Having recruited talent into the global cyber security market for 10+ years, it is clear that talent acquisition continues to be led by the needs of the top candidates. Understanding what motivates the best people is key to attracting them and ultimately retaining them (two very separate battles).
As you can’t retain someone without attracting them in the first place, I would like to focus on the employer branding talent attraction piece. What are employers doing well and what could they maybe do better?
Most employers in this fast-moving tech space assume that a candidate’s motivations are going to centre around the nature of the platforms and solutions. Why would you go to a company that are doing the same sort of work that you have done before? Tech talent wants to be challenged, and that only happens when boundaries are being tested and new solutions are being found. Marketing an opportunity to a candidate in these terms is, therefore, very important. Few top candidates want to enter a role just to tweak or enhance what has gone before.
Having said that retention is more about the nature of the work than anything else, there are a number of considerations that are often forgotten entirely. What many employers fail to recognise is the fact that there are multiple companies out there with equally compelling product propositions and actually the differentiating factor in someone’s role choice may not be anything to do with that.
It seems that discussions around culture, diversity and flexible working have been reverberating around the corporate workspace for a while, but I genuinely think that they are not talked about enough in technology recruitment. Companies often see technically minded people as robots who are laser focused on the technical aspects of their job, but they forget that they are also sociable individuals who crave meaningful relationships at work and who may well have family considerations outside of work.
As a recruiter, in my capacity as a client’s ambassador, I always make sure to ask them the softer questions about the working environment, because often it is these little details that can stand out in a job search filled with harder product-led considerations.
Of course, there will always be candidates who will leave you after a year if there is not a solid pipeline of challenging work, but if you have utilised their skills to the maximum, this is also a trend that is becoming more obvious. And as I have mentioned above, if there is a gap between projects, you will keep them because of your culture.
One of the really important conversations to have at interview is to put all the tech stuff to one side and explore each candidate’s individual motivations. If you can match them up to what is on offer, that will solidify their decision. It might be the case that the more technically minded hiring managers are not so well equipped to lead these softer discussions, but it should be stressed that it could be the difference between hiring a star and having them go elsewhere.
Written by Alex Turner, Edited by Paul Drury