Know Your Audience When You're Finding and Hiring New Employees

There are hundreds of thousands of IT jobs are open in America right now, but how do you find and hire the right people? A panel of IT and HR experts at CompTIA ChannelCon gave attendees a tutorial on how to find and pick their next hire.

Hundreds of thousands of IT jobs are open in America right now. How do you find and hire the right people? What is the right mix of technical skills, soft skills and cultural fit? And are there nuances to recruiting different generations of workers?

A panel of IT and HR experts at CompTIA ChannelCon gave attendees a tutorial on how to find and pick their next hire.

John Mehrmann, CEO, Brainhunter, detailed out how to position the job so that you find qualified applicants. Start with standards of performance for the job. What are its purpose, scope, status, responsibility, duty, metrics and level of authority? Define hard skills needed.

Within your job descriptions, identify keywords and required and preferred skills/education/experience. List the location of the job to better optimize search engines. Give information about your company, brand and culture.

To find talent, target your audience. Use referrals. Post on your website and trade associations’ websites. Post on local IT schools and colleges. Last, post on pay-for job boards like CareerBuilder, Dice, Monster and Linkedin, but remember that highly skilled applicants and Millenials don’t use job boards as often as other types of applicants.

Sally Brause, director, human resources consulting, GreatAmerica Leasing, then walked attendees how do you choose the right hire once you have applicants.

First up, Brause said, “Know what success looks like. Study your top performers.”

Next decide what can be developed or changed. Brause offered a short list:

  • Knowledge – can be taught
  • Skills – can be learned
  • Interests – cannot teach or train
  • Attitude – choice and atmosphere
  • Behaviors – slight modification

She advised attendees to find a culture fit. She asked them, “How do your employees describe your company when you’re not listening?” Develop a list of attributes. Is it innovative, exclusive, fun, fast-paced, customer-focused or political?

Determine the applicant’s people skills. How will the candidate interact with others? What will his/her environment be like?

Brause said there are various assessment approaches: role play, references, objective assessment tools and behavior-based interviews. For instance for behavioral questions ask the candidate to describe the last time a customer’s demands were greater than you originally thought. What happened?

For social media, Brause focuses mainly on LinkedIn to check that their resume online match what they gave her in the application.

To determine is the candidate has the technical skills and aptitude to perform, Brause said to prioritize the most important skills needed for the job.

Once you have hired your new employee, George Harris , VP, business development, OnForce Inc., advised attendees on how to develop them. Harris focused especially on the millennial generation. In a quick age check around the room, Harris was the oldest guy in the year, but he has been in IT for 54 years and has never been out of work, never collected an unemployment check, and is still having fun.

Harris offered words of advance from The Generational Imperative by Chuck Underwood.

Millenials want to do the job well and efficiently. They are competitive careerists but also seek a work-life balance. They want job security, but they want it their way. They prefer a diverse workforce. They are disciplined and especially good at hitting deadlines. They are comfortable with elders and with collaboration. They are also hungry for responsibility and money.

This generation seeks relevance, a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. They’re impatient to make an impact and want in on creative decisions. They have a strong sense of entitlement — a learned behavior — and they crave variety and change.

Harris preached how employers need to teach Millenials etiquette and workplace ethics. Give clear goals, structure and focus to make them the most productive. “If you’re willing to give them the opportunity and you’ll mentor them, they’ll be loyal,” said Harris.

In recruiting Millenials, Harris stressed that recruiting must be customized, relevant and sincere. Internships are good for recruitment with Millenials. And during the recruitment process, Harris said to emphasize your organization’s stability.

Mehrmann closed with a pitch that employers have all new employees run through a company boot camp. Show them your company’s best practices and give them an in-depth company overview.

Lisa Fasold is CompTIA's senior communications director.

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