DISYS VP Tim Kirby Writes About Winning the Talent War in High Tech Staffing in SIA Piece


Editor’s Note: The below piece appeared on Staffing Industry Analysts’ Blog, Staffing Stream and can be viewed here. It’s author, Tim Kirby is Vice President of High Tech & Healthcare Services.

Winning the Talent War in High Tech staffing

As a staffing industry executive, I hear the challenges frequently:

“I found the perfect candidate, but they will not get back to me.”

“Candidates are difficult to reach and non-responsive.”

“I have left 30 messages and sent 45 emails and these candidates will still not get back to me.”

The fact is, tech talent have a choice.

The best talent have their pick of opportunities. With high tech unemployment at less than 1% in most large markets, there are typically 15 to 20 open jobs for every high tech professional considering a change.

So, why would a potential candidate get back to a specific recruiter? What makes a candidate return a call from one recruiter but not another?

I wish I had a silver bullet, but the fact of the matter is there isn’t one. There are multiple paths to identifying and securing top tech talent. Here are a four rules to follow.

1. Be diligent and persistent. Tech recruiters must be diligent and persistent with every target prospect. Top-tier talent can pick and choose which recruiters they want to work with. And many times, they already have two to three favorites they trust. Those trusted relationships were built over time, sometimes over years of working together.

How do you become a trusted advisor to top tier talent? Through diligent and persistent efforts. The recruiters who truly connect with individual top tier talent are those who attempt many methods of outreach. They engage their targets through user group meetings, referral networks, job boards and social media platforms. The most successful recruiters utilize all tools at their disposal. This takes time, effort and diligence.

2. Act with integrity. “Do what you say and say what you do.” If you are scheduled to call a candidate at a specific time and day, then call one minute before. If you tell a candidate you expect feedback on Tuesday, then call the candidate on Tuesday— whether you have that client feedback or not.

Following through with the expectations you have set with the consultant builds trust with your candidates and ultimately builds a long-term partnership. You can poll any number of consultants who have worked at least one day on a staffing engagement and you’ll find their biggest complaint will always be lack of feedback from their recruiter. The “no-feedback” call matters almost as much as the “I received client feedback” call and it builds trust over time.

3. Never lead with a job! I have seen this WAY too many times in my career. A recruiter sees a great resume on a job board or LinkedIn profile and they send the candidate a job description and ask if they are interested.

This is LAZY recruiting … and it is infuriating.

When reaching out to a candidate, take the time to find out their job ambitions and the details of ideal role. This may or may not turn out to be the role you are currently trying to fill. The key is to take time to fully understand where this candidate wants to take their career and discover what type of role they want in their next position. In short, find out what the candidate’s dream job looks like. Take the time and learn about the candidate. You might not have the perfect position for them now, but you will.

4. Ask tough questions. For instance, if a candidate is considering relocation, dig deep and find out their reasoning for relocating and if they have any other considerations they need to address regarding a move. Have they considered the cost of living comparison from their current location to the new location? Have they looked at commute times surrounding the client location? Have they addressed moving costs and considered all options?

There are many factors when accepting a position in another state. As career consultants, we need to ensure we are helping our candidates through every step of the process. Asking the tough questions will also build credibility and trust.

Following these simple rules will help increase your placements and revenue while building long-lasting allies in the war for talent.