3 lessons you can learn from the IT sector in your quest to attract the best talent

July 1, 2015

The days when IT employees were easily stereotyped as writing code alone in dark corners, and found it difficult to communicate with anything that wasn’t attached to a keyboard are long gone. As a matter of fact, the Randstad Award 2015 shows talent around the globe – regardless of their gender, age, or education level – are falling for the charm of working in the IT sector. Not only does IT come out on top for another year, as the most attractive sector globally, but also three of the top 10 most attractive companies this year are from the sector, with Microsoft ranking first, and HP and IBM coming 6th and 8th respectively.

In addition to congratulating the sector on its impressive success in the talent marketplace, we’re also keen to uncover some of the best practices they use to engage with talent.

1. don’t sell vacancies; sell a vision

We all want to be part of something that’s big and hopefully changes the world – that is especially true for ambitious, high-caliber talent. The IT sector never seems to fall short on grand visions. All you need to do is look to Apple’s “turning powerful technologies into tools that would help people realize their dreams and change the world for better”, or IBM’s “creating a company that never stops moving toward the future” to immediately understand their visions. Selling the company vision is only one part, what’s equally important for potential talent is a clear vision on how choosing to work with you will unleash their full potential and grow with you.

Some of you may wonder why this is so important when recruiting a programmer, for example. The truth is, until you’re building a vision in a candidate’s mind, your recruitment team will always struggle to sell your jobs, especially if you don’t offer the most competitive salary, or your industry isn’t one of the most sought out in the market.

Therefore, when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, the first lesson is to create a vision by taking them on a journey, and inspire them to not only join you – but stay with you.

2. boost talent engagement through content

Today’s candidates are thinking and acting more and more like consumers: they do a lot of upfront research to learn about you whether it’s career prospects or company culture before ever talking to your recruitment team. When was the last time you took a good look at you careers content? Are your core messages compelling enough to convince top talent to choose you over your competition?

Quite often, one of the overlooked benefits of engaging talent through content is that you end up with highly engaged candidates who match the skills you need in your pipeline. Authentic content not only helps you build stronger relationships with your candidates, it also ensures that those who apply are more likely to be a cultural fit as they’ve already done a self assessment when researching you.

So take the time to review the ways you can strengthen candidate engagement by creating content that reflects your company culture as well as appeals to your candidates’ professional interests and aspirations. Next, experiment with different formats and topics – see what resonates with them; and last but not least, make sure your content strategy fits how your candidates prefer to consume information on a daily basis.

3. empower women in technology

I must say when I learned the number 1 career choice of female talent went to IT, I was a bit surprised considering there’s still a long way to go before we can safely say gender inclusiveness has been achieved everywhere in the sector. However, taking a close look at the great effort the sector has put into encouraging women to pursue a career in technology, I think it’s a well-deserved award.

It’s interesting to note that “women in technology” has become a prominent theme on the career site of almost every IT company. It’s a place where women with an interest in tech careers can virtually meet other women who have already established a firm foothold in the industry, checking out the exciting projects they’re working on, as well as getting advice on how to achieve professional success without sacrificing personal life. We believe this women-for-women approach plays a critical role in unlocking the full potential of women in the workforce.

So, for companies in sectors where women are still under-represented or the attrition rates for women remain high, here comes our advice: highlight aspiring female role models women can look up to along with their career paths; meanwhile, promote industry-wide initiatives, or communities that support women to overcome barriers to success.

These are just a few best practices you can leverage to become a stand-out employer. Request the full range of the Randstad Award 2015 reports now to gain more insights into the key drivers motivating the employment decisions of today's talent and who are the most attractive organizations to work for. 

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