Winning the war for IT talent

How do you find and recruit top technical skills?

If you have sufficient vacancies, hire or retain someone who has a track record of sourcing IT talent and give them everything they need to do it even better. The people you really want are unlikely to have their CVs in the market so you need to find them and be willing to pay well to hire them. Make sure the net is wide enough so that even with a low hit rate you have a sufficient pool at the start of the process. [1 of 5 paragraphs]

Effective interviewing comes with practice but generally the classic adage is true – you will have a strong sense of suitability within the first 5 minutes. Either way you will spend the rest of the interview testing your hunch. I know a tech firm that only hires gamers into their dev teams — make sure you have one or two key questions for specific roles eg for a scrum master try some of these questions, a tester; these questions. [2/5]

Use a competency test, it will give you an extra data point which you may disagree with but will confirm your position on the candidate. Psychometric testing is very useful – remember coders are humans too and everyone needs to work in teams. A programmer can’t be just good, she has to be great – Bill Gates said “a great writer of software code is worth 10,000 times the price of an average software writer.” [3/5]

Get a second opinion from someone you trust or from whoever that candidate is likely to be working with. I usually get the business owners of a project to interview prospective project managers. If they don’t like them, don’t hire them. If it does go well not only have you kickstarted the PM’s relationship with his business counterpart before they have even started but you’ve also demonstrated trust with your business colleague. [4/5]

Get references; ask permission from the candidate first but spend time on the phone with people who worked with that person when they were in the role you are hiring them for. A good tip: ask open ended questions and let the person speak! (Learn how and why to keep your mouth shut here.) Spend time on the entire recruiting process and you will see better results; take good counsel along the way and don’t rush it – top people are worth the effort. [5/5]

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