The talent shortage facing today’s global IT industry is undeniable, and it’s no secret that there are more jobs to fill than there are qualified candidates to fill them. Consider this: by 2030, a projected global human talent shortage of 85 million people could result in about $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues, according to studies.
While the global shift to remote work has widened the pool of candidates, it has also widened the competition for organizations looking to hire the best talent. And although your competitors may be able to offer candidates higher salaries or better benefits, this doesn’t automatically mean your organization is out of the running.
In the highly competitive global IT marketplace, there are three keys to ensuring your organization can attract (and retain) the best talent.
Define Audiences and Create Candidate Personas
The first thing talent acquisition teams should prioritize is knowing their audiences and intentionally thinking about the different candidate personas they are trying to attract – not only today, but also in the future.
It’s critical for talent acquisition teams and hiring managers to take the time to explore the different cultures related to the various markets they are operating in and to understand what messages and incentives resonate with the different types of people they are trying to draw into the organization.
What is important and engaging for a software developer in India won’t necessarily be considered important or enticing to a software developer in Bulgaria. The same principle applies to nearly every other position and region across the board.
There is also a large talent pool that has yet to enter the workforce, and hiring managers should already be thinking about that audience and positioning their organization to get in front of that talent.
One example of how an organization can create a pipeline of new talent getting ready to enter the workforce is with a structured internship program. If a college student interns with an organization, does a good job and has a positive experience, that employer is effectively creating a talent bench of people who are ready to be hired as soon as they graduate.
Develop Employer Brand and Showcase Culture
When trying to attract and retain the best talent in the competitive global IT sector, one of the most important actions an organization can take is publicly showcasing its employer brand and company culture in a truthful, authentic manner.
Social media is one of the easiest, most effective ways to do this. A strong social media presence that provides visibility into your organization’s inner workings, corporate social responsibility, mission and values, learning and development opportunities, diversity and team bonding activities allows potential candidates to get a glimpse into what it might be like to actually work there.
When it comes to attracting younger talent and those who have recently entered the workforce, your organization’s social media brand presence is not only important, it’s critical. In fact, 58% of Gen Z and Millennial jobseekers with work experience search for information about potential employers on social media, and 48% have applied to job opportunities they found on social media, according to a study conducted by The Harris Poll.
It’s clear that when it comes to hiring, Gen Z and Millennials are turning to social media, whether it’s to find job openings or to assess what your company culture is like, but they’re also willing to get involved in company social media if employers simply ask.
Organizations can establish an employer brand ambassador program with existing employees to exponentially amplify their social media presence. Crowdsourcing social media efforts within your organization has a multitude of benefits including generating higher-quality content, increasing audience reach for that content and bolstering engagement levels.
Employer brand ambassador programs also have the added benefit of capturing the magic moments behind the scenes of your organization that make it a unique place to work, from feel-good stories about managers who specially recognized a team member, to fun inner-team traditions like weekly trivia, to special moments of hilarity or kindness during virtual happy hours. Your organization’s employees are uniquely positioned to showcase your brand in a way that no one person or team could ever demonstrate on their own.
Talent acquisition teams should also ensure they are working closely with their organization’s marketing team to help maintain the organization’s brand identity across all platforms and channels. From Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Glassdoor, the content that’s being posted by and about your organization is a reflection of your overall employer brand.
Research has shown that the majority of candidates who are seriously considering a job offer will look at their potential new employer’s social media profiles for any potential red flags before making a decision about whether to join the company or not.
Prioritize and Personalize Candidate Experience
Finally, the last and arguably most important piece of the puzzle in helping organizations solve their global IT hiring challenges is ensuring the best possible candidate experience. This helps distinguish your organization from other companies out there vying for the same talent and also because the candidate experience is essentially the brand experience at the end of the day. In fact, 78% of candidates say the overall candidate experience they receive indicates how a company values its people.
Candidates have reported withdrawing from the recruiting process because of the candidate experience. The top three reasons:
- Disrespect during interviews
- Poor rapport with the recruiters
- The hiring process simply took too long
A negative candidate experience also has potentially harmful ramifications for your brand. According to research, 72% of candidates with a negative experience will tell others about it or post about it online. That’s not the kind of word-of-mouth any employer brand wants to spread about their organization.
So, how do we perfect the candidate experience? The first step of this long, holistic process requires meticulously and carefully reviewing the entire journey – starting from the moment an individual decides to apply for a role at your organization, all the way up until their first day on the job – and looking at what’s happening at each stage of the process.
Organizations should ensure the process is as easy, accessible and straightforward as possible. Is it simple for them to apply online, or does your organization require them to go through ten steps and provide excessive amounts of information? If the answer is the latter, talent acquisition teams should refine the process.
Throughout the entire candidate journey, frequent communication is key. Candidates should be updated along every step of the process and kept in the loop on the next steps or thoughtfully and timely informed of why they are not right for the position.
The interview stage is where your hiring team really has the chance to shine. The candidate’s resume and experience should be thoughtfully reviewed in advance by all team members conducting the interview. This shows the individual you are genuinely interested in them and appreciate and value their time. As well, specific questions based on their experience should be asked, and the team should also give the candidate a chance to provide feedback and ask any questions they may have.
A survey conducted in the U.S. suggests that as high as 93% of job seekers experience anxiety as a result of interviews. A great candidate experience can be a good way of relieving stress among candidates, enabling them to focus on showing your team their best qualities and skills.
Final Thoughts: Solving Global IT Hiring Challenges
In today’s candidate-driven global market, candidates often have their choice of job offers. That’s why it’s crucial for an organization’s hiring managers and talent acquisition teams to prioritize knowing their audience, developing their employer brand and perfecting the candidate experience. When these three components work together in perfect harmony, your organization has the best chance of hiring the right candidate for the job and attracting the right talent to your company.
As the Director of Talent Acquisition for Progress, Alina Gaber is responsible for the organization’s overall talent acquisition strategy and leads a global team of talent acquisition specialists in North America, Europe and Asia. She works closely with business leaders across the company to identify solutions to find the right people for their teams against Progress' priorities and the specifics and dynamics of different markets. A priority for Alina and her team is to develop Progress' employer brand and create a positive "experience" for job candidates in the company throughout the entire selection process - from CV submission through interviews to communicating the decision on a job opportunity. Alina joined Progress in 2015 and has more than 16 years of international experience in creating IT recruitment strategies.
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