4 effective ways to find (and hire) innovative IT candidates

By Robert Half 4th August 2015

Creating and fostering a culture of innovation, especially in IT, is more important than ever for small and large businesses. Technology is rapidly advancing and businesses need to keep up. The impact from the tightening recruitment market means companies are facing challenges attracting skilled tech talent, and a new report “IT Innovation: Harnessing technology to attract skilled IT talent” may hold the answer.

Companies now need to look at how they plan to maintain their competitive edge. If this is through technology then it’s important to look at how they can continue to attract innovative IT candidates who will help breed a culture of innovation. And it is that drive to discover new efficiencies – whether it is a new method of streamlining a process internally or the development of a new product – that will benefit businesses.

When looking to hire, companies should adopt these 4 approaches to help identify innovative IT candidates:

1. Dig deeper

While searching job boards offers a wide pool of jobseekers, the attention of candidates is shared with other competitors and other job sites. To find the right person, change your mind set, and start looking for passive candidates.

One step available to employers is seeking advice from a recruitment agency who can provide industry insights, and who have an established network of innovative IT candidates.

2. Accept the truth: The “perfect” employee is rare

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t great professionals out there, but when reviewing applications, it pays to differentiate between must-have skills versus nice-to-have skills. Otherwise you could risk losing a high calibre (and innovative) IT candidates slipping through your fingers.  

Look for candidates who can bring fresh eyes to projects, who have solved problems in a creative manner, and at the same time provided analytical feedback. These professionals can help bring IT innovation to your business. Consider what qualities the candidate may be on their way to developing, and if you can help further their development.

3. Effectively evaluate their CV

When reviewing job applications, pay attention to education, job title and experience, as well as these following points:

  • Is their CV and cover letter riddled with spelling and grammatical errors? In particular, their cover letter should be enthusiastic, and emphasise achievements, particularly achievement based on innovation solutions.
  • Is their CV well structured? To promote IT innovation, you need to look for someone who has an eye for the bigger picture.
  • Does their application contain terms such as: integrity, optimistic, passion, empathy, drive, determined? Even if you are not looking to hire a manager, these are some of the characteristics you should be thinking about for further in the future.

As a rule, outline the essential skills and core competencies required to perform the role you are hiring for; having an innovative mind-set could be one.

4. Ask the unexpected

When interviewing potential employees, it can help to ask interview questions such as “Why do you want to work for us?” or “What are your greatest strengths (or weaknesses)?” in the beginning to gain information on their experience and skills. Then, as the interview progresses ask questions that will reveal the innovation potential of a candidate. For example:

  • Name a company that was once very successful and is now only a shadow of itself. What went wrong and what would you have done differently?
  • What is a quote that inspires you? Why?
  • How comfortable are you with adapting to changes in the industry or leadership?
  • What excites you about your current role?
  • How would you define the success of a project? Can you provide an example where you worked on a successful project?
  • What type of company culture or work environment do you thrive in?

One small step for hiring, one giant step for innovation

Recruiting the right professionals is essential for businesses to remain competitive in this day and age. The current skills shortage is continuing into the foreseeable future, fostering a culture of IT innovation could provide the opportunity to attract the right skilled candidate for your business.

For help and advice on finding innovative IT candidates contact us today.

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