For the latest Smart Cookies Breakfast Club, Iain Blair (MD – Revoco) shared the good the bad and the ugly of tech recruitment from 25 years in the business.
There is very little Iain hasn’t seen in the tech talent world – his experience in agency recruitment and in running in-house (outsourced) talent functions has given him the full spectrum of what success looks like. He offered up a snapshot of how to successfully attract and hire talent in 2021 and some simple do’s and don’ts.
You can watch the replay below or read on for a summary.
Talent acquisition can be a messy business. The technology talent pool is constantly changing and recruiting that talent gets ever more challenging.
Your options for recruitment:
- Engaging with an agency
- DIY (direct model)
- Hybrid (internal talent team but still engage with agencies)
However you do it, it’s going to cost money. One of the biggest misconceptions around recruitment is that DIY will be your cheapest option but that just isn’t the case.
First things first – it is going to cost you money. Glassdoor puts cost per hire in the UK at around £3k-£3,500 across all sectors but you can most likely double that for tech hiring.
Dos and don’ts of working with agencies
- Engagement – it sounds obvious but the engagement you have with your partner is critical. Do you enjoy the conversations/meetings with your supplier? Do you look forward to talking to them about your next recruitment challenge? If it’s a massive dread and you don’t get the value then you haven’t got the engagement and it’s time to find a new supplier!
- Qualification – how long has your agency taken to understand your job qualification? It’s no different to gathering requirements for a new project – recruiters should take time to really understand everything about your organisation and the role. Only then can they represent it properly and find you the right people.
- Representing your brand – are you happy for this agency to be representing your brand in a competitive market?
- Trust – with any supplier relationship trust is key. Do you believe what the agency is telling you?
- Innovation – what else do they do, what other services do they provide? How have they innovated over the last year, six months? Do your due diligence.
- Don’t keep them at arm’s length – if you’re keeping them at arms length it’s probably because you don’t trust them and aren\t enjoying the engagement.
- Negotiate too hard – you risk becoming unattractive as a client and divert their attention to higher paying roles/clients
- Put them into a race – if you’re working with someone you trust and knows your market, it’s wise to leave it with them rather than put the role out to a few suppliers at a time. Quality can go out the window as speed is of the essence.
- Ignore them – engagement goes both ways! If they have questions or want feedback on a CV, be sure to give that to them. The less responsive you are the lower priority you’ll be.
- Fall for the traps from the ugly side of recruitment – there are still some agencies that have bad business practice. If it looks too good to be true it usually is. Some go as far as making up an ideal candidate, let you book interviews in with someone who doesn’t exist so they can follow up with real CVs.
The PSL (Preferred Supplier List) is the most commonly used but least efficient recruitment method.
Dos and Don’ts of doing it yourself
- Have a strategy – talent acquisition isn’t something you can wing
- Be realistic – don’t try and shoehorn four different roles into one. Sourcing and accessing talent pools is a skill.
- Be patient – whoever you hire in is going to have to start from scratch so it will take time.
- Be balanced – track all metrics (time per hire, cost per hire, quality of hire) and collect candidate journey feedback. You can’t improve if you don’t measure
- Expect results overnight
- Set unrealistic direct hiring targets – generally seen in larger enterprises where there are direct sourcing teams and they’re obsessed with the direct hiring metric. However, the business is concerned that it takes 6 months to hire someone and the true cost of not having anyone in that role delivering value.
- Hire a tradesman with no tools – With any role, you can’t expect a recruiter to land in a seat and just get on with it. As with any tradesman, they need the tools to do the job linkedin licenses etc to access talent pools. It all costs money and it all adds up, but it is necessary.
Here are just a handful of things to think about in your recruitment strategy and how to be successful in tech talent. Does your company have the right EVP?? is it well communicated across all channels? Do you have a social media strategy? Do you have a content plan that the social media strategy pushes out across relevant channels?
Hybrid model overview
Having an internal team who do the higher volume, non-specialist recruitment, building the brand and the careers page but using an agency when you need to fill those hard-to-find niche roles.
Emerging model: Recruitment outsourcing and subscription
What it should be: A subscription to a service where you pay monthly. There are no other fees involved but you’re getting more than just a body – an all encompassing service that should help you build out your direct sourcing model.
What it isn’t: a rent-a-recruiter model.
Be aware of engagements billed as a subscription model where in fact it is an agency fee with spread out payment terms.
Checklist to maximise success
- Don’t fake your Employer Value Proposition – don’t exaggerate what it’s like to work with you. Your EVP should be consistent throughout the journey – should start on the first reach out, through to job description, to careers page, on-boarding and beyond.
- Make sure the interview process is 2-way – it is not just you assessing the candidate, they need to be able to assess you.
- Showcase your diversity throughout the process.
- Look for reasons to hire people – be open-minded about the attributes and requirements around roles.
- Streamline your process – if it’s taking too long. Shouldn’t be longer than 6-7 days in total.
- Measure analyse and adjust – don’t just measure core metrics, measure the candidate journey and its success, and adjust according to feedback received.
And that should get you well on your developing a recruitment strategy! A big thank you to Iain for a great session – you can find out more about Iain on the Revoco website, follow them on Twitter or connect with Iain on LinkedIn.
Why not join us at our next Smart Cookies Breakfast Club session? Bitesize chunks of top quality content to help you take your business to the next level. All before 9 am!