5 most common problems employers in selecting IT specialists from the point of view of a recruiter-outsourcer

This article is based on my presentation at HR Meetup # 5, held on October 5, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don.

About myself

My name is Igor Sheludko.

I am an entrepreneur in the field of software development and sales since 2000. I have a higher technical education. I started my career as a programmer, also led small teams.

About a year and a half ago, I engaged in the commercial recruitment of IT specialists - that is, not only for myself and my projects, but in favor of outside companies. In 2018, I “closed” 17 rather complex vacancies for 10 companies. There were about a dozen companies with which I worked, but could not or did not manage to help. Basically, I selected web developers, I had to select analysts and project managers.

Over the past year, I spoke closely on the selection issues with both company and project managers and HR specialists and have accumulated a number of interesting observations that I want to share with you. I saw the problems of companies from the outside, I was not obliged to adapt to them or to help companies justify their failures. If I saw problems that I could not solve, I simply refused the order.

Probably, I will not make any discoveries for you, most likely I will repeat what you have already heard or read before.

What is the article about

An article about common problems in the process of selecting IT specialists who create for themselves both the leaders in IT companies and recruiters. At times, it may seem that I criticize those methods that you personally like and you think that it works fine for you. If in your opinion I say nonsense, then please write about it in the comments.

Problems are not sorted by importance, but rather in the order of their manifestation when selecting a new employee.

Introductory information

As usual, the selection of specialists works. There are two main strategies. The difference between them is who takes the initiative to start active communication - a recruiter or a candidate.
I conditionally call the first one “passive search” - this is when an employer or a recruiter creates a vacancy and spreads it through a variety of channels and resources, after which it waits for feedback and processes them - it sorts candidates into worthy and unworthy for further study.

Obviously, this strategy works well when the employing company is well-known, prestigious. Working in it is reliable and profitable. This option also works well for mass selection and for a number of specializations in IT. For example, when you need interns, juniors, when qualifications are not high. Also, this option works fine for programmers, in cases where long-known and popular technologies are used (maybe even outdated technologies). When there are a lot of specialists, the demand for them is not excessive and they respond well to vacancies.

I conditionally call the second “active search” - this is when you are combing places of candidates' accumulation, starting from the resume bases (such as headhunters and my circle) and I don’t even know where the borders of this path end. Visiting conferences, meetings and even just parties where potential candidates gather is also an active search.

Problem No. 1 - Choosing a Candidate Search Strategy

Among IT HRs and executives, there is often an opinion that the “passive search” path is not effective and it is necessary to actively “hunt” in order to find a good candidate. I noticed that they talk about this almost as often as saying that cold calls no longer work in sales. The root of both problems, in my opinion, is the incorrect application of the technique.

Active search and “hunting” is a complex, costly and time-consuming job, so carriers of the “hunting” idea usually do not want to do this on their own. They almost always look for someone to delegate to this - managers dream of hiring a clever HR or an external recruiter who knows how to “hunt”. And HRs want an outsourcing recruiter who has his own “secret” channels and candidate databases. This person is required to actively “hunt”, create a stream of candidates, not only from those available on the market, but also those who are not actively looking for work.

I met carriers of such ideas. They insisted that they themselves rummaged through HH and there was no need to search there, they certainly needed candidates from other channels. I successfully found candidates for HH and closed vacancies, I only had to mask the resume so that they did not understand that these candidates with HH were not upset.

What is wrong with Hunting?

Firstly, if the “passive search” does not at all give the responses of relevant candidates within, say, a month, then this clearly indicates that something is wrong with your vacancy. Or you have described there a mythical creature that does not occur in real life. Or your offer is very bad and no one wants to do business with you. Why the proposal may be bad and how to improve it I will consider a little later.

My recommendation is very simple - “tighten up” the vacancy until it starts to give more or less relevant candidates. And only after that it makes sense to start actively searching in order to increase the flow of candidates if you have few who have come. The first thing I do when I take an order to work is to find out in detail the requirements and previous search experience. Then I rewrite the vacancy in my own way and post it on HH. Based on feedback and communication with candidates, I draw conclusions about what should be corrected for vacancies.

Secondly, in order to “hunt”, that is, to attract people who are currently in dire need of new work, it is necessary to offer better conditions than candidates now and better than the average for the market.

If you are not ready to fight in an auction for a candidate to the very end, offering the best conditions, then most likely “hunting” will not bring you the desired result. Usually, attempts to “hunt” without readiness to make a very attractive offer lead to the following situation. You actively "lick" the candidate and he is being interviewed. Then you give him your pretty typical offer. He mildly refuses you and, relatively speaking, “hangs your offer on his trophy wall”. As soon as he is slightly offended at his current job, he takes a pack of offers from his trophy wall and goes to the authorities to prove his worth. Most often, this ends with an increase in salaries in the current place and a reasonable increase in the self-esteem of the candidate. If he is fired, then he will go to the companies that made him the offers and, possibly, resume negotiations with you.

