Are Critical Hire Candidates as Elusive as E.T.?
Unfilled Tech Positions Likely Suggest Poor Candidate Targeting

Problem: Your engineering team risks their future success in addressing critical unfilled tech positions. Time lost in ineffective candidate searches equals milestone delays, lost revenue, lost initiative, and at times loss of top employees as they don’t see their firm genuinely committed to advancing engineering programs. That’s a sobering reality.

Since you are some distance from Area 51, or Baker, California (the Alien Jerky Capital of the World), you will not likely see E.T.s anytime soon. We see many firms embark on a quest for a perfect candidate worthy of hire. Reviewing hundreds of candidates appears to demonstrate their extraordinary effort. What makes them so elusive, like E.T. … and what does “worthy of hire” mean and how was that determined?

We continue to discover time and time again that many hiring managers have not been properly challenged on what they need for an open position. As a result, many recruiters unleash what seems like a list of requirements stretching from the Moon and back again. This has an effect of discouraging good candidates and leaving positions open for what seems an eternity.

Remove Requirement Deadweight

It’s important to meticulously validate the position needs with your engineering hiring manager before launching your search.
This involves being prepared to challenge criteria that seems extraneous. Having a close working relationship with your engineering hiring manager is vital to performing this step.

Examining Search Launch Failure

Take a good look at your open positions. Pay particular attention to all those positions that are 60 days ‘old’, have not been filled, with no promising individuals in your candidate pipeline. We believe that chances are pretty good that your recruiting is deficient in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Recruiting has concentrated on filling other positions with low-hanging fruit rather than those requiring a more dedicated commitment of time and resources.
  2. No effective ‘search to hire’ plan was developed for filling this position.
  3. Passive solicitation of candidates, using job boards has been your firm’s recruiting cornerstone for this position
  4. No serious effort to effectively clarify the align the position requirements with the hiring manager has taken place.

By being honest in your assessment of your firm’s search launch failure, it will be easier to consider changing to strategies with a feedback loop to both measure performance and refine candidate targeting.

If You Can't Wait for E.T. to Appear ...

We service clients that can’t wait long to find suitable candidates.

Early this fall, we filled an autonomous vehicle functional safety position, providing our client with an excellent candidate that escaped the notice of industry giants. Then we filled a kernel-level software development position, drawing from a very small pool of eligible candidates that would impress top minds in software security.

If you recognize your firm is encountering pain from critical unfilled tech positions, it’s worth giving us a call to learn how our retained searches can stop the pain and let you gain or sustain your industry’s competitive advantage.

We Measure What’s Important: Search Performance … Do You?

Based on decades of recruiting experience, we measure search to hire performance using the following metrics:

  • Time to present two screened, qualified candidates to hiring manager worthy of an interview
    • Even in our most demanding searches, we’re presenting at least two qualified candidates being presented within 21 days. Typically, we have two candidates presented within two weeks. We build our expectations in our Statement of Work, so that we and our client can measure our initial search performance.
  • Time to present candidate ultimately hired to hiring manager from date of search launch
    • We target presentation of the ‘winning candidate’ on or before 30-days from search launch. It could be more, depending on how small a candidate pool is and the time to cultivate a passive candidate’s interest in wishing to be presented to a client of ours. This also helps us review with our client ways to further accelerate their prevailing successful interview to hire process.
  • The ratio of candidates presented to candidates hired
    • 6:1 to 8:1 is typically what we encounter. It’s not the volume that we are after. It’s quality and culture fit. 
  • Success achieved in hired candidates meeting initial 90-day and 6-month position goals
    • Ill-defined goals create an absence of performance criteria mutually understood by the new hire and their supervisor. It doesn’t create a setting conducive to success. 

You may have noticed that search activity really doesn’t matter. How many candidates viewed a posting or applied is irrelevant if this doesn’t rapidly feed screened candidates worthy of an interview with the hiring manager.

Why “Search Time” Metrics are Crucial

By measuring search milestones against time, we recognize very early in our search whether or not we correctly have identified our targeted candidate pool. This allows for fine-tuning adjustments early, minimizing the time consumed in targeting and screening mismatched candidates. This approach requires timely conversations between the recruiter and the hiring manager going back to the pre-search intake session through to hire.

Product development and manufacturing live and die based on performance measurements. We see daily that HR departments within many companies don’t follow this approach when viewing their own performance. Recruiting activity can seduce recruiters and their leadership into thinking a search is progressing well. We suggest staying focused on performance measures to assess whether your search path is effective.

Why Blaming Google is Far too Easy

You may wonder, “if clarifying and aligning the position requirements with the hiring manager is so important, why doesn’t it always take place?” Unfortunately, there are a host of reasons that can be shared across departments and people.

Expect competition from firms like Google, along with Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Microsoft. It may seem that those iconic firms have tractor beams on all the good candidates, which accounts for your unfilled tech positions. That’s even more reason you need to have a successful recruiting plan formulated, justified, and approved by your firm’s leadership. A good search plan factors in the competition you should expect, just as your sales and marketing team builds revenue plans knowing of their competitive landscape.

Educating people in effective recruiting is a solution that will have a high ROI and keep everyone focused on meeting recruiting performance objectives

Re-Discovering Your Hiring Manager’s Needs

Recruiters are responsible for delivering a hire to satisfy a hiring manager. As an HR leader, we recommend that you set a recruiter’s expectations on what constitutes building constructive working with all the hiring managers that they serve. This involves:

  • understanding the role of the hiring manager’s team in the firm’s business;
  • quantifying the cost of a delayed hire on the firm’s ability to meet strategic and financial milestones
  • absorbing the technical requirements of the projects to be undertaken;
  • learning how the open position will complement existing team members;
  • determining together with the hiring manager the top 5 most critical candidate requirements, inclusive of attitude and cultural fit; and
  • creating candidate screening measurements to save time on the part of the hiring manager from interviewing unfit candidates

If your firm’s recruiters are not meeting the expectations listed above, your unfilled tech positions will continue to impede your firm’s engineering performance success and prevent a firm’s key milestones and strategic objectives from being achieved.

On a positive note, you can now see there is ample room for improving both time-to-hire and the quality of any candidate presented to hiring managers. It’s not too early to start setting your 2019 WInter Performance Hiring Objectives.

It’s time your once elusive E.T., at last, becomes visible to your recruiter and is hired!

Let us know if we can be of assistance.

An Informative Partner in Retained Search
(Extraterrestrial Searches Not Provided or Needed)

Alfredo and Minda Hannenberg
Principals & Senior Recruiters
Informative People Inc.

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