Talent Recruitment Challenges
As a result of the dot com meltdown and the decline of the NASDAQ in 2001, many organizations had no alternatives but to lay off many talented IT professionals. Currently, the pool of available talent in the labour market is large. Over the long haul, the impact of shifting population demographics on the labour pool will be staggering. As the baby boom generation continues to age, we can expect acute labour shortages similar to the ones we experienced in the high technology sector during the dot com boom. While there is still a surplus of talent in the market, it is important for organizations to take proactive steps to attract the brightest and the best and thereby fuel their organization's growth. The days of placing ads in the newspaper and receiving a flood of resumes from qualified applications are drawing to a close. Companies that want to ensure that they have a steady stream of applicants will have to think outside the box to broaden their repertoire of talent recruitment strategies.
For high technology organizations, attracting, hiring and retaining the right talent is critical. Add the right players to your team and you have a key source of competitive advantage. Attract the wrong talent and you will have difficulty meeting your strategic goals and objectives. Your first challenge is to generate a large enough talent pool from which you can draw when searching for top talent. The second is to develop an effective process for screening and selecting the best candidates.
Out of the Box Recruitment Strategies
Putting the right long and short term strategies in place will ensure that you attract the right talent now and into the future. Short term strategies to explore include:
When we recently conducted our behaviour based interviewing workshop in Singapore, a Vice-President who attended the session indicated that his company had sponsored an employee's participation in a high profile sporting event. The company received so much publicity and exposure that it was more than worth their while to allow the employee to take time off to attend practices and compete in the event.
Longer term strategies could/might include:
Some of these strategies may seem far fetched but the talent has to come from somewhere. If we don't help the schools to grow it, the talent may not be there for us to buy when we need it.
Other long term strategies involve positioning your organization as an employer of choice. A lot of it has to do with the corporate culture that you shape and the way you treat your employees. During the last recession, some employers took advantage of the fact that it was a buyer's market. They offered new employees rock bottom wages and treated the members of their team in a harsh and demanding manner. When the economy picked up, those organizations experienced a mass exodus of talent and severe talent retention challenges. It is important to learn the right lessons from their experience. Some long term strategies to explore include:
initiating tele-commuting, flex hours, job sharing, and part-time work to tap into the female labour force on a long term basis;
Key Skills for Turbulent Times
Once you have ensured that your organization has access to a pool of talented IT professionals, the next step is to be rigorous in your screening and selection processes. To be successful in the turbulent high technology industry, employees need much more than strong technical skills. They must also be able to:
It can be challenging to assess how well candidates will fit your environment. During periods of job shortages and intense competition the job market, candidates develop strategies to present themselves favorably during traditional interviews. Many candidates receive:
This preparation can mask a candidate's deficiencies. Although interviews are the most widely used selection tool, they are not the best predictor of on the job performance. Strategies such as assessment centres, job samples and rigorous reference checks will uncover much more reliable data. Whenever possible, these strategies should be used in conjunction with selection interviews.
Interviewing Do's and Don'ts
To ensure that interviews yield the best possible data on which to base selection decisions here are some tips to share with your executive and management teams. First let's look at some interviewing pitfalls:
Here are a few ideas to help your team improve the effectiveness of their selection interviews:
A Blast From the Past
These articles from the height of the dot com boom, are important reminders of the labour market of the future. They suggest many strategies that you can use to build a talent recruitment strategy to fuel your companies long term growth:
Executives' Interviewing Skills Need Polishing http://www.trainingreport.ca/update/0202002.cfm
Recruiting Strategies, Screening , Inc. Magazine http://www.inc.com/magazine/19991015/14323.html
Hiring Committee Measures People for Culture Fit, Inc. Magazine http://www.inc.com/articles/1999/10/15204.html
Wanted Help, Red Herring Magazine http://www.redherring.com/ArticlePreview.aspx?url=%2fArticle.aspx%3fa%3d6866&a=6866
Star Search, Red Herring Magazine http://www.redherring.com/ArticlePreview.aspx?url=%2fArticle.aspx%3fa%3d1633&a=1633
Anne Thornley-Brown, MBA is President of Executive Oasis International. Executive Oasis International offers executive retreats, executive consulting and team building for executive teams from rapidly changing organizations in Canada, Jamaica and Asia. Anne has travelled to Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, India, and Thailand) 7 times and trained over 900 executives, managers and professionals from a variety of industries (high technology, wireless communications, transportation, banking , insurance, petro-chemical) to improve their talent recruitment and interviewing skills. Anne Thornley-Brown has extensive experience in recruitment interviewing. She designed and executed the strategy for behavioural interviewing at Bell Mobility. For over 4 years, she helped Bell Mobility's vice-presidents, directors and managers in finance, engineering, sales, and marketing improve their hiring decisions. Telus Mobility, one of Canada's fastest growing wireless communications firm, retained the services of her company, to build one of its departments from the ground up. In partnership with FIK International (http://www.fikintl.com) Anne has also coached small business owners and helped them to recruit the right talent. Visit http://www.executiveoasis.com for additional information.
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