Taking Out the Tech: Why A Human Approach to Hiring Will Help You Find the Best Talent

Remember when recruiting new talent for your organization involved placing ads in local newspapers, attending career fairs, and mining your personal network for possible candidates? Today, we have LinkedIn, social media, Applicant Tracking Systems and even Artificial Intelligence helping us find top tech talent. But with such a heavy emphasis on technology, we’ve lost a crucial part of good recruiting in the process of going high tech: the human connection.

This isn’t to say that technology doesn’t have a place in hiring. Tech can be a powerful ally in the search for great candidates. Yet, while tech can augment good recruitment practices, it can also enhance bad ones. As more and more companies use data-driven recruitment methods and automated technologies like chatbots to find and hire talent in 2019, it’s important that a human approach to tech hiring is also restored. Let’s consider four ways to approach hiring that bring a human touch back to the process.

Stick to the Truth

With unemployment still at records lows and continuing recruitment challenges due to the skills gap, attracting top IT talent can be a struggle. Some companies have sought to solve this problem by offering special employment perks and benefits. Others decided to get creative with job descriptions, advertising a need for “Rockstar developers” or “Coding ninjas” and hoping their opportunity would stand out from the crowd. The result, however, was that job titles and descriptions started to resemble fiction and didn’t describe the realities of the job or the skills needed to succeed.

Instead of embellishing your job descriptions, be honest and straightforward. Explain clearly what’s required of the candidate, what they can expect from the job, and what you’re looking for and offer in return. Top talent will appreciate the honest approach and you’ll earn their trust from the start, building the foundation for further engagement.

Create Real Connection

Thanks to social media and the many technologies we have today, it’s easy to “connect” with candidates on LinkedIn, “follow” them on various social platforms, and have conversations by email. But none of these methods are building a real connection and most won’t leave a lasting impression. Think about how many In Mails a top tech professional might receive in a week. What makes your message stand out from the crowd?

Instead, get out from behind the computer and consider building connections in person. Maybe you join a professional association or attend local career and networking events. Think about where your ideal candidates are and how they spend their time, then go find them. You can also create meaningful connections later in the hiring process by getting to know your top candidates on a deeper level. What are their interests and goals beyond their work? How do they spend their free time? These kinds of questions will help you determine if a candidate is truly a good fit for your job. Worst case scenario: your candidate might not align with your current job openings but building a real connection with them now gives you a great go-to candidate for future opportunities.

Keep Up the Engagement

Your hard work and in-person networking efforts have paid off and you’ve found some great candidates. Now, the challenge is keeping them engaged. Top talent, especially passive candidates not actively seeking a new job, won’t be wooed away by form emails or spend time reading bot messages. It’s also unlikely they’ll be available for phone calls. So, how can you keep the conversation open and ensure a candidate remains interested throughout the search process? Send a personal message or email. Yes, a candidate might overlook an email from your ATS or an autoreply, but they probably won’t ignore a personal message from you updating them on their status.

Similarly, another way you might engage a great candidate is over text message. On average, Americans check their smartphone 52 times a day. As a result, a personal text is much harder to ignore than a generic email that gets buried in their inbox. No matter what method you chose, be sure to communicate regularly and be honest in your replies. Following up with a candidate, no matter what the result of their application, will build confidence and help you develop a long-lasting connection.

Partner with a Great Staffing Firm

Your core focus should be onboarding and retaining employees – and getting a helping hand from a great staffing firm in the recruitment process will help you get back to what you do best. The right partner has already perfected the balance between tech-based screening tools and the human connection in recruiting.

Looking for a partner to go above and beyond? Find one that approaches recruitment in unique ways. Maybe they’re committed to providing industry-based career resources to candidates. Maybe they have an Engagement Management Program (like IDR!) where they stay connected to their candidates and contractors, coaching them in their careers for the long-term. It’s these unique approaches that ensure your staffing firm will remain a valuable partner in the hiring process for years to come.

A Balanced Approach

In the end, finding the best tech talent comes down to balance. There has always been a push and pull between new and traditional ways of recruiting, and that’s unlikely to change as technology continues to advance. But it is possible to find a combination of high tech that yields efficiencies in the hiring process while also allowing companies to build long-lasting connections through a human approach.

At IDR, we care about your business goals and we’re committed to building long-term relationships with our clients and consultants. Reach out today to learn how we can help your business find great IT talent.


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Will Hayes
Will graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a major in International Business. His career at IDR cultivated in January 2008 in the Nashville branch as an IT Recruiter. His next two years were spent as an Account Manager growing IDR’s local portfolio and in June of 2010, he gathered his belongings, moved to Texas and began to manage our Dallas office. He is passionate in helping young leaders learn the IT staffing business and believes in his mission to always encourage others to get better. Will has a commitment to creating a positive and successful culture for all those who are around him.