At a time when each open IT position in a company represents an outright battle to find and hire a great tech pro, it’s easy to think that the best approach is to act quickly and bypass anything that seems like it might slow you down. In many cases, this may mean that departmental managers and executives are involved but may fail to take Human Resources into account. Fairly or not, HR is sometimes seen as a hindrance rather than a help, especially when hiring specialized talent like technical or IT workers. However, for those recruiting top tech talent, it’s necessary to understand the significant impact the HR department can have on hiring success or failure.
It All Begins with HR
The HR department is the public face of talent acquisition for most organizations. HR reps or recruiters are the ones posting job openings and reaching out to potential candidates. This is their job and they are generally well trained and know more about recruiting and hiring than the average department head. As applications and resumes come in, these same individuals are the first to review candidates, determining if they are qualified enough to continue through the recruiting process. Screening candidates is just one valuable service that HR recruiters can provide, saving the hiring manager time and effort. For those candidates who make it past the initial screening stage, HR corresponds with them, conducts preliminary phone interviews, and schedules further interviews with hiring managers. Again, all time savers.
When things go to plan, HR vets candidates and provides hiring managers with the cream of the crop, saving them from having to address a huge number of applicants. Do they know as much as you might about IT? Probably not. But if you partner with them, and give them the information that they need, their expertise and yours can combine to be powerful. When HR is not included from the start, great candidates could be turned away and unqualified ones could stick around, taking up valuable company time.
Avoiding Hiring Process Bottlenecks
Not only does HR own the initial quality control function for hiring new talent, it is also responsible for keeping things moving at a brisk pace. Today’s tech pros are in strong demand, and a slow hiring process will fail to recruit them. The organizations that are able to quickly move from initial contact to interview to offer are the ones that have the best chances of hiring great candidates. Unfortunately, this is an area where many organizations struggle. IT departments that try to take on the task themselves, don’t work closely with HR, or fail to give them the information they need to be effective contribute to the problem. You may know IT but you likely aren’t as well trained at recruiting, screening, vetting and hiring people. You are also busy with your primary job, and this can create slowdowns as surely as an HR recruiter without the right information will.
Speedbumps in the screening or hiring processes are not solely the fault of the HR department. The biggest slowdowns stem from a single reason: a lack of information. Sometimes an HR rep or recruiter is only given a sparse job description to help them determine which candidates are appropriate for an open role. As a result, they either risk selecting the wrong candidates or are forced to slow down the process to clarify things with a hiring manager. Nearly 25% of candidates lose interest in a role after just one week of no contact. Any internal confusion invites delays that can easily push a candidate into accepting a competitor’s offer. A team approach where both hiring department and HR work together produces the best results. It is the best way to ensure that the process moves forward quickly but effectively from start to finish.
Improving Communication Between Departments
Luckily, a lack of information can be remedied by placing an emphasis on the communication between HR and hiring managers from the outset of the hiring process. Before a job description is even created, there must be a consensus on precisely which qualities are sought in a candidate and what steps must be taken. After all, an HR rep or recruiter doesn’t need to have technical expertise in Java in order to recruit a developer, but they do need to know exactly what makes an applicant worthy of an interview. To that end, there are a number of questions that should be considered from the beginning:
- What is the ideal candidate’s technical skillset?
- Are you one of the 66% of organizations who plan to train new workers? If so, what is the bare minimum skillset required for further consideration?
- Are there any adjacent technical skills, certifications, or degrees not listed in the job description to consider?
- Is a background check, reference check, skills testing, or portfolio review necessary at any point in the process?
- Which qualities make a candidate a strong cultural fit with both the organization and the department in question?
- Who must interview candidates? What are their schedules, and can interviews be combined or scheduled back to back to expedite the process?
- Who must sign off on an offer? Can a compensation range be approved prior to interviews?
- What data can be tracked and analyzed to continuously improve the recruiting process? What technology can be leveraged to help?
HR’s Important Role in Recruiting Top Tech Talent
With everyone on the same page from the beginning, HR’s role can be a productive one that helps identify and deliver the right crop of candidates for an open position. Working with your HR department can produce great results and help keep a hiring manager focused on their primary job and not wasting time doing something someone else is better trained to do. For additional inspiration, public examples such as the University of California, Riverside’s detailed nine-step hiring process can provide a great outline for organizations competing for in-demand tech pros. In the end, taking a few extra hours to clarify strategy early on will foster a hiring process that is stronger, drastically shorter, and more professional.
At ATR, we pride ourselves on quickly delivering the right tech talent. Contact us today to see our process in action.