Here’s a bulletin. The face of technology is constantly changing. It evolves and morphs almost by the minute, and even the most gifted geeks are constantly challenged by those changes. Because of the nature of the techno-beast, it’s nearly impossible for the average business owner-entrepreneur to thoroughly comprehend what kind of help s/he needs in the technical world.
So, how are you to actually know what you need, and where to find the talented people who posses those skills?
Finding and hiring technical talent may be the most daunting task employers face today. Particularly if your vision involved cutting edge technology, you need to invest some extra time and money in finding the help you need. Your quest will involve far more than placing an astute, search engine optimized ad on Monster.com. Even the websites where these folks congregate can seem complicated and difficult to navigate for us mere mortals. As difficult as it all seems a few of your tried and true recruiting skills will serve you well in this situation. Here are a few common-sense tips that may help you as you start your recruitment efforts for tech savvy employees.
Do Your Homework
Unless you’re a Bill Gates type, you probably don’t spend enough time actually within your technical department to understand how even the most basic operations are supposed to work. For this reason, you may be the least qualified person to find technical talent for your own operation. Nevertheless, since you are the one signing the paychecks, you’ll still need to do some of the heavy lifting.
Begin by having long conversations with the people who do your technical work now. By spending time with them, you may learn not just what they do and how they do it, but also what they need in order accomplish their work well.
Talk to Software Developers You Know and Trust
As mentioned above, the key is to speak to folks who understand what happens in your IT and development departments. After you’ve mined the information in your own operation, it’s a good idea to get to know the competition. In this situation, you want to speak to others who have successfully navigated the shark infested waters of techno-recruitment. After all, when trial and error seems like the only way through the maze, it’s always best to learn from others errors. Attend a few workshops or technical job fairs at universities and familiarize yourself with the lay of the land.
Fish Where the Fish Live
Remember, you should thoroughly fish the waters of your own operation before looking for another lake. Your own operation is full of valued employees who have already proven that they fit within your company’s culture. There may be one or two employees who are capable of taking the next step up your corporate ladder. If not, they may be able to recommend somebody among their friends who is.
Using the list of keywords you captured in conversations with other techs, plan your online position announcements to include them. Understand that few of these folks will be old enough to have twenty years of experience in anything and, if they do, they are probably behind the times. The world of Internet Technology stands still for nobody. Go to job-boards to check out the “careers” pages of places like Microsoft, HP, Sony and others to see how the big boys do it, then follow suit.
Remember to add a link to your “careers” page everywhere your company is advertised so that your site is easy to find and the application process is easy.
Bring in Consultants
Hiring the wrong person for any position within your business is expensive, but you are at elevated risk of making a bad hire if you don’t speak the language of the people you’re recruiting. When you consider how high the price tag for a botched hire in this department could be, you may want to bring in the professionals. Head hunters, recruiters and, later, talent assessment firms who can test your pool of applicants are especially helpful in circumstances such as these.
Remember, the technically minded recruit is a different critter.
As challenging as finding a person whose talents you don’t thoroughly understand can be, you must not lose sight of the primary rule for hiring. Your first priority should always be to find the employee who comes to your team with the proper sense of loyalty and commitment. If your new employee has a bad attitude or will turn out to be disruptive in your work environment, you need to pass. In other words, pick the employee who is the good-natured candidate with moderate skills over the wiz-kid with an attitude every time.
Given the ever-changing nature of technology, hiring an individual with obvious potential is key. Planning to invest in further training and honing of this individual’s potential should be a given, particularly in the technical department. Incubating this kind of talent will pay off in the long run.
Hiring somebody whose bailiwick is unfamiliar to you can be a big gamble. Nevertheless, you may rely on familiar tools to find the right candidate. Consult with people you trust. Do your homework. Understand that in this particular field, things change so quickly that you’ll never find the perfectly skilled person. Look, instead, for the person whose potential shines through and who will be a good fit in your corporate culture. Your best bet is to hire somebody who is anxious to move forward with your company because you value his potential and his ability to be, perhaps, the world’s next Mark Zuckerberg.