cautious about over-sharing. You can mention that you also like a particular activity, or commiserate over a rough commute, but abstain from engaging in a lengthy monologue. You’re both there for professional reasons. Keep it short. Less is more.
  • Don’t Exhibit Too Much Emotion:
    Emotional intelligence is about empathy and connection, not immediately displaying your emotions to their fullest extent. Keep things calm; anger and sadness have a way of making interviewers uncomfortable.
  • Don’t Force It:
    While paying attention to the interviewer’s asides and emotional cues is a good thing, don’t try to force a personal moment in a situation if a natural opening hasn’t presented itself.

With a little bit of practice, you can quickly and easily establish a human connection with your interviewer, and leave a positive, lasting impression to help you get your dream technology management job.