Ana Sandu
ANA SANDU

How to prepare for your hiring process?

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As with so many other things in life, when you think about hiring new people it seems easy. Post the job description, wait for the candidates to apply in their hundreds and worry about how you are going to filter all of them. Yeah, you get it, it’s not like that. But why might you ask?

Because it’s IT we are talking about.

Every developer that you want in your team is already taken, working on an interesting project, using latest technologies, and on top, is on a very competitive payroll and bonus schema. You need strategy, plan, resources and a lot of patience to succeed in attracting the talent you want, and to accomplish that is nothing but easy. But we have been doing this for over 7 years, day by day, so inevitably we know all the difficulties and the solutions inside out and now you have the opportunity to learn the secrets.

This is Part I of the complete hiring guide!

Where, when?

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You might be a recruiter in a corporation with offices around the world, or a startup owner who just got financed, or maybe a CEO who wants to have their own software team in house. No matter where you stand, the first questions you have to answer are these:

1. Where will this new hire work?

Is it a new city that you are not familiar with, is it a totally new country, is it a remote role?

Depending on the location, your strategy will be different and you will need more or less time to fill the role. Are you interested in reducing the costs? Then you will most likely go in Eastern Europe or Asia, where you might hit a culture bariere and find it difficult to get the attention you want. Is your role remote friendly? You just opened up a global pipeline of candidates, but now you need to target the ones that fit your profile and look through hundreds of applications, just to find that one guy or girl.

2. When does the new hire need to start?

No, don’t say yesterday, because this gives you a sense of false urgency. If the matter would have been so pressing, you would have found a way or you would have been out of business by now. Set a real time-frame: how much time can your employees deal with the current workload? When is the next project due to start? Are the parts of the product truly and utterly in urgent need of being developed?

Pay much attention to what you define as being urgent because this will also dictate the compromises you need to do. If you will run out of business in one month without this new hire, then feel comfortable with the perspective of hiring an expensive candidate or one with a little bit more attitude.

Understand the market

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If you have been working in the same market for some time, you can skip this step. However, if you choose to venture solo on a new market, make sure to research it in the most minute way possible to you.

We are talking about pipelines (are there enough candidates for the role you have or is there a market shortage?), salaries, types of collaborations, cultural differences, competition, benefits package. Gather all this information before starting to look for candidates as it can spare you of poorly invested time and of creating a bad reputation, which is one of top 3 most hard to solve problems.

If you don’t have the necessary time to do the research, just talk with a local recruitment specialist. If you are looking for new hires in Romania, then we are the ones you need to talk with. Human Direct’s consultants will give you an accurate picture of your success chances and will help you in every step of the process. Trust yourself in locally specialised support and invest your time and money in their help, as it can prove to be more advantageous than trying to figure it out all on your own and ending up with more questions and confusion than starting.

Detail the profile you are looking for

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Take a blank sheet of paper, digital or physical, and start writing.

What’s the most grave problem to be solved or feature to be developed? What keeps you up at night that has to be done, but you don’t have the resources to do it?

Look at the people you have surrounded yourself with. What do they have in common? What do you like about them? Why did they stick by you and the others didn’t? Write down all the qualities they have, but also the thing you see as faults in those who did not make the cut for a place in your team.

Why would anyone appreciate working for you? What should they see as benefits in what you have to offer?

Put yourself in their shoes and read that job description with the eyes you had when you were looking for a job. How much of it is bragging, internet stolen responsibilities from other similar JDs, useless words that don’t say anything, fancy language that nobody in our team uses? Get rid of all that and write something you would like to click on, more natural, closer to who you are (sole owner or globally distributed team) and with as much technical detail as not to bore one to death.

Set a budget

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Let’s slow down here for a bit and have a moment of pause.

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Now, answer me this: is paying 300$ for a t-shirt a reasonable amount or is it outrageously bold?

Regardless of where you stand on this, you have an estimate of what you are willing to pay for a product, or in our case, candidate. At first sight it seems that if you don’t set up a budget you can get more candidates to the interview, and you don’t risk disqualifying a very strong developer.

But what you will soon find out in the selection process is that having a comparison term will change your mind. Candidates differ in their expertise based on their previous responsibilities, contributions to the project, passion, and technical challenges they encountered. A senior developer in one company can be a mid in another. And the spectrum of salary expectations you will hear is going to be as diverse and confusing.

If you do have a limited budget, make sure you understand what skills you can get for that. Remember the triad Good-Fast-Cheap, you have to choose only two!

Build a strategy

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If you go on your own, make sure you have the bigger picture, and also be prepared to add and modify on the go. Start with writing down the reason why you are now hiring. Is it a replacement, is it a new opening in an existing team, or maybe a new project and everybody will start fresh at the same time? The answer to these questions will dictate the way you will later approach and conduct the selection interviews.

Once you have it all figured out, build your pipeline - identify the sourcing channels and methods and the criteria by which the candidates will be added or not. Remember, more criteria means less suitable candidates and a smaller pipeline.

Next, continue by putting together an appealing message that you will use to contact the candidates. Choose the most appropriate channel: Linkedin, Github, mail, Reddit or whatever you see fit for the profile you are looking for.

Try to have as much information as possible because when the positive answers will come, they will be followed by questions about the project, team, company, best practices, technologies, bonuses, performance review, parking spots and what not.

Don’t get discouraged if the negative answers will be overrun the positive ones. As a general rule, a 20% rate of positive answers is every recruiter’s dream.

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If you reached this point, take a look at your paper and read it out loud again. Does it have a sense of unity? Does every step flow naturally from the other? It should. The strategy means creating the recruitment experience you want your candidates to have and to remember. Even if they might not be your fit, a good candidate experience can add to your image as a company and become part of your employer branding strategy.

If all of the above feel very time consuming, you are right. Collaborating with an external recruitment partner is the best way to make sure you get the most out of your time and also reach the hiring goals, with the help of specialists who guide you to take the best decision, offer insight of the market and honestly present you the success chances and what you have to change to increase them.

See you soon for the second part!

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