5 Tips To Avoid Scaring Away Top IT Talent

Original article by Sarah K. White, CIO Magazine
Stop scaring off your tech talent
Companies will be eager to hire the best and brightest college graduates as they enter the workforce. Making a mistake during the interview process is not something that candidates should worry about. Companies need to ensure they are equally prepared to interview these top talent.
Adam Ochstein, founder of StratEx, a Chicago-based company that provides human resources services and software, shares five tips to help you not scare away the people who you want to hire.
Interviews can be too boring. Companies understandably want their top talent to be ready for challenges. However, you need to be cautious about pushing them in the interview process. Although it is common for candidates to attend a few rounds of interviews, it is important to respect their time. When asking candidates to show their skills, be mindful of what they are able to do. If you want to attract the best talent, you need to strike a balance between difficult and easy. You shouldn’t be afraid of pushing your candidates but also be aware of when you might be wasting their time.
Ochstein says that top talent is always looking for challenges. They won’t take on a job if they don’t feel challenged. That’s what makes them great at their jobs, and they’re always open to new challenges. Ochstein says that rigorous interviewing is a great way to attract the best talent. You want people who are passionate about the job and eager for the challenge. Be careful not to push them too hard with projects that aren’t relevant to the job or make them jump through hoops that don’t make sense. Ochstein says that if the steps they are required to complete in the interview are not relevant to the job or don’t highlight or emphasize their talents, they will find it absurd and feel like they are wasting their time.
It’s too easy to make the interview process tedious or long. However, it’s important not to make it too easy or too fast. Your top talent will seek a challenge. If the process isn’t challenging them, they may assume that the role won’t push them. Ochstein says that a rushed or hurried interview process can make you appear desperate. This will quickly turn off top talent who want to work for the best companies. If they are that good, chances are they are being sought by other companies who, at least from the perspective of the candidate, are investing more in the interview process.
Ochstein says that top talent wants to be in a desirable place, but it’s hard to find. It shouldn’t be difficult to find the right balance between an overly intensive interview process and one that is too easy. Ochstein says, “I believe that successful interviews should include a series of challenges that require someone to jump through hoops. Because the good people will be excited about their ability to overcome those obstacles.”

You want to portray a positive picture. Your future employees can learn a lot about your company before they set foot in the door for a job interview. Ochstein says that any job seeker who is proficient in using LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Twitter can quickly discover the “good, the bad, and the ugly” about your company. Even if your company doesn’t need it, you should have a social media presence. Ochstein says that this is where new hires will be able to thoroughly vet the company before coming in for interviews. If they don’t find anything, they may overlook you.
Be careful not to exaggerate the positives and sweep the negatives under a rug. It’s easy to forget that every company has its dirty laundry. “There is no perfect place. Ochstein says that we become imperfectly perfect for the right people, so let them know what to expect once they start. It works both ways, he says. “We don’t want any surprises on them. They shouldn’t find any surprises about ourselves.” Make sure your company has a presence on social media. It’s one small step that can help you get the talent you need.
Unrealistic changes are being attempted. Everyone hears stories about Silicon Valley startups populated by twenty-somethings who play foosball on the clock, and then hit the keg in their breakroom. However, just because some companies are lenient about professionalism doesn’t mean that it’s the right way for all companies. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to put a foosball machine in the lobby or make a margarita bar in the kitchen when hiring top talent. This can make the business seem too difficult or inauthentic, especially if the culture isn’t right for the job.
Ochstein says that if your company attempts to change the culture of the internal organization to please the top candidates, it will ultimately hurt you. Ochstein says that it is important for companies to be true to themselves and their culture. This [culture] will usually emanate from the corners. It’s good for a company’s culture to change over time. However, it is not a good idea to alienate current employees by making radical changes to the culture that are geared towards new candidates. You can be strong and consistent, and you can also highlight your strengths and fix your weaknesses. This will speak volumes to job seekers who interview for your position.
You can’t learn from the mistakes of the past. Talking to past candidates can help you review the interview process and make it more enjoyable for candidates.

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