Effective “hunting” requires the employer to be prepared and prepared to make the best offer possible for the candidate. You need to make decisions quickly, and give candidates little time to think - literally 2-3 days.

Problem No. 2 - Vacancy Packaging

How to improve your results in passive search?

First you need to accept this idea: recruiting is a sale. Your vacancy is a product called "work in our company." For this product, the candidate pays you the most valuable and limited resource - the time of his life. You offer him money, and in return he gives you his life. Money, of course, is an important thing, but you can get it in a lot of ways in different places. You can even save and manage small by doing work that you like. But a person’s life is one and it is very short-lived.

As you yourself understand, good quality and attractively packaged goods are sold much better than whipped packaged goods. Nobody likes sellers who “cheat”, mislead, speak stupid pathos or try to immediately create hierarchical relationships in which the employer is superior to the candidate.
To improve your vacancy, study at least a little modern approaches to sales, read about customer focus, customer development. In the text of the vacancy, start talking mainly not about yourself, but about the candidate. Tell the reader of your vacancy about the benefits of working in your company for him. At the same time, you need to be sure that these are really significant advantages. You can learn about these benefits by talking to employees who already work for you. Ask them why they chose this company, what expectations were met, and which are not, why they continue to work here, how they would recommend your company to their friends.

Do not clutter up the beginning of the vacancy with the praises of your company. Not much can be compared in the degree of disgust, which is caused by the pathos of praising the company for several paragraphs at the beginning of the vacancy text. If it seems to you that the candidate definitely needs to know about your company, at the beginning of the vacancy, when mentioning the name of the company, give a link to your candidate promo website, where everything is described in detail. If you really want to nevertheless write a few paragraphs about the company directly in the vacancy, then better do it at the end. Respect your reader - first give important information for him, and then additional information that seems important to you.

Before publishing a vacancy, it is worth testing several text options on your employees and then testing the changes in the publication process, communicating with candidates, asking what exactly attracted them to the vacancy. Experiment, test and track.

Problem No. 3 - Too Many Selection Steps

Selection is a funnel, a pipe into which candidates enter at a certain speed. If the pipe is long and the path along it is long, then the candidates “fall out” and do not reach the end. They accept offers from other companies whose selection is easier and faster.

A normal, comfortable selection procedure is one call to fill the gaps in the resume and one interview, during which the professional skills are checked. If you need the opinion of several experts, why not bring them all together or record an interview, of course, with the permission of the candidate. After a large and detailed interview, you can give a test task.

A large and complex test task requiring more than 2-3 hours is bad. Firstly, the candidate should spend his time, for example, go to interviews in other companies. Secondly, time is money and only low-skilled personnel are ready to work for a long time for free.

If you want to certainly give a difficult task, then at least come up with an interesting, original task, from the completion of which the candidate will receive some benefit for himself. Better yet, come up with a few test cases and let the candidate choose one of them. If the task requires more than 3 hours to complete, offer a payment or a bonus for successful completion.

Testing before an interview is generally a very bad practice. There are still companies trying to do this. If you are not Yandex, Mail.ru or Avito, then most likely every first candidate will not do your test before the interview. In order to want to do a test task, the candidate must talk with a company representative, ask his questions, hear after the interview that he is interesting to the company. After you sincerely communicate, the test task looks more appropriate.

Problem No. 4 - Differences between job requirements and real requirements

I often come across vacancies where the requirements set forth in the text differ markedly from the real ones. Typically, the requirements are written by the development manager or team leader or someone else who understands the needs. And then, according to these requirements, the recruiter searches for candidates, clarifies their experience according to the requirements and organizes an interview.

In large companies, it is often revealed at first interviews that candidates are weak. Also, there is often another extreme - when in the requirements of the vacancy everything is described that hypothetically may come in handy. As a result, a vacancy describes a mythical creature that does not occur in real life.

What to do in such situations?

First you need to determine what exactly our desired employee will do every day, what tasks he will solve. To do this, you need to "try" the person who wrote the requirements, on the subject of how often this or that knowledge and skills specified in the vacancy will be required. You need to persistently try, until he tells everything. Until you find out the real requirements, the work will be wasted, not only from you, but also from colleagues who conduct interviews.

Issue 5 - “Dumb HRs”

It’s not a secret to anyone that among programmers and other “arrogant computer scientists” it is generally accepted that recruiters are “dumb”. This opinion is based on the observation that recruiters often really have little command of terminology and domain concepts.
What can a recruiter do? To study - to study the activities of the company, to know how work processes are organized, what technologies are used, to understand in general terms the essence of the tasks and the tools used.

What can a company leader do? You need to make sure that your recruiter understands sufficiently how your company works, what projects it does, what technologies it uses. Train the recruiter with the help of some technical specialists and check the knowledge gained with the help of other specialists. Continue until you get a satisfactory result. Such work will not take too much time, but you will be sure that your recruiter does not give the impression of a "dumb" one.

Also popular now: