You don’t leave a 20-year career without putting major thought into it. For a while, I had recognized that Starbucks, though providing me with an excellent foundation in management and leadership, was not where I wanted to keep my career. I was open to something that harnessed new skills and my untapped potential. Fortunately, I found it.
Within an hour of saying on LinkedIn I was open to work, Chris Cabe reached out to me and, after five interviews in one week, I was invited to join the Capstone IT family. The people, company, and values made my final decision a simple one on my end. Though I didn’t know what to fully expect by joining this technical recruiting solutions team, I soon recognized that many of the lessons I learned while working in the customer service and hospitality industries were a perfect fit for this position.
In the spirit of our servant partnership, I wanted to share how three particular lessons apply to IT hiring best practices. So, if you are having issues filling up vacant positions or asking yourself how to hire faster, these recruiting best practices can help you achieve your workforce goals.
Building Quick Relationships in a Noisy World
Our world is very fast-paced, and there are lots of distractions. With portable computers in our pockets and social media competing for our attention, we’re lucky if people have the attention span of a goldfish (some studies suggest that we don’t!). As I learned within the customer service industry, you only have a short amount of time to make an impression on someone and create micro-connections that keep people coming back for more (anyone who feels like a regular at a coffee shop can tell you the power of that feeling).
How does that lesson apply to job seekers? For starters, businesses as well as recruiters need to make strong bonds in the short time they’re given. Whether in an email or on a call, I keep the conversation short, sweet, and to the point. I’ve figured out which questions get to the bottom of candidates’ needs, wants, and visions for their career – and I ask them.
Even then, I’ll follow up to keep touch points current and candidates freshly engaged. To break free from the noise, regular communication is key – even if there is nothing new to report. Simply saying “The company is still making their decision” can help to establish a relationship built on open communication. As in most situations, it’s the waiting that is worse than the actual news (even if an organization decides to pass on a candidate).
Another way I build a relationship is giving candidates partial responsibility for the interaction. Since I’m only human, I ask that they keep me on the hook and reach out if they don’t hear back from me in a timely manner. I ask “Can you hold me accountable for what I said I’d do?” Of course, I’m working to keep the ball rolling, but this gives candidates permission to reach out at the frequency that feels right for them and shows that I’m approachable and willing to help.
Investing in Candidates’ Careers
There are so many transactional interactions in our daily lives. Most people would agree that their trip to the store or drive through the fast-food lane are surface-level exchanges, but plenty of “professional” interactions are no better than going through the motions. Think of every uninspired cold-sales email or request to connect from an inattentive recruiter and you’ll catch my drift.
It’s no surprise that people crave engagement and investment – and unfortunately most aren’t receiving that on the job or in their professional lives. I recently read a survey conducted by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence which determined that 85% of employees feel their employers are not doing enough to support their careers. For companies eager to draw those under-stimulated people into their flock, showing you’re invested in the career progression of a candidate is a way to win over their hearts and minds.
One major way to do this is by treating every candidate interaction as an opportunity to build mutually beneficial connections. When you connect with people who show promise – even if they are not the perfect fit for your role – it’s important to take some time to invest in them. As a recruiter, I use these moments to get to know candidates, asking questions to see the big picture for their career and determine what will motivate them to take a leap of faith.
In some instances, that allows me to coach technical candidates, explaining how to present themselves and showcase their most appealing qualities to potential employers. As a result, my customers can see the value of the candidates I submit upfront, envisioning how a technical person will fit into their organization and culture, all with limited effort on their part.
Understanding What Makes a Good Employee
You need to ask yourself: what makes a good employee? What are the qualities that ensure that one person will thrive while another one falls short of expectations? Organizations that have a firm sense of that criteria will just be better at identifying top performers and attracting them to their business.
At Capstone, we know what makes an exceptional team member: it’s their ability to embody our values. Their hard-working nature and drive to execute projects in the right way – no cutting corners and no poor communication. That said, Capstone gives our people the psychological safety to fail forward, meaning we give them the freedom to take calculated risks, learn from mistakes, and do something better. In that way, we attract people who crave the freedom to decide and do what’s right in the moment.
Before you hire someone, it’s important to reevaluate those intangible skills which make someone a great fit. Does your organization thrive on creativity? Do you expect people to follow processes and maintain strict regulatory compliance? Is collaboration a cornerstone or do you rely upon independent self-starters? Doing some soul-searching in advance of posting your job advertisement will save you frustration in the future.
A Final Thought
I realize in a number of these situations, business leaders may feel they don’t have the time to participate in these practices. Running a department or company is busy work (believe me, I know from opening and managing several Starbucks franchises over the years). However, I would be doing you a disservice if I said you could skip these steps and still find people who can realize your business goals.
Whether you decide to shoulder these responsibilities on your own or choose to work with an IT staffing firm, you cannot sacrifice these three lessons. However, by giving them their due, you can improve your chances of hiring the right people for your business in 2022 and beyond.
Want to learn how to differentiate your business as part of your IT hiring best practices? Look at the methods Capstone IT follows to improve our chances of attracting and hiring perfect people.