A fast-paced economy and competitive markets call for effective teams to reach quality results. When we look closely at this equation, the essential factor for success is the human component. How can we predict that someone will fit well and "click" with the existing team?
To reach that, effective employment processes are vital and that's where talent acquisition comes in. It is especially important in the world of IT, where the constant need for engineers is yesterday's news and acquiring new team members can be pretty challenging.
Some jokingly call recruiting engineers a reversed Tinder situation, where girls look for and write to guys while they ignore them. Yet, not even starting to criticize this stereotype, it is clear that recruiting in the tech industry is much more than that. Why?
Talent Acquisition Specialist — an Engineer's Best Friend
Call it how you want: recruiting, headhunting, scouting or talent acquisition. Either way, these professionals have or at least should have your back. Why? Because a good talent acquisition specialist (let's call her Lucy for a shorter version) is the one who cares and constantly questions two things:
- How do you feel when going through the recruitment process?
Lucy always strives to give candidates the best possible experience, even if it turns out we are not a good match.
- How will the current team benefit from this?
Psychological research shows that who you are, affects how you behave and interact with other people. We can compare team members' personalities operating like different functions of a single organism. Therefore, finding a good match in technical terms as well as personality-wise is crucial.
At the end of the day, Lucy tries to be an engineer's best friend. Leading the candidate through the recruitment process is only her first task. Fighting for them if someone else at the company doubts their abilities is another.
Finally, she will also not forget about a newbie when they become part of the company. After all, Lucy is always looking for a win-win situation, where a new member should ideally be the missing puzzle piece needed to fight upcoming company challenges.
The 6 Tasks When Searching for Talent
To cover all mentioned goals, Lucy has to take several steps. Putting it simply, she needs to go through her regular tasks consistently, some daily and others weekly.
Those tasks are:
1. Acquiring Information
What does the company need at that exact moment? Front-end or back-end engineers? For which technology, stacks? Seniority? All of these things come into consideration.
2. Searching for the Candidates
Why is the search not just a reversed Tinder situation? It's much more complex because Lucy is not looking for a candidate that would catch her eye on the first impression. Before 'swiping right,' she needs to check if he is compatible with the team's vibe, shares values and work ethic, and is technically a good match for the company's needs. Finally, he may as well be a she! Not to mention that good gender balance is always appreciated and improves team harmony.
3. Contacting the Candidates
When Lucy finds the candidates, it's time to make the first move. She tries to get to know as much as possible about them before writing a message that will catch their attention.
4. Interviewing the Candidates
Score! The candidate wants to meet with Lucy and hear more about the possibility of working together. They jump on a call where she introduces the company and commits to getting a clear picture of the candidate's motivation, values, experience, and (apparent) personality traits. After getting familiar with all the information mentioned above, Lucy and the candidate determine if they want to continue with the next steps.
5. Following up With the Assignment
After the first introduction is done, a technical part follows. Usually, Lucy will send the candidate an assignment or challenge to evaluate their technical skills. When completed, they might also go through it in a technical interview in order to get a deeper insight into candidates' knowledge. During this task, Lucy acts as a middle link. She coordinates meetings between the candidate and her colleagues from tech departments who jump in for the assessment.
6. Sealing the Deal
If all of the above runs smoothly and each side meets the expectations, it's a pretty good chance that an engineer will start working on an awesome new project shortly and the team has gained a new valuable member.
Skills To Have Up Your Sleeve When on a Lookout
It's not always rainbows and butterflies or genuine conversations with charming candidates while having a cup of hot coffee. Finding an excellent talent match for your company takes a lot of time, effort, flexibility, thoroughness, and — nevertheless — patience.
For someone to become great at it, besides talent, experience is the key. Still, here are some abilities that can help predict a recruiter's success:
- Communication Skills
A responsive, friendly, and positive approach with an open attitude is the way to go. Communication is crucial when it comes to team syncs and being the glue between the candidate and the company. Moreover, this doesn't only apply to talking. Active listening is also a must.
- Accuracy Skills
A talent acquisition specialist deals with a lot of information related to the hiring process and candidates themselves. Therefore, an eye and ear for detail are extremely important. You don't want to miss out on anything. It could result in poor candidate experience, wasted time and hiring resources.
- Research Skills
If you're prepared to dig deeper than just a simple Google (re)search, a career in talent acquisition can be your dream job. Sourcing for candidates, learning about their background, finding good practices to improve your work and being up to date with the latest trends is part of the weekly agenda.
- Digital Skills
Digitalization makes the world go around and the IT recruiting world is not an exception. Be prepared to bring some digital skills to the table. A can-do attitude will also come in handy when learning about new tools you're not familiar with yet.
Last but definitely not least, flexible nature is more than nice to have. The only constant thing in your everyday job life will be change. If you struggle with this, you're going to have a hard time adjusting to this role — nevertheless, to the whole IT world in general.
Working in talent acquisition might seem demanding, but on the other hand, your gains can be tremendous. Firstly, your soft skills will hugely improve. Secondly, you will meet a bunch of talented people and work in an enjoyable environment where overcoming challenges will be on the daily menu. Finally, finding an excellent match for the team will feel like a victory over and over again.
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